Aretha Franklin's Funeral Is Fit for a Queen -- Watch Ceremony Live

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Fans, friends and family continue to pay their respects to Aretha Franklin, as she is being laid to rest in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

The Queen of Soul, who died on Aug. 16 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 76, is being honored for more than six hours with 18 performers and more than 15 speakers. Friday's funeral service is taking place at the 4,000-seat Greater Grace Temple, where a red carpet has been laid out.

At the altar of the church, an inscription reads: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." This is the name of Franklin's 1987 gospel album.

During the procession, 100 pink Cadillacs lined the street outside the church. The ceremony -- which is livestreaming -- was set to conclude at about 3:00 p.m. ET after a performance from Jennifer Holliday and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir, but the ceremony is running about an hour-and-a-half behind. 

Franklin's casket arrived at the ceremony around 8:30 a.m. ET, and was carried in by six men in suits. She is being buried in a 24-karat gold-plated Promethean casket made of solid bronze, and the interior is finished with champagne velvet. Queen of Soul and her name are embroidered in the casket with gold metallic thread.

Aretha Franklin
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images
Aretha Franklin
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images

 

The ceremony began with a selection of Franklin's recorded songs, followed by a prayer and several readings. 

Aretha Franklin funeral

Former President Bill Clinton and religious leaders Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson attend the funeral for Aretha Franklin at the Greater Grace Temple on Aug. 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.

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Hillary Clinton Aretha Franklin Funeral

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the funeral for Aretha Franklin at the Greater Grace Temple on Aug. 31, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.

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Faith Hill was the first singer to perform, opting for a showstopping rendition of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Clad in all black with silver jewelry, Hill had the crowd on their feet during her performance.

Next, Ariana Grande wowed the crowd with her rendition of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Following her performance, Reverend Charles Ellis took the stage to thank Grande for her tribute and jokingly apologized for thinking she was a "new item on the Taco Bell menu" when he initially saw her name on the program.

So far The Clark Sisters, The Williams Brothers with Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Franklin's son, Edward Franklin, have also performed during the service.

The funeral will also include performances from Jennifer Hudson, who will play Franklin in an upcoming biopic, and the Queen of Soul's longtime friend, Stevie Wonder.

In addition to the 18 performances, the six-and-a-half hour service will feature speakers including former president Bill Clinton, who gave both a funny and heartfelt tribute to Franklin. Clinton made the audience laugh when he declared, "I was so glad when I got here...when the casket was still open, because I said, 'I wonder what my friend's got on today. I wanna see what the girl is carrying out."

He revealed that both he and his wife, Hillary Clinton were "groupies" of Franklin during their own college years and ended his tribute by playing Franklin's song, "Think," on his iPhone.

Tyler Perry, Cicely Tyson and Smokey Robinson are also slated to speak.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan spoke at the ceremony and announced that the city would be renaming Chene Park, where the music legend once performed, to Aretha Franklin Park. It was also declared that Franklin would get another street in Detroit.

You can view the full funeral lineup HERE.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Buckingham Palace played "Respect" during a Changing of the Guard in Franklin's honor.

The Queen of Soul's funeral comes after nearly a week of tributes to the legendary singer, which included a public memorial and more than one outfit change

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