Lisa Marie Presley: Sarah, Duchess of York pays tribute to star, as she speaks about Queen at memorial
Sarah, Duchess of York has paid tribute to Lisa Marie Presley at a memorial to celebrate her life, calling her Sissie and sharing an anecdote about her late mother-in-law, the Queen.
The duchess was one of many paying tribute to the star on the front lawn at Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee on Sunday.
For years the sprawling estate has been the destination for those paying tribute to Elvis, but following her death on 12 January aged 54, the iconic home has become the venue for those saying a final farewell to his daughter.
Lisa Marie suffered a cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas, California, dying aged 54.
Two days before her death, she had appeared with her mother, Priscilla Presley, at the Golden Globes.
As well as family and friends, members of the public were invited to attend the service, which was also livestreamed.
‘Before Blue Ivy, there was Lisa Marie’
The event kicked off with a powerful rendition of Amazing Grace performed by Jason Clark and The Tennessee Mass Choir, dressed in black, flanked by a photo of Lisa Marie.
Filmmaker Joel Weinshanker began the service, saying he hoped they could honour Lisa Marie’s wishes “not to be sad”, and was followed to the lectern by Pastor Dwayne Hunt who paid tribute to her “passion, strength, brilliance and tenaciousness”.
In his tribute, former mayor of Memphis, AC Wharton, listed many famous celebrity parents, including Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan, and Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, he went on: “Before Jay-Z and Beyonce had Blue Ivy, and long before Prince Harry and Meghan had Archie, right here, in this city, our own royal couple, Elvis and Priscilla, had a beautiful bundle of joy, named Lisa Marie…
“Fifty-four years ago there was a star shining over Graceland with the birth of this precious angel.” He said she was inseparably a part of Memphis, calling her “a precious jewel”, and a “sister” to everyone who lived there.
As the only daughter of the King of Rock and Roll, he described her as “the conduit to the throne” and “the keeper of the flame”.
He concluded: “Lisa Marie was all Memphis. She belonged to us and we belonged to her.”
Sarah, Duchess of York, then took to the stand, speaking about the Queen in her tribute and offering her support to the late singer’s children.
She said: “We need to stoke our flames within to celebrate extraordinary Lisa Marie. I stand here with great honour, because we called each other Sissie. I’ve been here with you all for all your lives and I stand here with great honour. So Sissie, this is for you with affection.”
She went on to tell an anecdote about the Queen, saying: “My late mother-in-law used to say ‘That nothing can be said, can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments because grief is the price we pay for love’, and how right she was.”
‘Our heart is broken’
A tearful Priscilla Presley then read out a poem written by her granddaughter about her mother’s loss, titled The Old Soul. She finished her reading, saying: “Our heart is broken Lisa, we all love you”.
Lisa Marie’s agent, Jerry Schilling, described her as “the only person who could intimidate Jerry Lee Lewis”. He went on: “I was in the hospital with her father when Priscilla was giving birth, I was at the hospital with her mother when she left us. Memphis, I will always love you.”
Rock singer Axl Rose said he was “still in shock” about Lisa Marie’s death, adding, “I feel like I should be texting her right now and telling her how wonderful everyone is”. He went on to perform November Rain on the piano.
Other musical performances included Billy Corgan performing To Sheila by The Smashing Pumpkins, Alanis Morissette singing an emotional rendition of her song Rest and the Blackwood Brothers Quartet singing How Great Thou Art and Sweet Sweet Spirit, both of which were previously performed by Elvis.
Riley’s tribute to her mum, and first mention of her daughter
Actor and stuntman Ben Smith-Petersen, the husband of Lisa Marie’s daughter Riley, read an emotional tribute, written by Riley and titled To My Momma.
Part of the letter read: “I hope I can love my daughter the way you loved me, the way you loved my brother and my sisters. Thank you for giving me strength, my heart, my empathy, my courage, my sense of humour, 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.”
Smith-Petersen and Riley have been married since 2015, but haven’t previously revealed they had a daughter together.
‘Her father’s protector’
Joel Weinshanker closed the ceremony, saying: “Lisa’s voice will only be amplified with time, and never be silenced or diminished. She was and will always be her father’s protector, and we will continue to be hers”.
He asked everyone present to respect the family’s wishes not to be photographed or videoed.
Those present were then invited to come in groups to view Lisa Marie’s headstone in Meditation Garden.
Elvis is also buried at Graceland, as are Elvis’s parents, his paternal grandmother, and his grandson Benjamin Keough – Lisa Marie’s son – who took his own life in 2020, aged 27.
Lisa Marie’s final resting place is next to her son and near to her father.
Elvis died from heart failure aged 42 when Lisa Marie was aged just nine. She was four when Elvis and Priscilla Presley were divorced in 1972.
Lisa Marie was married four times, including to pop star Michael Jackson and actor Nicolas Cage.
She had struggled with opioid addiction following the birth of her twin daughters in 2008.
Just months before her death she wrote in an essay for People magazine: “I’ve dealt with death, grief and loss since the age of nine years old.
“I’ve had more than anyone’s fair share of it in my lifetime and somehow, I’ve made it this far.”
She went on: “Death is part of life whether we like it or not – and so is grieving.”
