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Riley Keough Working With Publisher to Release Lisa Marie Presley’s Memoir

Photo Credit: John Sciulli / WireImage / Getty Images
Photo Credit: John Sciulli / WireImage / Getty Images

On January 12, 2023, Lisa Marie Presley died at the age of 54. Like her father, Elvis Presley, she departed the world far too early. She left behind numerous assets, made up of earnings from her own career, as well as those of her father, who left her to manage his estate. However, trouble began brewing behind the scenes between her mother, Priscilla Presley, and daughter, Riley Keough, who disagreed on who should enact Lisa Marie’s last wishes.

A settlement was eventually reached, with Riley taking over Graceland. Lisa Marie’s daughter has now teamed up with Random House to publish her mother’s memoir, which she’d been working on at the time of her death.

Lisa Marie Presley’s cause of death is revealed

Lisa Marie Presley's burial place at Graceland
Lisa Marie Presley’s grave, 2023. (Photo Credit: Jason Kempin / Getty Images)

On July 13, 2023, authorities announced that Lisa Marie Presley died as a result of complications from bariatric surgery she underwent several years ago. The cause of death was determined to be natural, and resulted from a small bowel obstruction.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office released an autopsy report that revealed further information about Presley’s death. The report states the complication she experienced is a common occurrence following bariatric surgery, a procedure performed for weight loss purposes. Bariatric surgery is usually considered when other weight loss methods have proven ineffective or when an individual has a significant medical condition, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The autopsy report also mentioned that Presley was having stomach pains earlier in the day before she died.

Amending Lisa Marie Presley’s wishes

Portrait of Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie Presley, 2013. (Photo Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images for Wonderwall)

Contrary to how it might have looked at the premiere of the 2022 biopic, Elvis, and other red-carpet events, Lisa Marie Presley and her mother hadn’t been on good terms for many years. It began in 2016, when Lisa Marie split from her husband, Michael Lockwood. Rather than take her daughter’s side in the ensuing custody battle for their twins, Priscilla backed Michael.

They’d clearly remained close, as the pair flew to Lisa Marie’s funeral together, despite Michael not being invited.

Lisa Marie hadn’t forgiven her mother for taking someone else’s side when it came to the twins, and she removed Priscilla and former business manager, Barry Siegel, as trustees of her estate. Instead, Riley and Benjamin Keough were put in control of the trust. Benjamin died in 2020, leaving Riley as the sole person responsible.

It was this amendment that started the conflict between Priscilla and her granddaughter.

Family feud

Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley standing together on a red carpet
Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, 2015. (Photo Credit: Bryan Steffy / WireImage / Getty Images)

It appeared Priscilla Presley wasn’t made aware of the change in trust management until after Lisa Marie’s death, as she didn’t take legal action against it until four days after the funeral. Once she was aware, she moved quickly, filing a petition to question the “authenticity and validity” of the amendment.

Priscilla argued that the entire decision should be thrown out, leaving her as the manager of the trust. This was based on the fact that Lisa Marie never told her of the change – supposedly, a legal requirement, according to the terms of the trust. She also raised questions about the validity of the signatures on the document.

While Priscilla tried to fight the change, friends of Lisa Marie commented on the situation. According to one, the late musician was extremely clear that she wanted Riley and Benjamin to be the new trustees, reportedly saying she “wanted each of her four children to have 5 percent of the estate.”

Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough didn’t ‘see eye to eye’

Riley Keough and Lisa Marie Presley standing together on a red carpet
Riley Keough and Lisa Marie Presley, 2017. (Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images for ELLE)

While the family waited to see whether the amendment to the trust would be overturned, many close to them said grandmother and granddaughter were hardly speaking to each other, as they didn’t “see eye to eye” on the matter. The two only communicated through their lawyers.

While Riley Keough was completely taken aback by the fact that Priscilla Presley contested the change, Priscilla maintained that it came from a place of love and said that she hoped they could still have a relationship. An individual close to Priscilla commented on her decision to take legal action, saying she did what felt “is right in her heart.” They elaborated that she was adamant that the documents were forged and weren’t really her daughter’s wishes.

Was Priscilla Presley locked out of Graceland?

Exterior of Graceland
Graceland, 2016. (Photo Credit: Raymond Boyd / Getty Images)

The tense situation between Priscilla Presley and her granddaughter came to a head in mid-March 2023, when rumors began circulating that Riley Keough had locked her grandmother out of Graceland over Lisa Marie’s contested will. Sources told The Daily Mail Keough allegedly “changed the locks on the upstairs doors and archives’ on a trip to Memphis” to prevent Priscilla from accessing the mansion. A source claimed that Priscilla and Lisa Marie had the only keys to Graceland.

