The Queen of England performed Respect during the Changing of the Guard ceremony in honor of Aretha Franklin ahead a day of her funeral.
The Band of the Welsh Guards paid tribute to Aretha, who died from pancreatic cancer aged 76 on August 16 by playing the 1967 hit during the ceremony outside Buckingham Palace in central London.
The song presented a remarkable twist to this morning’s traditional ritual – which, as the name suggests, marks the moment Queen Elizabeth II’s Guard passed the responsibility to a new set of guards to protect the palace.
The Army in London’s Twitter account posted the video of the performance, writing: ‘Respect for others underpins all we do in the @BritishArmy so it was no surprise that the @WelshGuardsBand paid tribute to a musical icon and inspiration #ArethaFranklin at Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace today.’
A New York man who’d stopped by to watch the formal occasion has also captured a video of the performance which takes place several times a month outside the Queen’s residence.
Chris Botta tweeted: ‘At Changing of Guard at Buckingham Palace this morning, Respect paid to Aretha Franklin.’
Buckingham Palace has used the Changing of the Guard for many occasions as an opportunity to acknowledge world events.
For instance, following the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City and the capital, America’s National Anthem was performed during the ceremony.
At Changing of Guard at Buckingham Palace this morning, Respect paid to Aretha Franklin. pic.twitter.com/UEKa0ekmf5
— Chris Botta (@ChrisBottaNHL) August 31, 2018
Aretha, wearing a gold, full-length dress, was carried down a red carpet into Greater Grace Temple on Friday morning in a gold-plated casket ahead of her star-studded funeral.
Aretha’s body had arrived in a white Cadillac LaSalle hearse that civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks carried in the past, and also her father legendary minister CL Franklin.
Following the five-hour-long ceremony, the hearse will pick her up again to take her body to Woodlawn Cemetery, where Parks and her father were also buried.
Organizers have maintained that Friday’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 deliver a speech for the Queen of Soul’s final send-off.
The A Change Is Gonna Come singer and Clinton are old friends, and she sang at both his inaugurations.
When the former President made his appearance, he was seen fumbling with papers, including what seemed to be his speech and an order of service, as Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slipped into the church.
There’ll be performances by Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Faith Hill, Shirley Caesar, Chaka Khan and more.
The service will not include A-list celebrities. The first 1,000 people staying in the line of 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, stated that the funeral will be a respectful service without any pomp and ceremony seen over the past week.