Aretha Franklin was carried down a red carpet in to Detroit's Greater Grace Temple on Friday morning in a gold plated casket, wearing a gold, full length dress ahead of her star-studded funeral.
The Queen of Soul was brought to the church in a white Cadillac LaSalle hearse that once carried civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, and also her father legendary minister CL Franklin.
The hearse will pick her up again to take her body to Woodlawn Cemetery, where Parks and her father were also buried, reports Daily Mail.
As crowds gathered outside the church to say their goodbyes, six men were seen carrying Franklin out of the 1940s hearse and into the church, while another two stood behind them.
The pallbearers were seen wheeling the coffin down what would be Franklin's last ever red carpet, as guests began to arrive at her service, which is expected to be up to five hours long.
Inside the coffin, Aretha is dressed in a full-length golden dress, with sequined heels - her fourth outfit since her first day of viewing.
As guests walked into the church, and thousands waited out the front to find out if they would be among the lucky 1,000 members of the public permitted entry, the Aretha Franklin Orchestra sang.
Among the high profile guests were Whoopi Goldberg, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ariana Grande, boxer Tommy Hearns, Motown star Martha Reeves and Jesse Jackson.
State troopers came to pay their respects to Franklin's open casket in full uniform before her family entered to say their final goodbyes.
As the Orchestra sang, three men in gloves slowly closed the casket for the last time, with two women by their sides.
Starting more than an hour behind schedule, host and family friend Bishop Charles H. Ellis III told the packed-out church: "We will do our best not to waste time, but we will take the necessary time to honor this great woman".
In the prayer of comfort, Dr. E.L. Branch, senior pastor of Detroit's Third New Hope Baptist Church, who worked with Franklin's father, thanked God for the Queen.
"Thank you Lord for Aretha. She was first Detroit's, then America's, and then the world's," he said.
"An image of hope larger than life. A soldier, a trooper, an encourager, a good and faithful servant."
Faith Hill made the first musical tribute of the day, singing "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" with the official orchestra.
The song, performed after a reading of the Old Testament, New Testament and a Psalm, had many on their feet dancing and clapping.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan told the congregation he would be moving to rename the city's famed Chene Park to Aretha Franklin Park as soon as council met again.
"Our beautiful waterfront jewel will be Aretha Franklin Park, and when performers for generations to come arrive, they will be reminded they are performing at the home of the Queen of Soul," he told the cheering crowd.
Brenda Jones, Detroit City Council President, seconded the motion, and also announced a second street had been named after the singer.
Council member JoAnn Watson said Franklin was always eager to share her wealth with her community, and was never too good to do anything herself.
"She would ride the streets of Detroit, quietly taking notice of people with special needs and making donations," Watson said.
"She will forever be our Queen."
Reverend Al Sharpton told of the time Franklin went on an 11-city tour to raise money for Martin Luther King, who was struggling to fund his payroll.
"She represented the best of our community and she fought for our community until the end,"
"She gave us pride and she gave us a regal bar to reach. She fought for everybody
"Aretha never took orders from nobody but God."
At some points, his remarks became less rooted in the past and more in the present.
Recognizing her work in standing up for those who could not do it for themselves, Sharpton stood up for Franklin - against Trump.
"The other Sunday on my show, I misspelled respect. And a lot of you all corrected me. And now I want you to help me correct President Trump to teach him what it means."
He referenced Trump's memorial comments about Franklin working for him, responding: "No".
"She performed for you," he yelled. "She worked for us."
Rev. Sharpton finished by reading out a letter sent in by Barack Obama, where he shared his love for the Queen of Soul.
"From a young age, Aretha Franklin rocked the world of anyone who had the pleasure of hearing her voice," he wrote.
"Aretha's work reflected the very best of the American story.
"While the music she made captured some of out deepest human desires, through her voice Aretha lifted the voices of millions; the downtrodden, the vulnerable or maybe someone who just needed a little boost."
The starlet's childhood friend, Smokey Robinson, told the congregation of the day the pair met, and how they had been close ever since.
"My longest friend has gone home, and I know you're up there and you're celebrating with your family and all our neighborhood friends who are gone," he said.
"You're going to be one of the featured voices in the choir of angels, you know, because you'd have to be.