Official Graceland representatives spoke out, denying any validity to the rumors. The official statement read, “These reports are entirely untrue. No locks at Graceland have been changed since Lisa Marie’s passing.”

Riley Keough and Priscilla Presley reached a resolution

Priscilla Presley sitting on a couch
Priscilla Presley, 2020. (Photo Credit: Paul Archuleta / Getty Images)

A resolution between Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough was reached on May 16, 2023, and confirmed by legal representatives for Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough. Priscilla issued a statement to PEOPLE regarding the matter. “Although some media identified such a plea as a lawsuit, I want to make clear that there was never any lawsuit filed against my beloved granddaughter,” she said.

She continued in the statement, “As a family, we are pleased that we resolved this together. My family and I hope that everyone will grant us the privacy we have needed to properly grieve Lisa Marie and spend personal time together. We love and appreciate all of you and the Presley family is stronger than ever.”

Riley paid Priscilla a lump sum of $1 million as part of the settlement and has become the sole trustee of Lisa Marie Presley’s estate. The details of the agreement are confidential, but one line in the filing revealed the payment amount. According to The New York Times, Riley was obligated to provide Priscilla with a $400,000 payment for legal fees and costs, which will be given “at the same time as a ‘one million dollar payment’ referred to earlier in a paragraph that discussed a lump sum.”

As part of the agreement, Riley also agreed to appoint her grandmother as a “special adviser” to the trust. The court documents don’t disclose the specific annual compensation amount, but it’s stated Priscilla will receive this payment for 10 years or until her death – whichever occurs earlier.

No burial next to Elvis for Priscilla Presley?

Portrait of Elvis and Priscilla Presley in their wedding attire
Elvis and Priscilla Presley, 1967. (Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

While she’d settled with her granddaughter on some key estate issues, Priscilla Presley was denied one key request. She’d asked to be buried next to her late ex-husband and daughter when the time came. Despite their separation in 1972 and Priscilla’s marriage and divorce from Marco Garibaldi, she has consistently referred to Elvis as the love of her life.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Priscilla said, “Although I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, it is my family’s and my wish for me to be laid to rest with my daughter and the love of my life when that time comes.”

Following Elvis’s passing in 1977, he was laid to rest at Graceland, where his grave is located right beside his parents, Gladys and Vernon. Lisa Marie Presley is also buried at Graceland, alongside her son, Benjamin Keough. As Elvis rests directly between his mother and father, this means someone would have to be moved for Priscilla to get her wish.

Sources indicate Priscilla backed down from the request without a fight. However, it was later learned that Riley, as the owner of Graceland, will “to the extent of her authority,” allow Priscilla to be buried in the Meditation Garden, with her burial site “at the location closest to Elvis Presley without moving any existing gravesite.”

Riley Keough is ensuring Lisa Marie Presley’s memoir gets published

Riley Keough and Lisa Marie Presley standing on a red carpet
Riley Keough and Lisa Marie Presley, 2012. (Photo Credit: John Sciulli / WireImage / Getty Images)

Before her passing, Lisa Marie Presley had been working on a memoir. It was slated to be released by Random House, with the publisher announcing in January 2024 that they’d teamed up with Riley Keough to deliver it to the public.

According to Random House, Riley “carried a guilt” that her mother’s memoir wouldn’t be finished and that the world wouldn’t get to know the real Lisa Marie, and this served as motivation to make sure it was completed. To accomplish this, Riley used her own memories and those of individuals who were close to her mother.

“Few people had the opportunity to know who my mom really was, other than being Elvis’s daughter,” Keough shared in a statement. “I was lucky to have that opportunity and working on preparing her autobiography for publication has been a privilege, albeit a bittersweet one. I’m so excited to share my mom now, at her most vulnerable and most honest, and in doing so, I do hope that readers come to love my mom as much as I did.”

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Still untitled, the memoir, which will reportedly “lift the veil on one of America’s most storied families,” will hit store shelves on October 15, 2024. The audiobook will be a combination of narration by Riley and “never-before-heard recollections in Lisa Marie’s own voice.”

Rosemary Giles

Rosemary Giles is a history content writer with Hive Media. She received both her bachelor of arts degree in history, and her master of arts degree in history from Western University. Her research focused on military, environmental, and Canadian history with a specific focus on the Second World War. As a student, she worked in a variety of research positions, including as an archivist. She also worked as a teaching assistant in the History Department.

Since completing her degrees, she has decided to take a step back from academia to focus her career on writing and sharing history in a more accessible way. With a passion for historical learning and historical education, her writing interests include social history, and war history, especially researching obscure facts about the Second World War. In her spare time, Rosemary enjoys spending time with her partner, her cats, and her horse, or sitting down to read a good book.