Sarah, Duchess of York paid tribute to Lisa Marie Presley at a memorial service by calling her Sissie and sharing an anecdote about her late mother-in-law, the Queen.
The Duchess was one of many people who paid their respects to the star on the lawn outside Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, on Sunday.
For years, this sprawling estate has been a destination for people paying their respects Elvisbut after her death on January 12 at the age of 54, the iconic home became the setting for a final farewell to his daughter.
Lisa Marie suffered a cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas, California. dies at the age of 54
Two days before her death, she appeared with her mother, Priscilla Presley, in Golden globes.
In addition to family and friends, members of the public were invited to attend the service, which was also broadcast live.
“Before Blue Ivy, There Was Lisa Marie”
The event began with a powerful performance of Amazing Grace by Jason Clark and The Tennessee Mass Choir, dressed in black, with a photo of Lisa Marie.
Filmmaker Joel Weinshanker began the service by saying he hoped they could honor Lisa Marie’s wishes that she “not be sad” and was followed by Pastor Dwayne Hunt who paid tribute to her “passion, strength, brilliance and perseverance”.
In his tribute, former Memphis Mayor AC Wharton named many famous parents including Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, he continued: “Before Jay-Z and Beyonce had Blue Ivy and long before Prince Harry and Meghan had Archie, right here in this city, our royal couple Elvis and Priscilla had a beautiful bundle of joy named Lisa Marie…
“Fifty-four years ago a star shone over Graceland with the birth of this precious angel.” He said it was an intrinsic part of Memphis, calling it a “precious jewel” and a “sister” to all who lived there.
As the only daughter of a rock and roll king, he described her as “the conduit to the throne” and “keeper of the flame”.
He concluded, “Lisa Marie was all of Memphis. She was ours, and we were hers.”
Sarah, Duchess of York then took to the rostrum, speaking of the Queen in her tribute and offering support to the late singer’s children.
She said: “We need to fan our flames to celebrate the extraordinary Lisa Marie. I stand here with great honor because our name was Sissie. I’ve been here with you all your lives and I stand here with great honor So, Sissie, this is for you with cordiality.”
She went on to tell an anecdote about the Queen, saying, “My late mother-in-law used to say, ‘Not being able to say anything can take away the anguish and pain in these moments, because grief is the price you pay for love,’ and how right she was.”
“Our Heart is Broken”
A tearful Priscilla Presley then read a poem written by her granddaughter about the loss of her mother, entitled Old Soul. She finished reading saying, “Our heart is broken Lisa, we all love you.”
Lisa Marie’s agent Jerry Schilling described her as “the only person who could intimidate Jerry Lee Lewis.” He continued: “I was in the hospital with her father when Priscilla was giving birth, I was in the hospital with her mother when she left us. Memphis, I will always love you.”
Rock singer Axl Rose said he was “still in shock” over Lisa Marie’s death, adding, “I feel like I should write her right now and tell her how great everyone is.” He then performed November Rain on the piano.
Other musical performances included Billy Corgan performing To Sheila by The Smashing Pumpkins, Alanis Morissette singing an emotional rendition of her song Rest, and the Blackwood Brothers Quartet singing How Great Thou Art and Sweet Sweet Spirit, both of which were previously performed by Elvis.
Riley’s tribute to her mom and first mention of her daughter
Actor and stuntman Ben Smith-Petersen, husband of Lisa Marie’s daughter Riley, read an emotional tribute written by Riley titled To My Momma.
Part of the letter read: “I hope I can love my daughter as you loved me, as you loved my brother and my sisters. Thank you for giving me strength, heart, empathy, courage, sense of humor. my manners, my temper, my wildness, my perseverance. I am a product of your heart, my sisters are a product of your heart, my brother is a product of your heart.
Smith-Petersen and Riley have been married since 2015, but have not previously revealed that they have a daughter together.
“Her Father’s Defender”
Joel Weinshanker closed the ceremony by saying, “Lisa’s voice will only be amplified over time and will never be silenced or weakened. She was and always will be her father’s protector, and we will continue to be hers.”
He asked everyone present to respect the family’s wishes not to be photographed or videotaped.
Those present were then invited to come in groups to see Lisa Marie’s gravestone in the Meditation Garden.
Elvis is also buried at Graceland, as are Elvis’ parents, his paternal grandmother, and his grandson Benjamin Keough – Lisa Marie’s son – who took his own life in 2020, aged 27.
Lisa Marie’s resting place is next to her son and close to her father.
Elvis died of heart failure at the age of 42 when Lisa Marie was only nine years old. She was four when Elvis and Priscilla Presley divorced in 1972.
Read more: The Tragic Life of Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie has been married four times, including to pop star Michael Jackson and actor Nicolas Cage.
She struggled with opioid addiction after giving birth to twin daughters in 2008.
Just months before her death, she wrote in an essay for People magazine: “I’ve been dealing with death, grief and loss since the age of nine.
“I’ve had more of it than anyone else in my life, and somehow I’ve gotten this far.”
She continued: “Death is part of life, whether we like it or not – and so is mourning.”
Lisa Marie is survived by her three daughters, actress and model Riley Keough, and teenage twins Finley Lockwood and Harper Lockwood.
Her children will inherit the Graceland estate just as she inherited it from Elvis after his death.