"I'm gonna love you forever."
Motown sensation The Clark Sisters broke the somber mood with a rendition of their song Is My Living In Vain.
During family reflections, Franklin's granddaughter told the church how proud she was to be related to her grandmother: "Every time I learn something new about my grandma, I see so much of herself in me and it makes me smile".
Her grandson thanked Franklin for "always putting the family first, and showing us the right way to handle success".
"I'm sad today, because I'm losing my friend, but the imprint she left on this world can never be removed," he said tearfully.
Franklin's niece Cristal and nephew Vaughn also paid tribute to their ordinary aunt, who went shopping, cooked dinner, and even sung at Cristal's high school graduation.
"We're not saying goodbye Aunty," Vaughn said. "But farewell, until we see you again in our final resting place."
Her son Edward wrapped up the reflections, with a moving musical tribute. He sang Marvin Gaye's Mercy Mercy Me.
There were more political moments, with Bishop Charles Ellis taking a moment to acknowledge Maxine Waters.
He and the congregation yelled to her: "We got your back", as the congresswoman looked overwhelmed and grateful.
Former US Attorney Eric Holder remembered growing up to Franklin, and his delight at being able to meet her in person.
He encouraged the congregation to remember her work outside of Franklin's music - and how she could jet from wowing crowds the Kennedy stage to helping her community on the street without skipping a beat.
"She was that rare queen who never lost the common touch," he said.
"Our days will be a little less bright and our lives just a bit empty."
A letter from former President George W Bush addressed to Franklin's family was read out to the church, praising her "important and lasting contributions".
Bush presented Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, previously given to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.
"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the loss of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin," the letter began.
"Our hearts ache for you and our prayers are with you. Aretha was a woman of achievement with a deep character and loving heart.
"She made important and lasting contributions to American music with her gospel-inspired style and distinctive voice. Her remarkable talent helped shape our nation's artistic and cultural heritage and in 2005, it was my privilege to honor her with our country's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
"I am proud to have met Aretha and am grateful that her music will continue to bring joy to millions for generations to come. As you remember and honor Aretha's life, may the Almighty comfort you in your grief and sustain you during this difficult time.
"Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathy. May God bless you."
Former President Bill Clinton, who Bishop Ellis introduced as "the first black President of the United States", said he and wife Hillary had long been avid fans of the soul singer.
"We started out not as President and First Lady, but as Aretha groupies or something," he joked.
He said Franklin's power to pull a crowd was: "Not because she had this breathtaking talent, not because she grew up a princess of soul, but because she lived with courage. Not without fear, but overcoming her fears."
"She lived with faith... she lived with power. I just loved her," he said.
"The secret of her greatness was she took this massive talent, and this perfect culture that raised her, and decided to be the composer of this massive song."
Clinton could not resist throwing in a joke about Franklin's flamboyant wardrobe, remarking: "I was so happy when I got here and the casket was still open, I got to think: 'I wonder what my friend has on today'."
The former President closed by explaining he didn't love and respect Franklin for her talent, but for what she did with it, and how she treated others in the face of unimaginable success.
"She cared about broken people, she cared about people who were disappointed... about people who didn't succeed as much as she did," he said.
"And she worked her can off to get where she was. She took the gifts god gave her, and they just kept getting a little bigger every day."
The former President finally cut himself off, having gone well over his time allotment, by playing Franklin's 'Think' on his phone.
Judge Greg Mattis spoke of Aretha's determination to prove everyone wrong, especially when it came to people speculating on her health.
He told the church how when he was feeling down and out over the way people had reacted to him trying to take a stand on the Flint water crisis, and how her last ever words to him gave him the strength to keep on fighting to make it right.
"Her last words to me were taken from the greatest song she performed," he said.
"She said: 'You go back up there and you sock it to them'."
Dr William Barber, a retired pastor, told the congregation of a time towards the end of her life, where she had her caretaker call him and check in because he was having surgery.
"She's been in some of the most profound and sacred places in the world, and she never forgot Detroit," he said.
US representative Brenda Lawrence joked she was shocked at the huge turnout.
"It's amazing to me she has so many friends, because we all feel like the special one," she said.
"I am so proud to have known and to share my life with the amazing queen."
