SOUL sensation Aretha Franklin is proving she is still a true diva even in death – by wearing a string of fashionable outfits in the run up to her star-studded burial.
The funeral home in charge of the Queen of Soul’s final farewell has announced the star will don different dresses daily during her very public farewell to fans.
Aretha Franklin in her open casket presented in Christian Louboutin five-inch patent heels[/caption]
Aretha died last week at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer in Detroit, where she began her career as a child singing gospel in the New Bethel Baptist Church choir.
Now Linda Swanson of Swanson Funeral Home has revealed her family want the legend’s wardrobe to be swapped every day ahead of Friday’s service – which will be livestreamed around the world
What she will be wearing is a “surprise,” Swanson told the Detroit Free Press, but added the outfits clothing will be “just natural changes in wardrobe that a queen would make.”
The star’s body arrived in a shining gold casket at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in her Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday for the start of her two-day public viewing.
People wait in a long line to get the chance to say goodbye to the Queen of Soul[/caption]
She was wearing Christian Louboutin five-inch patent leather pumps that match a ruby red dress made of lace – with a full skirt and chiffon overlay.
The dress has beading on the bodice and shoulders, and a boat neck collar with a chiffon bell sleeve altered by Swanson, who is also a seamstress.
The music legend was also wearing custom-designed beaded earrings.
She is resting in a solid bronze Promethean casket plated in 24-carat gold. It is the same type of coffin in which singers James Brown and Michael Jackson were buried.
The people of Detroit have turned out to say goodbye to the superstar they loved[/caption]
The Detroit diva was transported to the museum in a classic white LaSalle Sedan as part of a regal send off.
The same Cadillac was used to transport her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, when he died in July 1984. It was also used to transport Rosa Parks’ body when she died in 2005.
Her shiny casket – inscribed inside with “The Queen of Soul” in small gold letters – was surrounded by a spray of soft-pink and lavender-coloured roses.
The flowers were said to reflect her love for them and her propensity to send arrangements “in grand fashion”.
A woman holds a a flower made from paper and US currency as she waits to view the body of US singer[/caption]
Thousands are expected to turn up to pay their regards to the singing legend[/caption]
And her legs were said to have been crossed at the ankles, to remember someone who was comfortable with being a strong woman.
Franklin reportedly wore red as it is symbolic of her membership in the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, which fights for the rights of African American women.
Meanwhile its ornamental elements and sheer netting fabric paid homage to something she would wear onstage.
Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece, who was among those organising the event, confirmed the dress was “something she would have selected for herself”.
Posters signed by fans of Aretha Franklin sit outside of the Charles H. Wright Museum[/caption]
She said: “After all she gave to the world, I felt we needed to give her an appropriate send-off that would match her legacy. She loved the city of Detroit and the city of Detroit loved her.”
Aretha’s soaring voice also poured out from loudspeakers outside the museum, stirring fans arriving to pay their respects to sway and sing along and others to weep.
Franklin died last week at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer in Detroit, where she began her career as a child singing gospel in the New Bethel Baptist Church choir.
Hundreds of music lovers slept on the sidewalk overnight to ensure they were among the first to say a farewell to the global star.
Officials made mourners put away their cell phones before viewing Aretha and quickly ushered them along.
Tammy Gibson, 49, of Chicago said she arrived about 5.30 a.m. She came alone but made fast friends with others who sang and reminisced.
Growing up, Gibson said she heard Franklin’s music “playing all the time” by her parents, who “told me to go to bed it’s an adult party.”
Outside the museum, she said: “I know people are sad, but it’s just celebrating people dancing and singing her music.” Indeed, a group of women were singing her hit “Freeway of Love.”
Franklin had been a constant in Gibson’s life.
The gold casket carrying Franklin is taken to a resting place where it will be displayed for two days[/caption]
It has now emerged that the mega-star did not leave a will to her $80m estate[/caption]
“I saw the gold-plated casket it dawned on me: She’s gone, but her legacy and her music will live on forever.”
Multiple life-sized posters of her flanked the entrance and exit of the building – which was soon mobbed with fans.
Museum board member Kelly Major Green said the goal was to create a dignified and respectful environment akin to a church, the place where Aretha got her start.
“What we wanted to do is be reflective of the Queen,” Ms Green said. “It’s beautiful. She’s beautiful.”
The singing star will lie in state for two days of public viewing in Detroit[/caption]
Aretha on the set of the movie ‘Blues Brothers 2000’[/caption]
The high-heel scarlet shoes, in particular, show “The Queen of Soul is diva to the end,” Ms Green said.
“She is just iconic. The way she loved and treated individuals, and she always remained down to earth,” said Mary Jones, who wore an”‘I love Aretha’ t-shirt and made the four-hour drive from Ohio to pay her respects.
“It’s unreal that I’m going to get to say goodbye to her now. It’s amazing.”
The Wright Museum previously hosted a similar public viewing for civil rights icon Rosa Parks after her 2005 death.
Aretha sang at Parks’ funeral and the singer will be entombed in the same cemetery as Parks.
A fan sits inside a pink Cadillac parked outside the museum[/caption]
Fans queued overnight to ensure they were among the first to say their farewells[/caption]
Aretha at the 2016 White House Correspondents Association Annual Dinner[/caption]
It has now emerged that the mega-star did not leave a will – despite having tens of millions stashed in the bank.
Court documents show the ‘I Say a Little Prayer ‘ legend had no will at the time of her death, reports US entertainment website TMZ.
The singer’s four sons – Clarence, Edward, Teddy White Jr. and Kecalf – will now share equally in her estimated $80m estate, in accordance with Michigan state law.
Aretha’s funeral is due to take place on August 31, at at 10am Eastern Standard Time, which is 3pm in the UK, when her body will be entombed at a family gravesite.
The ‘Queen of Soul’, pictured in the 1960s, is considered one of the greatest singers ever[/caption]
People hold cards with the image of Aretha Franklin as they wait in line[/caption]
It will be held at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan and her body will be entombed at the Woodlawn Cemetery.
The funeral will see the legendary artist‘s family and closest friends say goodbye to the singer in the private event. Former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are also due to attend.
More than 100 pink Cadillacs are expected to line up outside the church to pay homage to Franklin’s song Freeway of Love, in which she sings about a pink Cadillac.
The Queen of Soul will by lying in state for the next two days[/caption]
Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Holliday, Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adam are set to perform at the service, according to CNN.
Others performing are Faith Hill, Chaka Khan, classical artist Audrey DuBois Harris, soprano Alice McAllister Tillman, Franklin’s son Edward Franklin, the Aretha Franklin Orchestra and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir.
Music producer Clive Davis is also planning a tribute concert to honour the legend at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in November.
Aretha passed away from advanced pancreatic cancer on August 16[/caption]
A fan sheds a tear for the star in her adopted home of Detroit[/caption]
MORE ABOUT ARETHA FRANKLIN
The singer was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but moved to Detroit when she was five. Rolling Stone magazine recently named her the greatest singer of all time.
The mum-of-four died surrounded by loved ones in the town where she grew up, publicist Gwendolyn Quinn announced.