In the early hours of August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley died. The 42-year-old was found in his home, Graceland, by his fiancée, Ginger Alden, who had recently agreed to marry the star. Long before his death, however, the pair first met when Ginger was five-years-old, but their romance didn’t start until some 15 years later when the young woman visited the King’s famous house.
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 being swept away by him.
She recalled: “I know this sounds funny but when Elvis entered the room, I thought trumpets would sound. He looked so handsome. He quickly sat 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 with one another, and the star proposed to his girlfriend, who was just 21-years-old.
Ginger remembered: “When January 26th came, I felt as if I had known Elvis longer than a few months. Our relationship had been so intense as if he wanted me to know almost everything about him in a short time. I knew I had fallen in love and couldn’t imagine not being with him.”
Relatives of the King had told Ginger how, before they had met, Elvis would come home, depressed, falling across his bed while whining: “There must be someone out there for me!”
Ginger continued: “There was a lot of activity going on that day at Graceland and it had to do with me getting my engagement ring. I was called into his bathroom where Elvis then said many beautiful things.”Elvis ended the proposal with the words: “I never thought that I would find it in my own backyard, I’m asking you, will you marry me?” The happy couple quickly got planning their wedding, which was due to take place on December 25, Christmas Day, 1977.
This bathroom in Graceland, however, would play venue to a much darker event later that year.
Thinking back to her fairytale romance and engagement, Ginger said: “I was so happy as he presented a green velvet box, opened it and placed a very large and beautiful diamond ring on my finger. My hand was shaking as we kissed and stepped out of the bathroom into his bedroom.” Ginger’s trembling hand was lifted by the King who kept looking at the ring on his new fiancée’s finger and remarking: “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 Graceland’s gates. 17 limos attended the funeral, all in white – the star’s favourite colour – to honour the singer. People from all throughout his life attended, including his ex-girlfriend Ann-Margret.