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Aretha Franklin's funeral gets under way in Detroit

REMEBERED: Aretha Franklin

MUSIC ROYALTY Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson have arrived at Aretha Franklin's funeral in Detroit, Michigan.

Guests and speakers began arriving for Friday's (Aug 31) service at the city's Greater Grace Temple church from 8 am, with those present including Smokey Robinson, former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill, Ariana Grande, Pete Davidson, Tyler Perry, and Stevie Wonder, who is to give a reading of the Lord's Prayer.

Her body was delivered to the church in a 24-carat gold-plated casket made of solid bronze -matching the sparkling full-length gold dress and sequinned heels she has been dressed in for the funeral. The hearse that transported her to be laid to rest was a white 1940 LaSalle hearse - which was also used for the funerals of her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin, The Temptations singer David Ruffin and civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

The street outside the church was lined with pink Cadillacs - a nod to the lyrics of her song Freeway of Love. Car loads of flowers arrived, including a bouquet of red roses from Barbra Streisand addressed to "a sister gone too soon".

Jennifer, who was handpicked by the Queen of Soul to play her in a hotly anticipated biopic, will sing Amazing Grace for mourners, while Faith and Ariana are also performing during the six hour service.

Earlier this week the singer lay in state for two days at Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Soul stars, led by The Four Tops, also honoured Aretha by performing at a special tribute concert on Thursday. Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. and soul diva Patti Labelle sent videotaped remarks that were broadcast to crowds at the event.

The tribute show ended with a mass performance of Aretha's anthem Respect. The event was part of a week-long celebration of her life held in Detroit which came to an end on Friday.

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