Priscilla Presley Vowed to Make Her Relationship With Elvis Work ‘No Matter What’ For Her Parents’ Sake 

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Elvis Presley, Vernon, Presley, and Priscilla Presley walk down a hallway together.

Celebrity

Priscilla Presley devastated her parents when she moved to Memphis to be with Elvis. Because of this, she promised herself she’d make the relationship work.

When Priscilla Presley was still in high school, Elvis asked her to move to Memphis to be closer to him. This was all she wanted, but her parents weren’t keen on the idea. Eventually, though, they agreed to let her move. Their apprehension and eventual acquiescence made Priscilla determined to make her relationship work. She felt she’d be letting her parents down otherwise. 

Priscilla Presley felt she’d be letting her parents down if her relationship with Elvis fell apart

When Priscilla first asked her mother if she could move to Memphis for Elvis, she got a resounding no in response. She continued to push for it, though, eventually bringing her mother to tears.

“Cilla, I’d never forgive myself if I let you go and if you came back to us with a broken heart,” her mother told Priscilla, per her book Elvis and Me. “You’re so young! You have no idea what lies ahead of you. All you know is you’re in love. Do you know how difficult that is to fight? … I wouldn’t wish this on any parent.” 

A black and white picture of Priscilla Presley holding an Elvis Presley record under her arm. She stands near a record player.
Priscilla Presley | Bettmann/Contributor via Getty

Eventually, though, her parents agreed to let her go. Elvis promised to enroll Priscilla in a good school. He also told them that Priscilla would be living with his father, Vernon, not at Graceland with him.

When her parents agreed to let her move to Memphis, Priscilla vowed to make her relationship with Elvis work. She didn’t want them to feel they’d made the wrong decision.

“I intended to do whatever I had to to hold him, because if he had ever sent me home, it would have meant not only that I’d been wrong in going to him, but that my parents had been wrong for having permitted it,” she wrote. “I firmly resolved to make our relationship work, no matter what.”

Priscilla Presley’s parents weren’t happy about her relationship with Elvis

Priscilla understood that it was not an easy decision for her parents. They didn’t know Elvis well, but everything they saw about him in the press made them wary of him.

“I knew how much my father was against the idea,” she wrote. “My parents still didn’t know Elvis’ intentions toward me. They only knew what I had told him. But they had also read in the newspapers that Elvis was dating every one of the female costars in his movies, so naturally they were suspicious.”

They also worried that Priscilla would never forgive them if they didn’t let her go. She felt that this was why they allowed her to move to Memphis.

She felt guilty when saying goodbye to her father

Elvis purchased two first-class tickets for Priscilla and her father. They flew from Germany to Los Angeles, where Elvis showed them around Hollywood, before leaving for Memphis. When it came time for her father to leave, Priscilla recognized the anguish on his face.

A black and white picture of Elvis and Priscilla Presley sitting on a plane together. They look at the camera from between two seats.
Elvis and Priscilla Presley | Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

“The concerned look on my father’s face moved me,” she wrote. “It was such a helpless look filled with doubts and fears about whether he was making the right decision. Only time would tell. He returned to Germany and I settled into my new routine.”

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