Reverend James Holley, a close friend of the Franklin family, said he counted himself lucky to be by the soul queen's bedside when she died.
"I was with her when she passed. I'm a blessed man, because of my relationship with the family," he said.
"I love me Aretha. I really loved me some Aretha, and Aretha loved her some Jim Holley."
Reverend Donald Parsons delivered a mini sermon on accepting death through his stories about Franklin.
"She's not going to some place, she's going to someone," he concluded to a standing ovation.
Chaka Khan delivered a smooth performance of Goin' Up Yonder, channeling an opulence Franklin would have approved of, with a silk coat and lavishly decorated fan.
The fan appeared to have the lyrics to the song on the back, but did not affect the songstress' performance.
Ron Isley cut a similarly glamorous figure as he performed on stage, fighting back tears as he sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow".
Reverend and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson said there was 'much to be said and done' with Franklin's legacy.
He told the church, and the wider audience watching from elsewhere, that idolizing civil rights icons without being registered to vote did not make sense.
"We have long lines at the death of the icons and short lines for voting - something is missing," he said.
Franklin's funeral has been largely dictated by the Queen of Soul herself, with many performers claiming she had chosen which song they would perform.
She has chosen The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., pastor emeritus of Salem Bible Church in Atlanta, to eulogize her.
Organizers of the service insist today's service will be a "spiritual awakening" and not a "concert, show or awards production".
Former president Bill Clinton, Rev Jesse Jackson and Smokey Robinson will all speak at the Queen of Soul's final send-off.
Franklin and Clinton are old friends, and she sang at both his inaugurations.
When the former President arrived, he was seen fumbling with papers, including what appeared to be his speech and an order of service, as Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slipped into the church.
There will be performances by Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Faith Hill, Shirley Caesar, Chaka Khan and more.
But the service will not just be for the A list. The first 1,000 people lined up at the Greater Grace Temple will be given access inside, an offer that has created massive crowds outside the church.
But Bishop Charles Ellis III, of Detroit's Greater Grace, said the funeral will be a respectful service clear of all the pomp and ceremony seen over the past week.
'It is my goal and my aim to ensure that people leave here with some kind of spiritual awakening,' Ellis said. 'This is not a concert, this is not a show, this is not an awards production.
'This is a real life that has been lived, that a person regardless of how famous she became no matter how many people she touched around the world.'
The invitation-only funeral at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple caps off a week of high-profile public viewings and tribute concerts.
Bishop Ellis said the service 'may well exceed five hours'. The street outside Greater Grace will be lined with pink Cadillacs - a nod to Franklin's funky '80s tune, 'Freeway of Love,' which prominently featured the car in the lyrics and video.
Gospel artist Marvin Sapp, who is scheduled to perform, said: 'Of course, some get-down and lift-up need not be mutually exclusive.
"I really believe that this... is going to be an eye-opening experience for everybody in the world watching.
"We really celebrate because we really recognize that those we call the dearly departed, they wouldn't want for us to cry and be sad and sorrowful.
"But they would want us to celebrate their lives because they transitioned from this life to a better one."
Sapp wouldn't reveal what he will perform Friday, but said every song is one picked out by Franklin. Robinson also didn't share what he will say, but that's for a different reason.
"I do not plan anything (with) someone I love like that," Robinson, a Motown great who grew up with Franklin, said. "I love her. She was my longest friend."
Robinson said he will just make it 'personal,' since he remained close with Franklin until the end.
He said they "talked all the time," the last just a couple weeks before she became too ill to speak.
"We saw all of our other close friends go," Robinson said. "We used to talk about that - we saw a lot of soldiers go."
Amid the sadness of these days, Robinson can find uplift - and believes Franklin's legacy is secure. A new generation of singers like Grande who are inspired by the late Queen of Soul is just the beginning.
"There are some girls who haven't been born yet ... who will be inspired by Aretha," he said.
Sabrina Owens, Franklin's niece, said she started putting thoughts to paper about events earlier this year as her aunt's health failed.
Since Franklin's August 16 death at 76, Owens said a close group she described as "Aretha's angels" have "worked tirelessly" and have been guided by a single question: "What would Aretha want?"
"After all she gave to the world, I felt we needed to give her an appropriate send-off that would match her legacy," Owens said.