September 21, 2009 12:00 PM

Five days after what would have been Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday, family and friends gathered at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif., on Sept. 3 for his funeral. His ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley and his close pals Elizabeth Taylor and Macaulay Culkin were among the 200 mourners at the private service. After prayers, readings, and a song from Gladys Knight, the icon’s gold casket—topped with a crown from his children Prince Michael I, 12, Paris, 11, and Prince Michael II (known as Blanket), 7—was finally laid to rest in the Great Mausoleum in a ceremony that one guest calls “poignant, sweet and very moving.” And heartbreaking: According to their uncle Marlon, Jackson’s kids placed letters to him, along with one of his signature white gloves, inside his coffin. “Daddy, we love you,” read their messages. “We miss you.”

FOR MORE ON JACKSON, GO TO People.com

 

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