Stars and fans eulogise Lisa Marie Presley at Graceland memorial service

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Axl Rose, and Billy Corgan pay tribute to the only child of rock legend Elvis Presley

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Hundreds of mourners began arriving at Graceland on Sunday morning to pay their respects to singer Lisa Marie Presley at the Memphis, Tennessee, mansion she inherited from her father, rock legend Elvis Presley.

Some fans held flowers as they waited on the lawn of Graceland, where Lisa Marie lived as a child with her father and mother, actress Priscilla Presley.

Lisa Marie died on January 12 at the age of 54. Earlier that day, she had been rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital after reportedly suffering cardiac arrest at her home.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, speaks at the public memorial for Lisa Marie Presley on January 22, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee. Getty / AFP

She is survived by her daughters, actress Riley Keough, 33, and 14-year-old twins Finley and Harper Lockwood.

The Memphis mansion was turned into a museum and tourist attraction after her father died of a drug overdose in 1977. Thousands of fans make yearly pilgrimages to the home with its iconic gates on Elvis’s death date and birth date, January 8 and August 16, respectively.

Lisa Marie attended the January 8 ceremony as well as the Golden Globes ceremony on January 10 and was seated with her mother and Elvis actor Austin Butler, who won a Best Actor award.

Sunday’s service to honour Lisa Marie began with the singing of Amazing Grace by Jason Clark & The Tennessee Mass Choir. The memorial programme included a statement by the Presley family that read: “We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the love, compassion and support you have shown our family during this difficult time. We will always be grateful.”

Filmmaker Joel Weinshanker (Wedding at Graceland, Christmas at Graceland) said Lisa Marie requested for her funeral to “not be sad” and that they will try to honour her wish in the coming proceedings.

Lisa Marie Presley with her daughters Riley Keough and twin daughters Finley Lockwood and Harper Lockwood. Invision / AP

AC Wharton, the former mayor of Memphis recalled the “hard times” the city faced when Lisa Marie was born in 1968 but how important her birth was at the time.

“Before Beyonce and Jay Z had their daughter Blue Ivy and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had their son Archie, Elvis and Priscilla had their daughter Lisa Marie,” said Mr Wharton.

As the only daughter of the King of Rock & Roll, he described Lisa Marie as “the conduit to the throne” and “the keeper of the flame”.

Fans line up to enter Graceland for the memorial service in the early morning hours. AP

Mr Wharton added: “I don’t know much about Hollywood, I can’t speak for New York or any other city where Lisa may have spent time, but I can tell you that Lisa Marie was this city’s precious jewel.”

Billy Corgan’s performance of To Sheila by his band The Smashing Pumpkins was followed by a tribute from Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

“Mothers losing children, there are no words for it,” she said. “For Riley, Harper and Finley, and for the entire family, we march forward in support of you, all of us are with you and we will help you as best we can. If you just put out your hand, we will be there.”

Flowers have been delivered to Graceland since Presley's death was announced. EPA

She was followed by singer Alanis Morissette performing an emotional rendition of her song Rest.

Priscilla Presley then thanked everyone for coming to honour her daughter and read out a poem written by Riley, which said: “I have no idea how to put my mother into words, the truth is there are too many … My manners, my temper, my wildness, my tenacity. I’m a product of your heart. My sisters are a product of your heart. My brother is a product of your heart.”

Axl Rose also spoke about his friend Lisa Marie before performing the Guns N’ Roses song November Rain.

After the service, mourners made a procession through Graceland's Meditation Garden, where she is to be laid to rest next to her son, Benjamin Keough and near her father.

Lisa Marie began her music career in the 2000s with two albums, To Whom It May Concern and Now What, that made the top 10 of the Billboard 200.

She was married and divorced four times, including to pop star Michael Jackson, actor Nicholas Cage and musician Michael Lockwood.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: January 24, 2023, 9:00 PM
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