Lisa Marie is survived by her three daughters, actress and model Riley Keough, and teenage twins Finley Lockwood and Harper Lockwood.
Her children will inherit the Graceland estate, as she inherited it from Elvis following his death.
Former United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger has died aged 100
Former United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger has died aged 100.
He passed away at his home in Connecticut on Wednesday, according to a statement from Kissinger Associates Inc.
The veteran politician had major influence on American foreign policy under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
Born in Germany in 1923, Mr Kissinger fled the Nazi regime with his family as a teenager and settled in the US in 1938.
During eight years as a national security adviser and secretary of state, Dr Kissinger was involved in major foreign policy events including the first example of “shuttle diplomacy” seeking peace in the Middle East, secret negotiations with China to defrost relations between the burgeoning superpowers and the instigation of the Paris peace talks seeking an end to the Vietnam conflict.
In 1973 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War.
However, Dr Kissinger, along with President Nixon, also bore the brunt of criticism from the US’s allies following the fall of Saigon to North Vietnamese forces in 1975 as the remaining US personnel fled what is now known as Ho Chi Minh City.
His influence over US diplomacy – which continued long after he left office – has not been without controversy, and some activists called for him to be prosecuted for war crimes.
He remained active in politics, even after his 100th birthday in May, attending meetings in the White House, publishing a book on leadership styles, and testifying before a Senate committee about the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
In July 2023 he made a surprise visit to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
During his early life, after becoming a naturalised US citizen in 1943, Dr Kissinger joined the US Army the same year and was awarded a Bronze Star.
He would go on to serve with US counter intelligence in occupied Germany.
Dr Kissinger earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees at Harvard University, where he taught international relations for almost 20 years before President Nixon appointed him national security advisor in 1969.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Nancy Maginnes Kissinger, two children by his first marriage, David and Elizabeth, and five grandchildren.
According to the statement from Kissinger Associates: “He will be interred at a private family service. At a later date, there will be a memorial service in New York City.”
Senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid tribute to Dr Kissinger on X describing him as a “great one” and saying: “Fortunate indeed is America for his lifetime of diplomacy, wisdom, and love of freedom.”
Winston Lord, former US ambassador to China and Dr Kissinger’s one time special assistant said: “The world has lost a tireless advocate for peace.
“America has lost a towering champion for the national interest. I have lost a cherished friend and mentor.
“Henry blended the European sense of tragedy and the American immigrant’s sense of hope.”
Cindy McCain, the wife of late Senator John McCain said: “Henry Kissinger was ever present in my late husband’s life.
“While John was a POW and in the later years as a Senator & statesman.
“The McCain family will miss his wit, charm, and intelligence terribly.”
US military aircraft with six people on board crashes off Japanese island
At least one person has died after a US military aircraft crashed off the coast of a Japanese island.
Six crew members were on board the Osprey aircraft when it crashed on Wednesday.
The Japanese coastguard said one crew member had been found – and was later pronounced dead – along with grey-coloured debris believed to be from the aircraft.
They were found at sea around half a mile off the eastern coast of Yakushima.
The cause of the crash and the status of the other people on the aircraft were not immediately known.
Fishing boats in the area found three people in the surrounding waters, a representative of a local fisheries cooperative said. Their condition is unknown.
Another Osprey landed safely at the island’s airport on Wednesday, at around the time of the crash.
“The government will confirm information about the damage and place the highest priority on saving lives,” Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.
The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but during flight can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster like an aeroplane.
US and Japanese officials said the aircraft belonged to Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo.
In Okinawa, where about half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are based, Governor Denny Tamaki told reporters he will ask the US military to suspend all Osprey flights in Japan.
In August, a US Osprey crashed off the coast of northern Australia, killing three Marines and seriously injuring five others.
Another crash-landed in the ocean off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa in December 2016, prompting a temporary US military grounding of the aircraft.
It also comes after five US service members were killed after their aircraft suffered a “mishap” during a routine air refuelling mission in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Elon Musk accused of promoting ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory
Elon Musk has been accused of promoting a long-debunked conspiracy theory which alleged high-profile Democrats ran a paedophile abuse ring from a Washington pizza restaurant.
The billionaire posted and later deleted a meme referencing “Pizzagate” on X on Tuesday, NBC News reports.
It was an image from TV show The Office, with fake dialogue superimposed on to the scene to make it look like the characters were arguing about whether the conspiracy was real.
“Does seem at least a little suspicious,” Musk wrote.
His post was seen by NBC News – Sky’s US partner network – before it was taken down.
NBC News reports Musk has replied to X posts about Pizzagate at least four times since 20 November.
They feature unfounded insinuations that journalists were involved.
No evidence has ever been uncovered that a child trafficking ring was being run from the pizzeria, or that Democrat politicians were involved and journalists covered it up.
Musk is a regular critic of the media and purveyor of conspiracies, including that aliens built the pyramids.
Last year, shortly after buying the platform formerly known as Twitter, he posted a link to an article featuring an unfounded rumour about an attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
More recently, he has been accused of endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory. It led to major advertisers pulling promotions from X and criticism from Israeli politicians.
The SpaceX owner has since visited the country to be shown the scene of Hamas’s attack on 7 October.
Sky News has contacted X for comment.
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