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Discussing the Death of Queen Mum

Aired April 9, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a million people turn out for a final farewell to Britain's beloved Queen Mum. She was the heart of the royal family. Can it survive without her? Joining us, Sir David Frost, award winning journalist and friend of the royal family; in London, Robert Lacy, best-selling royal biographer. His book "Monarch" will soon be in book stores in the United States.

Harold Brooks-Baker, the publishing director of "Burkes Peerage." And Hugo Vicars, best-selling royal biographer who knew the queen mother well. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

By the way, our dear friend Sir David Frost is in South Bend, Indiana tonight. He'll be interviewing Muhammad Ali tomorrow and you will be seeing that airing fairly soon. We'll start with him and then go round robin.

Why -- I don't mean to be rude here -- why all the fuss over a wonderful lady, who albeit was 101 years old, David?

SIR DAVID FROST, ROYAL FAMILY FRIEND: She was and that was one of the amazing things, although I think her sense of humor, her wit and her sense of humor are one of the things that endeared her to people.

There was that great event when she ran downstairs to two of her footmen and said, when you two old queens have stopped gossiping, will you bring this old queen a large gin and tonic? You know that sense of humor, self-mocking sense of humor was part of it. But also over the last ten days I came here to South Bend today, but over the last ten days we've seen a process that's taken the Brits by surprise as well, and the rest of the world, too, I think.

On the plane today I travel British Airways a lot, but today I was on United. There on an American airline at 11:30, the pilot introduced a two-minute silence for, as he put it, the queen mum affectionately, and everybody took part, predominantly American group. Everybody took part. So it is not just in England that this thing has caught on, but it has caught on more than any of us have ever expected.

There's a thing here, Larry, I don't know if you can see this but this is "The Independent." "The Independent" in London started about 15 years ago and one of its policies was try and never report the royal family at all in those days, and certainly not on the front page.

Different editors now and we have today a front page in "The Independent," the original founders would turn in their -- they are not in their graves -- turn in their beds: "Poll reveals big rise in support for the monarchy and 54 percent now say they want it left as it is now, 30 percent want it radically reformed but want to keep it; abolished altogether only 12 percent."

Any politician that came up with an approval figure overall of 84 percent would go absolutely berserk. They're happy with 40 percent in elections in this country. That's really taken off.

KING: Robert Lacey in London, how do you explain her particular affinity with the people?

ROBERT LACEY, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: Well, of course the classic explanation has to be Britain's finest hour that was also hers, back in the second World War when we stood alone even before our American friends came to help. And she embodied the spirit of the country, the little lady with the fur wrapped around her shoulders and the hat, which, of course, people laughed at but felt fond of as well picking her way through the rubble the very day after the bombs had struck just summed up what everybody was fighting for.

And she made, of course, the famous remark after Buckingham Palace was bombed, well, I'm glad we've been bombed. It means we can look the east end in the face. And certainly, someone who lived in a palace was no longer a person of privilege. They're actually living in a bigger target than everybody else. So I think that's a very important component of why people responded as they did today.

KING: Harold, of all the royals, we speak of all of them, the late Di, Charles, was she the best liked?

HAROLD BROOKS-BAKER, "BURKE'S PEERAGE": I think that she was closest to the hearts of people of all backgrounds and categories. She was instrumental the giving her husband George VI the strength to carry out his duties as king.

You remember that he could hardly speak when he first became king as far as the radio was concerned, wireless, as it was called in those days. He had a very difficult time reviewing troops. She was instrumental in convincing Franklin Roosevelt on that famous trip in 1938 to Washington and then to Hyde Park New York, to visit the president's country house, to listen to her husband, to listen to the plight of the English people as it was taking shape.

And after all, probably without the queen mother the relationship between Roosevelt and Churchill would not have been nearly as strong. President Roosevelt went out on a limb and granted ships and goods to the English through Churchill, of course, without permission of the United States Congress. It's quite possible that Roosevelt could have been impeached considering how right wing and Republican the Congress was in those days had they known what he was doing.

It is the queen mother who was behind all of these things. Something that people can't forget. All 45 counties in the commonwealth adore her. The 16 countries the queen is head of state in look to the queen mother for the approval, affection that she was always able to give. There is an extraordinary support. She absolutely saved the British monarchy in many ways. And I think that there is a case for saying that she saved the western world.

