Aretha Franklin's Funeral Sees Stars And Fans Gather To Say Goodbye To The Queen Of Soul

Ariana Grande and Elton John were expected to perform.

The red carpet was rolled out one last time for Aretha Franklin on Friday, as a befitting funeral for the Queen Of Soul was held.

Her coffin was wheeled down a specially-laid carpet outside the Greater Grace Temple in her hometown of Detroit, as mourners gathered to pay their final respects.

Aretha’s body arrived at the venue after spending two days lying in state, following her death from pancreatic cancer earlier this month, at the age of 76.

Speakers include Bill Clinton and Rev. Jesse Jackson
Speakers include Bill Clinton and Rev. Jesse Jackson
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Giants of the music industry including Ariana Grande, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson and Chaka Khan were all scheduled to perform at the service.

So great was Aretha’s influence that former US President Bill Clinton was expected to give a speech, while his wife and former US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary was also in attendance.

Rev. Jesse Jackson and Sony Music’s chief creative officer Clive Davis were also slated to speak.

Bishop Charles Ellis said the service would be a 'Celebration of Life'
Bishop Charles Ellis said the service would be a 'Celebration of Life'
JEFF KOWALSKY via Getty Images

Bishop Charles Ellis, who lead the service, said that the ‘Celebration of Life’ should not be a “be a concert or a show”, but said that people could expect a “spiritual awakening”.

He said: “Hopefully a lot of people here with money and fame and influence and friends and notoriety and wealth, hopefully they will think of their mortality and say there is something bigger than fame.”

Guests had also been told that if they are seen with their phones out during the service, they would be escorted out by state police.

Aretha died after a 10-year battle with cancer
Aretha died after a 10-year battle with cancer
EMPICS Entertainment

Aretha’s body arrived in a white 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse - the same vehicle that carried her father, Rev. CL Franklin in 1984, as well as Temptations singer David Ruffin in 1991, and civil rights activist Rosa Parks in 2005.

Aretha will be buried in a 24-karat, gold-plated coffin made of solid bronze. The interior is lined with champagne velvet and has ‘The Queen Of Soul’ stitched into it.

Her body had been lying in state at the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit earlier this week, as thousands of fans visited to pay their respects to the singer.

Tributes have also been flooding in from around the globe, and Friday saw the British Army performing ‘Respect’ during the Changing of the Guard.

They said: “Respect for others underpins all we do in the British Army so it was no surprise that the Welsh Guard Band paid tribute to musical icon and inspiration Aretha Franklin at Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace today.”

Aretha gave her final performance last August in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

She leaves behind four children. She gave birth to the eldest, Clarence, when she was just 12-years-old.


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