Marking the 55th birthday of her late daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley says she's trying to keep their family together.
“Today would have been Lisa’s 55th birthday. My wish is to protect my three grandchildren and keep our family together," the 77-year-old ex-wife of legendary singer Elvis Presley said in a statement Wednesday provided to The Times.
"From the first moment I held Lisa in my arms, I've protected, loved and guided her, as I have my son," the "Dallas" veteran's statement continued. "Our hearts are broken, and I am having to learn to live without my only daughter. We truly love all of you, and we feel your prayers. Thank you so much for caring so deeply for our family."
Priscilla, who was married to Elvis from 1967 to 1973, later had son Navarone Garibaldi with producer Marco Garibaldi.
The matriarch's remarks come days after she filed a petition to contest the will left by her daughter, who died in January. The will states that Lisa Marie's trust — which includes Elvis' Graceland property and 15% ownership of his estate — would be left to Lisa Marie's children.
Priscilla filed the petition in Los Angeles Superior Court last Thursday questioning the “authenticity and validity” of her daughter's will and disputing a 2016 amendment to Lisa Marie's documents that allegedly removed Priscilla and her former business manager, Barry Siegel, as trustees. Lisa Marie replaced them with her eldest children, actor Riley Keough, 33, and Benjamin Keough — who died in 2020 at age 27.
Priscilla, along with Siegel, is currently a co-trustee of Lisa Marie's estate and is seeking to keep it that way — despite the 2016 amendment allegedly naming Riley and Benjamin Keough as the sole trustees in the event of their mother’s death.
The petition claims that the amendment “allegedly signed by Lisa Marie Presley” misspells her mother’s name and contains a signature that “appears inconsistent with [Lisa Marie Presley’s] usual and customary signature.” Priscilla also maintains that the 2016 amendment was never delivered to her during her daughter’s lifetime “as required by the express terms of the trust” and that the document was never witnessed or notarized.
Additionally, the filing said that Priscilla believes Siegel “has already or will soon resign as co-trustee” — in which case Riley Keough would be appointed co-trustee with Priscilla.
Lisa Marie's children — including her 14-year-old twin daughters, Harper and Finley, with ex-husband Michael Lockwood — have not yet publicly commented on Priscilla's filing. A representative for Riley Keough did not immediately respond Wednesday to The Times' request for comment.
The document was filed less than a week after the Presley family gathered at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., for a public memorial service. The ceremony was attended by musicians Billy Corgan, Alanis Morissette and Axl Rose, as well as Priscilla, who read a poem written by one of her granddaughters. The ceremony was livestreamed on Vimeo and is still available to watch on the platform.
Joel Weinshanker — the managing partner of Elvis Presley Enterprises, the corporation founded by the Elvis Presley Trust that was at one point owned by Lisa Marie — also attended the memorial. On Wednesday, he appeared on Elvis Radio on SiriusXM to mark Lisa Marie's 55th birthday too. He asserted Lisa Marie's stance to leave the estate to her children to best protect Elvis' legacy.
"Everyone knew that when Elvis passed away, he left everything to his little girl. And he did so knowing that she would be the one to keep his legacy going," Weinshanker said. "And I can tell you she has — without falter, no matter what else was happening in her life, in her career — always been the one to look out for what was best for Elvis.
"Lisa couldn't be bought. She couldn't be pushed. If she felt something wasn't in Elvis' best interest, it was never about money. And she really is the only Presley you can ever say that about," he continued. "And she also was very, very quite certain and very direct about who she wanted to have the legacy [left] to ... and that was always Riley and Ben. There was never a question in her mind that they would be the stewards, that they would look at it exactly the same way she did."
Times staff writer Christi Carras contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.