A large crowd of family, friends and fans gathered Sunday morning in front of the famed Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee, for the funeral of Lisa Marie Presley, the sole daughter of late singer Elvis Presley.
There were musical performances from big-name artists such as Axl Rose and Alanis Morissette, as well as The Tennessee Mass Choir. And family and friends of Lisa Marie spoke at the funeral, including Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, manager Jerry Schilling and, of course, Lisa Marie’s mother, Priscilla Presley.
A grieving Priscilla spoke, briefly and quietly, reading a poem and remarks from granddaughter Riley Keough, Lisa Marie’s oldest daughter.
“I’m going to read something that my granddaughter wrote for all of you, and this says it all,” Priscilla began.
“‘I have no idea how to put my mother into words. Truth is, there are too many. Lisa Marie Presley was an icon, a role model, a superhero to many people all over the world, but Mama was my icon, my role model, my superhero – in much more ways than one,'” Priscilla read on behalf of Riley.
“‘Even now, I can’t get across everything there is to be understood or known about her, but as she always said, ‘I’ll do my best.'”
She then read from a poem titled The Old Soul, written about Lisa Marie’s life. “‘In 1968, she entered our world, born tired, fragile, yet strong. She was delicate, but was filled with life. She always knew she wouldn’t be here too long.'”
“‘Childhood passes by, with a glimpse of her green eye, she then grew a family of her own. Then came her second child, leaving her with suspicion – could this be the angel that takes me home?’
“‘Time, of course, flew by. It was time for a tragedy. She knew it was close to the end. Survivor’s guilt, some would say, but a broken heart was the doing of her death. Now, she is home where she always belonged, but my heart is missing her love.'”
“‘She knew that I loved her. I fear I would never touch her. But the old soul is always with me. She doesn’t drift above.’ That says it all, and thank you all for being here… Our heart is broken. Lisa, we all love you.”
Riley also shared a letter through her husband Ben Smith-Petersen, in which she remembered her mother’s love.
“‘I’m eternally grateful to have spent 33 years with you. I’m certain I chose the best mother for me in this world… I remember everything. I remember you giving me baths as a baby. I remember the way you would cuddle me … and the way you smelled,'” Smith-Petersen read the letter onstage as Riley sat front row with her family.
In the letter, he also confirmed he and Riley secretly welcomed a baby together, with a rep later telling People the couple becoming parents to a baby girl in 2022.
“‘I remember how it felt to be loved by the most loving mother I’ve ever known. I remember how it safe it felt to be in your arms,'” the letter continued. “‘I remember that feeling as a child, and I remember that feeling two weeks ago on your couch. Thank you for showing me that love is the only thing that matters in this life. I hope I can love my daughter the way that you loved me.'”
Schilling, who was an aide and producer to Elvis and manager to Lisa Marie, also told stories of him and “a girl named Memphis”, which Shilling said is what he always called her.
In 1967, Schilling said he spent Christmas and New Year’s Day at Graceland and was asked by Elvis himself to stay until Lisa Marie’s birth in February of 1968.
Schilling said Lisa Marie had asked him to accompany her on the red carpet at the Golden Globe Awards on January 10.
“Last thing she said to me was, ‘Jerry Schilling, I love you,'” he said.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, subscribe to our newsletter here.