In the early hours of August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley passed away. The 42-year-old was found at his Graceland home by his new fiancée, Ginger Alden, who had recently agreed to marry the star. The couple first met when Ginger was five, but their romance didn’t begin until 15 years later when the young woman visited the famous king’s household.
Ginger attended Graceland as a guest after her sister, Terry Alden, was invited to meet Elvis in 1976. But when she met the star, she found herself swept away by him.
She recalled: “I know it sounds funny, but when Elvis walked into the room, I thought the trumpets would sound. He was so handsome. He quickly sat down in a chair and started talking with each of us. It turned out to be a truly wonderful evening as he took us on a tour of Graceland.”
A few months later, on this day – January 26 – in 1977, Ginger and Elvis were head over heels in love, and the star proposed to his girlfriend, who was just 21.
Ginger recalls, “When January 26 rolled around, I felt like I had known Elvis for over a few months. Our relationship had been so intense that he wanted me to know almost everything about him in a short time. I knew I had fallen in love and I couldn’t imagine not being with him.”
People close to the king had told Ginger how, before they met, Elvis would come home depressed, falling on his bed lamenting, “There must be someone there for me!”
Ginger continued, “There was a lot of activity that day at Graceland and it had to do with my engagement ring. I was called into his bathroom where Elvis then said a lot of nice things.” Elvis ended the proposal with the words, “I never thought I’d find him in my own garden, I ask you, will you marry me?” The happy couple quickly planned their wedding, which was to take place on December 25, Christmas Day 1977.
This bathroom at Graceland, however, would play the role of a much darker event later that year.
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Looking back on her romance and fairytale engagement, Ginger said: “I was so happy when he presented a green velvet box, opened it and placed a very big, beautiful diamond ring. on my finger. My hand was shaking as we kissed and walked out of the bathroom into her bedroom.” Ginger’s shaking hand was lifted by the king who kept looking at the ring on his new bride’s finger and saying, “Oh boy!”
Two days later, on August 18, 1977, a public funeral was held for Elvis at his home, Graceland.
Thousands of fans lined Elvis Presley Boulevard and stood outside the gates of Graceland. 17 limousines attended the funeral, all dressed in white – the star’s favorite color – to honor the singer. People from all his life attended, including his ex-girlfriend Ann-Margret.
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