With the third day of public viewing for the Queen of Soul has come a third outfit change.
Mourners at New Bethel Baptist Church saw Aretha Franklin dressed in sparkling rose gold. Her floor-length gown was accented with gold-sequined Christian Louboutin heels.
Her polished bronze casket sat at the front of the sanctuary, which was surrounded with photos of her and lavender and pink roses.
On the first day of a two-day public viewing at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Queen of Soul wore Louboutin 5-inch patent leather pumps that matched a tea-length ruby red dress made of lace with a full tulle skirt and chiffon overlay, said Linda Swanson, executive vice president of Swanson Funeral Home. She also wore specially-made pink South Sea pearl necklace and earrings.
The Thursday viewing is at a church where Franklin’s father was the longtime pastor and she learned the gospel fundamentals that would make her a soul institution. Hundreds of people lined Linwood Street for more than half a mile for the opportunity to say a final farewell to the iconic singer.
Thursday’s viewing comes after two days of viewings at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Franklin was dressed in red for the first day, and wore a baby blue dress on the second day.
Swason disclosed that Franklin would be wearing different clothing in coming days. “Just natural changes in wardrobe that a queen would make,” she said.
Frankin’s solid bronze Promethean casket plated in 24-karat gold, and is the same type of coffin in which singers James Brown and Michael Jackson were buried, according to The Telegraph of Britain. It’s lined with champagne velvet; her name “Aretha Franklin” is embroidered in gold metallic thread with “Queen of Soul” beneath.
The line for the public viewing at New Bethel Baptist Church stretched several blocks — more than half a mile — Thursday afternoon. Fans wearing a variety of T-shirts bearing Franklin’s image mourned her loss with a smile. There were spontaneous bursts into song, and cheers for the Queen of Soul as they waited to enter the sanctuary.
Shouts of “We love you!” ”Ree Ree!” and “Let the Queen through!” could be heard as the white 1940s Cadillac hearse drove down Linwood Street and pulled up to the front of New Bethel. The crowd jockeyed to snap photographs and cell phone videos of Franklin’s bronze casket as it was taken into the church just before noon.
The Swanson Funeral Home has declined to say what Franklin’s final outfit will be for Friday’s service, but it will almost certainly be different. The funeral is expected to begin at 10 a.m. at Greater Grace Temple and will last at least five hours.
Franklin died August 16 at the age of 76.
Contributing: USA Today Network