The famous faces at Lisa Marie Presley’s funeral were easy to explain – actor Austin Butler, Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose and Alanis Morisette had obvious connections to Elvis’ late daughter.
But one name surprised many: Sarah, Duchess of York. There were even more raised eyebrows as Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson walked to the podium and gave an emotional speech.
Ferguson, 63, revealed that she had a close friendship similar to that of siblings – and that the couple’s name was “sissie”.
“We must fan our flames to celebrate the extraordinary Lisa Marie. It is with great honor that I stand here because our name was Sissie. I have been here with you all your lives and I stand here with great honor. So, Sissie, this is for you with tenderness, ”said the Duchess.
Finally, she quoted a quote from Queen Elizabeth: “My late mother-in-law used to say that nothing that can be said can take away the anguish and pain in these moments because grief is the price we pay for love – and how right she was . The quote was first uttered by the late Queen in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when she expressed support for the American people.
So how did this unlikely friendship between Sarah Ferguson and Lisa Marie Presley come about?
The rock ‘n’ roll royal family met the real royal family in 2009, during a trip Ferguson made to the United States. The Duchess tried to break into film production and promoted her new film, Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend, which may explain her presence in the US. They quickly became friends and remained so throughout the turbulent 2009. Presley was shaken by a personal tragedy following the death of her ex-husband Michael Jackson and leaned on Ferguson for support. In turn, Fergie offered Presley her residence in Marbella so that he could mourn her privately.
Things took a strange turn when Presley moved to England in 2010 to live with her new husband, American guitarist Michael Lockwood (the couple married in 2006 and remained married until 2021 – they have twins Finley and Harper Lockwood). Presley and Lockwood made their home in a £9 million house in Rotherfield, East Sussex, where Presley got a job working in a local fish and chip van in the village of Mr Chippy.
According to reports at the time, Mr Chippy’s owner, Kim Scales, said: “It was when she first moved to the village about two years ago. She is genuinely interested in who people are and wanted to know everything about our lives and how we live.
“We own a pub and a mobile fish and chip van, but she said she’d never heard of such a thing and said she wanted to work on it. She got in with her son, but we all laughed because none of the locals realized who it was.”
Presley eventually returned to the United States in 2016 – but that didn’t break Presley’s bond with Fergie. Yesterday, a friend of the Duchess told Entertainment Tonight: “The two liked each other right from the start. They became close and stayed in touch even after Lisa Marie returned to the United States.”
The friend also said that Presley was “one of the few people who contacted him [Ferguson] in some of her hard times,” and Fergie, in turn, thought of the late singer as “family.”
Now Ferguson’s presence at the funeral makes sense. She responded to Presley’s death before the funeral by telling page six, “I think he’s with [her late son] Ben now”, noting that he believes Presley died of heartbreak following Ben’s death in 2020.
She added: “I think we need to make sure that Finley, Riley and Harper are fully supported in the future. She was so proud of them, so proud. She wrote to me saying, “Yes, I really marvel at how wonderful my children are now.”