Aretha Franklin is in her final resting place.
The casket of the Queen of Soul was interred on Friday evening in a mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, just over two weeks after she died of pancreatic cancer at age 76.
Franklin’s loved ones arrived at the cemetery after a 16km processional through her hometown from Greater Grace Temple, where an eight-hour service of songs, sermons and speeches was held earlier in the day.
Woodlawn is also home to the graves of Franklin’s father, two more of his daughters, and civil rights luminary Rosa Parks.
The interment ends the formal mourning for Franklin, who was dressed in four different outfits for open-casket viewings in the days leading up to the funeral.
She was buried in a gold dress and sparkling pumps.
Stevie Wonder wowed with his harmonica skills and then brought the remaining mourners at Aretha Franklin’s lengthy funeral to their feet with a moving version of As.
The choir, Franklin’s family, preachers and remaining guests swayed as Wonder played the classic tune in honour of his old friend.
“The reason we are here today is love,” Wonder said in remarks.
Before Wonder performed, Gladys Knight sang You’ll Never Walk Alone and Bridge Over Troubled Water. As Franklin’s coffin left the church, Jennifer Holliday sang Climbing Higher Mountains. Others who performed over the eight-hour ceremony included Faith Hill, Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande and Chaka Khan.
“God bless, Aretha,” Wonder said at the end of his song. “The joy is in knowing that she will have an eternal life of bliss.”
Former NBA star Isiah Thomas eulogised Franklin as someone who offered her advice and friendship and someone who “shifted the universe.”
He laughed that in the week since Franklin died, her music is being sung everywhere, forcing people in restaurants to stop eating and spontaneously dance.
Thomas recalled how, as a young man, Franklin’s music soothed his mother when the family faced challenges, and later smiled when the soul icon would attend his Detroit Pistons games and sit near his mum.
Said Thomas: “She found a way to inspire all of us with hope, love and dreams through her music. Her voice found a way to help this nation soothe and deal with its troubled past.”
Record giant Clive Davis remembered Franklin as a woman with a thirst for knowledge, as a “true Renaissance woman” — and one with a streak of perfectionism.
Davis, who oversaw Franklin’s music for decades, including such later hits as Who’s Zoomin’ Who? and I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), said once Franklin committed to a project, she’d go into “Aretha mode,” privately rehearsing and preparing so intensely that it was rare for her to need more than a few takes in the studio.
Davis recalled the time Franklin surprised him when he was getting a lifetime achievement award in New York by showing up onstage in a tutu.
“There was the Queen of Soul, accompanied by members of the City Center Ballet Company, she doing well-rehearsed pirouettes and dancing with most impressive agility and dignity. It was wonderful.”
The Rev Jesse Jackson told Franklin to “sleep on” and “I’ll see you in the morning.”
Jackson, who has Parkinson’s disease and is in his late 70s, spoke slowly as he stood in front of the gathered mourners at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit on Friday.
He led them in a prayer of thanks for Aretha and her minister father, asking that God make all in the church “better, not bitter,” by the time the day is over.
Jackson said “Aretha’s not lost, we know where she is.”
He praised her for the funding she gave to The Rev Martin Luther King Jr and for singing through tear gas during the civil rights fight.
He said, however, that it was a shame that the lines to mourn famous people are long, but lines to vote are so short, lamenting that President Donald Trump won Michigan by so few votes.
Jackson said if anyone who leaves the funeral and isn’t registered to vote “dishonours Aretha.”
Bill Clinton memorialised Franklin as a woman with “breathtaking talent” who kept on charming audiences despite her illness.
The former president recalled being an “Aretha groupie” all his life and being thrilled to meet her backstage at her last public performance, a benefit in Harlem for Elton John’s Aids charity last year. She was “gaunt” but went on to perform for 45 minutes.
“How you doing, baby?” she asked him.
“I’m doing better now,” Clinton replied.
The former president also asked the audience to forgive him, saying he was happy that Franklin’s casket was still open when he arrived because he just had to see what she was wearing.
Clinton said, “I wonder what my friend has got on today. I wanted to see what the girl was carrying out,” to a wave of laughs and claps from the crowd. Franklin was wearing a gold gown, her fourth outfit of the week.
He ended his time by playing Franklin’s Think on his iPhone into the mic. “It’s the key to freedom!” Clinton said.
Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush didn’t attend Aretha Franklin’s funeral but they sent messages to honour the Queen of Soul.
Obama, in a statement read by the Rev Al Sharpton, hailed Franklin for reflecting “very best of the American story.” Her music, he said, “captured some of our deepest human desires, namely affection and respect.”
Bush’s statement, read by Franklin friend Barbara Sampson, called Franklin “a woman of achievement with a deep character and a loving heart” who made “lasting contributions to American music with her gospel-inspired style and distinctive voice.”
Faith Hill honoured Franklin by singing What a Friend We Have in Jesus during the Queen of Soul’s funeral.
Hill’s performance got Clinton, the Rev Jess Jackson and the Rev Al Sharpton up on their feet. Many in the audience of the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit also stood as Hill belted out the hymn.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also took to the podium to announce a proposal to rename the city’s waterfront Chene Park after Franklin.
The mayor said: “When Aretha Franklin sang, it sounded like the voice of Detroit.”
Franklin was honoured at London’s Buckingham Palace on the day of her funeral in Detroit.
The official residence of Queen Elizabeth II became an unlikely setting for a rendition of Franklin’s Respect played by the Welsh Guards Band during the popular Changing of the Guard ceremony Friday.
The soul music may have startled tourists expecting British pomp and ceremony from the Welsh Guards, who were wearing traditional red military jackets topped by high bearskin hats.
The Army tweeted that it wanted to pay tribute to a “musical icon and inspiration.”