Weird...I wonder how this will work out.
Michael Jackson's funeral could be bigger than Elvis's and Princess Diana's, as up to a million mourners pour into LA
By David Gardner
Last updated at 11:35 PM on 28th June 2009
Up to a million mourners from around the world are expected to flock to Los Angeles for Jackson’s funeral.
The memorial service could prove even bigger than that of Elvis Presley or Princess Diana. The Jackson family was said to be considering a private burial followed by a public remembrance ceremony to be televised live to a global audience later this week.
One senior Los Angeles Police chief said: ‘We are preparing for an event of historic proportions. We will be cooperating closely with the family once they have decided where to hold the funeral.’
Mourners gather at the Jackson family home to pay their last respects to the King of Pop
Fans paid tribute in New York's Times Square
The family met over the weekend to discuss the singer’s wish to be buried at his now dilapidated Neverland ranch.
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The idea is reportedly popular with Jackson’s former manager Dr Tohme Tohme and Colony Capital, the company that holds the mortgage on the sprawling 1,050-hectare estate near Santa Barbara.
The singer wished to be buried at his now dilapidated Neverland ranch
The ranch, once Jackson’s retreat from the world, has fallen into disrepair and the singer had not lived there since before his acquittal on child molestation charges in 2005.
His former advisers say turning it into the equivalent of Elvis Presley’s Graceland, with Jackson’s grave at the centre, could be a huge moneyspinner – offsetting Jackson’s multi-million-pound debts.
The singer's funeral could be an even bigger public spectacle than Princess Diana's
In 1977, nearly 80,000 fans lined the streets near Elvis Presley's Graceland Estate for his funeral in Memphis, Tennessee
The star was raised as a Jehovah's Witness
The main obstacles are the lack of permit for a burial on the private estate and resistance from the local council, which says the two-lane road into Neverland could not cope with a massive influx of traffic.
The alternative is LA’s Forest Lawn Cemetery, where film legends such as Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable and Jean Harlow are buried.
In 1977, nearly 80,000 fans lined the streets near Elvis Presley’s Graceland Estate for his funeral in Memphis, Tennessee, and Princess Diana’s 1997 memorial service attracted more than a quarter of a million tearful spectators.
A host of celebrities are expected to attend Jackson’s funeral, including Elizabeth Taylor, Paul McCartney, Liza Minnelli, Brooke Shields, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Madonna and his ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley.
Jackson was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and his parents Joe and Katherine are keen to have a funeral in keeping with the faith, which forbids rowdy wakes, alcoholic toasts and practices that suggest ‘something in the person survives death’.
The faith is still followed by most of his famous family, apart from brother Jermaine, who became a Muslim 20 years ago.
Jackson was briefly linked to the Nation of Islam group but never fully embraced the religion. He also flirted briefly with Judaism.
The Rev Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and a close friend of the family, flew into Los Angeles last night to help the family with their funeral preparations.
He said the family wanted to ensure Jackson’s legacy was honoured at the event.
Jackson’s coffin was under armed guard at a secret Los Angeles location last night after the family ordered a second autopsy.