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Elizabeth Taylor attends a dignified send-off for her tragic friend Michael Jackson

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Michael's long-time friend Dame Elizabeth struggles to contain her emotions as she pays a final farewell to her tragic friend
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 Photo: © Getty Images

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It was clearly a difficult day for Michael's grief-stricken mum Katherine Jackson
 Photo: © Getty Images

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The singer's elder son Prince Michael II sits alongside one of his cousins and grandfather Joe
 Photo: © Getty Images

04 SEPTEMBER 2009

She avoided attending his memorial service, excusing herself from the "public hoopla".

"I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word," she explained.

But on Thursday Dame Elizabeth Taylor, the friend Michael Jackson described as Wendy to his Peter Pan and a frequent visitor to his Neverland ranch, joined a more intimate farewell to the late star.

Fighting back tears she watched as his gold-plated flower-laden casket was quietly interred in a sunset ceremony at Los Angeles' Forest Lawn Cemetery, before 200 friends and family members.

Emotion also got the better of his mother Katherine, who wept as she sat alongside his children - Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and seven-year-old Prince Michael II - in the front row.

Her other sons, Randy, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon, acted as pallbearers, each wearing black suits and a solitary white glove – Michael's signature look.


Also in the congregation was actor Macaulay Culkin, another friend the Thriller artist loved because of their shared past as child stars.

Other mourners included Quincy Jones, comedian Chris Tucker, producer Berry Gordy, who gave the former child prodigy his first break on the Motown scene, and the singer's ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley.

Gladys Knight, the Motown singer, sung a version of the Lord’s Prayer while Reverend Al Sharpton delivered a tribute.

In the end, for all the heavyweight celebrities in attendance, it was the kind of private, dignified goodbye that had been missed amid the controversy and suspicion that has surrounded the end of his life.

 

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