Celine Dion Bids Farewell To Rene Angelil With A Public Funeral

Celine Dion said her final goodbye to her husband Rene Angelil with a public memorial service held at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal, the very church they were married in 22 years ago.

Here’s the scoop via World Music Awards:

As she arrived at the church, she clutched the hands of her twin five-year-old sons, Nelson and Eddy, accompanied by her elder son René Charles, and her mother Thérèse, 88. René Angélil died on January 14 at the age of 73. René Charles, who turns 15 on Monday, made a touching speech about his father. Then Celine’s duet with Sinatra, ‘All the Way’, played, and most of the congregation broke down in tears.

The couple’s stature in Canada was reflected in the ceremony, which was broadcast across the country. A national funeral is the closest a non-politician can get to a state funeral in Canada. The couple are so popular in the province and the country at large that Angélil and his grieving wife received the highest honor. Also in attendance was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, and federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Jol. Even though Celine managed to stay composed, the grief of losing her beloved husband and best friend, showed on her face which was covered by a black veil as she arrived at the church. René Charles has been a tower of strength to his superstar mother both in Friday’s funeral and Thursday’s memorial service.

The service was broadcast on giant screens outside the Basilica, the church where the couple was married in December 1994, and flags across Quebec remained at half-mast throughout the day. Dion placed a rose touchingly on the casket while being comforted by her eldest child. There was a small pillow holding the couple’s wedding bands. Rene’s eldest son Patrick from his first marriage, paid tribute to his father with a eulogy in French. ‘He never missed a chance to tell us he loved us. Now, more than ever, we realize how exceptional it was to have a father who never hesitated to say those so precious words,’ Then Rene Charles took to the podium with a supporting look from his superstar mother. ‘Fifteen years is not a long time to get to know your father. He had a busy life but we were getting to know each other through golf, poker, smoked meat and other wonderful food. Bonding more and more as time went by.’You left me now with enough good memories of you to share with my younger brothers. As they grow older without you being around, I’ll make sure to pass on what I’ve learned from you. You are a tough act to follow but with our help everything is going to be fine. Dad, I promise you here that we’re all going to live up to your standards. Je t’aime Papa.’

Rene had been married to Celine, 47, for 21 years, as well as serving as her manager since she was a teenager. Celine, 46, was almost 26 years his junior. The couple met when she was just 12-years-old when he became her manager, with Angélil mortgaging his home to help her make her first record. They had a secret affair that began seven years later but they didn’t go public for another five in fear of criticism over their age gap. They were married in a lavish wedding broadcast on Canadian TV in December 1994. At first her mother wouldn’t approve of the couple but eventually came to accept him as her son-in-law while Celine referred to him as ‘the only boyfriend I ever had’.


Our condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with Celine Dion and her family.

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