Obama honors Aretha Franklin with letter, says singer 'lifted those of millions'

Aretha Franklin funeral live stream Queen of Soul

The palace's famous changing of the guard took place just before Franklin's funeral was set to begin in the USA - and the Band of the Welsh Guards, which provides music during the ceremony, took the moment to honor her.

"She made important and lasting contributions to American music with her gospel-inspired style and distinctive voice", Bush wrote in a letter read by Franklin's friend, Barbara Sampson, during Friday's funeral service, which the Bushes were unable to attend.

The Band of the Welsh Guards paid tribute to Aretha Franklin during the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.

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"You're so special", he said, before crooning a few lines from his song "Really Gonna Miss You", with the line "really gonna be different without you".

Franklin's funeral in Detroit will include speeches from former President Bill Clinton, as well as civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, actress Cicely Tyson and others.

The rendition was a big hit on Twitter, with one user describing it as "one queen's homage to another".

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Obama's letter honoring Franklin received a standing ovation from the funeral's attendees after Sharpton finished reading it. "Now I want y'all to help me correct Donald Trump, to teach him what it means".

"No, she used to perform for you, she worked for us", Sharpton said Friday. "She worked for us".

Franklin died August 16 at age 76.

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Family members, among them granddaughter Victorie Franklin and niece Cristal Franklin, spoke with awe and affection as they remembered a world-famous performer who also loved gossip and kept pictures of loved ones on her piano.

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