Aretha Franklin has been laid to rest in a funeral attended by celebrities far and wide, including Stevie Wonder and Jennifer Hudson. The ‘Queen Of Soul’ died on August 16 aged 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, with her funeral taking place at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple on Friday (August 31).
Ahead of the ceremony on Friday morning, Franklin’s open casket was placed at the front of the church, with the words ‘A Celebration Fit For The Queen’ projected on the walls.
Franklin’s body was dressed in gold and sequinned heels, with flower bouquets from close friends Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett greeting those in attendance. Celebrities in attendance include Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Ariana Grande while Bill Clinton, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson were among the speakers paying tribute.
After she died on 16 August, Aretha Franklin was remembered by fans on Tuesday at a service in Detroit. As her body was taken in a gold casket to prepare for its two-day stay at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Tuesday and Wednesday, followers of the singer lined the streets. Signs, flowers and placards took up residence as six pallbearers carried the casket into the museum – the venue in Detroit chosen to reflect Aretha’s contribution to the civil rights movement.
Her body now lies in state in an open casket, and fans can view her body before a memorial on Thursday and formal funeral on Friday – which will be attended by close friends and family only. CNN reported many waiting in line claimed a niece of Aretha’s showed up early with burgers, water and t-shirts to thank the fans who were waiting to see their idol one last time this week.
Following the public viewing and memorials, Aretha will be laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery and Conservancy in New York. The legend died at the age of 76 earlier this month following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
It’s said former President Bill Clinton will speak at Aretha’s memorial, at the Chene Park Amphitheatre, in Detroit, later this week on 30 August. Her funeral will be held the next day at Greater Grace Temple, with Stevie Wonder rumoured to be performing at the intimate gathering