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Aretha Franklin ‘honoured like a Queen’ as she lies in state

Thousands are expected to honour Aretha Franklin at a public viewing ahead of her funeral on Friday.

The late Queen of Soul will lie in state at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Tuesday and Wednesday and at the New Bethel Baptist Church on Thursday, where she performed as a teenager.

Hundreds of people have been lining up outside to pay their final respects, with some travelling from as far as Las Vegas and Miami.

Aretha Franklin's last public performance in New York in November


Listen to the voice of Aretha Franklin

Franklin died from pancreatic cancer on 16 August, aged 76.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History hosted a similar viewing for civil rights icon Rosa Parks when she passed away in 2005.

Paula Marie Seniors, an associate professor of Africana studies at Virginia Tech, said the setting is fitting, as Franklin is “being honoured almost like a queen at one of the most important black museums in the United States”.

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: A sign on the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit commemorates the passing of singer Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul", in Detroit this morning of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76 August 16th, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
A sign in downtown Detroit pays tribute to the singer

Franklin’s funeral will take place at the 4,000-seat Greater Grace Temple in Detroit on Friday.

Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill and Chaka Khan will all perform.

Former US president Bill Clinton – who was a long-time friend of Franklin – and singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson will also speak at the service.

Former presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama are also understood to have been invited.

More from Aretha Franklin

Steve Wonder among stars performing
Steve Wonder is among stars performing

The private funeral will be limited to family, friends, dignitaries and special guests – but a large screen is being erected for public viewing according to Bishop Charles H Ellis III, pastor of Greater Grace Temple.

Dozens of pink Cadillacs will also line the streets, in honour of Franklin’s 1985 hit Freeway Of Love, according to local media.

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