Celebrities and dignitaries including Smokey Robinson, Whoopi Goldberg and Stevie Wonder packed into Detroit's Greater Grace Temple on Friday for the funeral of Franklin, who died aged 76 earlier this month.
The singer performed at his inauguration in 1993 and he described himself and his wife, the former USA secretary of state and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, as groupies of Franklin.
"Ellis III led Franklin's funeral and awkwardly greeted Grande on stage after she performed "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman".
Flowers adorn the casket of Aretha Franklin as it is laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018.
'The Lord tells us where we are going and tells us when we are coming, ' Knight said.
Jennifer Hudson's stirring rendition of Amazing Grace; and Gladys Knight's version of You'll Never Walk Alone, in particular, drew mourners to their feet, with others raising their arms in praise.
"The secret of her greatness was she took this massive talent and this flawless culture that raised her and chose to be the composer of her own life song". Author and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson said that her advocacy and support stretched over decades. She then went on to win seven Grammy awards later on in her career.
Gospel music was the backbone, and the heart, of Aretha Franklin's homegoing service. Near the end, Stevie Wonder brought the dwindling audience to their feet, swaying to his classic tribute to love, "As".
Former US president Bill Clinton extolled her gifts, courage and compassion, sharing his memory of her final public performance, in November 2017, when she was already ill but performed with gusto.
The Rev. Al Sharpton read a statement from former President Barack Obama, who wrote that Franklin's "work reflected the very best of the American story". "She represented the best in our community", Sharpton said.
"She worked her can off to get where she was".
Her sons, Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Kecalf Franklin, and Ted White Jr. Her friend Greg Mathis, the reality show host and retired MI judge, recalled his last conversation with her.
Franklin died August 16 at age 76.
The Queen of Soul's final outfit was a sparkling full-length gold dress with sequined heels - the fourth outfit she had been dressed in during a week of events in the run up to her funeral.
They are a nod to her 1985 hit "Freeway of Love", an anthem to her Motor City hometown.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced at the ceremony that Franklin will be honored with the renaming of riverfront concert venue Chene Park to Aretha Franklin Park.
While Aretha Franklin performed before presidents, she never forgot her roots.
Grandson Jordan directed his remarks directly to Franklin, frequently stopping to fight back tears.
After her performance, Grande laughed at Ellis' comment, hugged him and told the crowd, "I love you, Aretha" before leaving the podium. "You showed the world God's love, and there's nothing more honorable".