KING: That's extraordinary. Hugo Vicars, whose new book on Prince Philip's mother, Alice, Prince Andrew of Greece is now out in the United States, by the way. And Hugo, I know you knew her very well. And I know you commented today for ITN on the funeral. How would you describe today's funeral?

HUGO VICARS, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: Well, it was a most magnificent occasion. What happened was of course she died, at Royal lodge, and for the first few days it was all very private. Then it gradually became more public. And with the big profession on Friday, a whole generation in this country, perhaps even in the world, had never seen anything like that before; the incredible precision.

The comment was made that we may not be able to get our trains to run on time, but the military were able to get that procession to Westminster Hall absolutely on the dot. And the other most impressive thing of course were the huge queues for the lying in state. And anyone who saw it and I saw it certainly, were just so moved by the sight of the coffin in Westminster Hall.

And then today's funeral was the climax of it all, wonderful in Westminster Abby. Then after that it became very private again. And the queen and the royal family were just present at the internment at the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St. George's chapel. And after having shared their grief with the whole of the British public, indeed, the world, 47 countries watching, that was completely private. So it has been an extraordinary ten days really.

KING: Our guests are Sir David Frost, Robert Lacey, Harold Brooks-Baker and Hugo Vicars. Our subject is the queen mum and the British royal families. We'll be taking your phone calls as well. We'll be right back with everyone right after these words.



QUEEN ELIZABETH: Over the years I have met many people who have had to cope with family loss, sometimes in the most tragic of circumstances. So I count myself fortunate that my mother was blessed with a long and happy life. She had an infectious zest for living and this remained with her until the very end.


KING: Sir David, we know that that poll is interesting, but with her passing, is there a chance that she was so popular, that with her gone, there will be a movement to end royalty in Britain?

FROST: I think that's very unlikely, you know, Larry. I think by the way, you might think of having trumpets and trumpeters do your signature tune when have you a new one. It does sound tremendously impressive.

KING: Well, I am a King, so, why not?

FROST: Exactly. So you're entitled.

KING: And you're a sir.

FROST: Exactly. So I'm titled and you're entitled and the two of us are meant for each other. I think the fact that the figure that only 12 percent today are talking about getting rid of the monarchy makes it very unlikely.

I think this has shown again there was a tremendous surge back for the monarchy after Diana's funeral over the course of next year. I think you and I talked at that time and I was saying that I thought that basically the British public had adopted William and Harry as sort of honorary godparents to them, and therefore they would love them and their single father. That's what happened there with that tremendous growth of feeling for Prince Charles.

I think that the royal family have got William and Harry coming along. Almost anything they do, people are fascinated in. We'll have royal weddings, not by the ton but lots of royal weddings coming up from the younger members. I think it is set fair, the royal family; 54 percent don't want it to change at all. But I think they are smart enough at Buckingham Palace to change a few things as they go along, as they have already with the civil list and so on. Maybe a slightly -- I don't think a slimmed-down monarchy that people talk about, but maybe just slimmed down a bit. You know, but I think it is safe.

KING: Robert, what are your thoughts on the future of the monarchy?

LACEY: Well, I agree with David. And I also think in a curious way, the passing of the queen mother will make it easier to identify with notably the queen. The queen has, in a way, always, curiously for the last 50 years, had to share her stateliness with her mother, the queen mother with all her magnetic powers of popular attraction.

And suddenly, strangely now, in this year of golden jubilee, this seventy-five year old woman, 76 later this month, the queen, has only finally become matriarch of the royal and of the nation as a whole. And I think we have already seen in the streets the way in which people have been applauding the queen. This is obviously an expression of sympathy for her and people wanted to show their support, but it also shows I think how very clearly identified she is now and will be more than ever as the real head of our British community.

KING: Harold, are you going to continue to agree with our two friends, or are we going to be unanimous here or do you differ?

BROOKS-BAKER: I think it's a bit too early to tell, Larry. In my humble opinion, we're going to have to wait and see many things. First of all, will the young people in this country show a great interest in the monarchy as they do in the nine monarchies that still exist in continental Europe? I don't know. I would hope so and I think there's a very good chance.

Certainly this amazing funeral has touched the hearts of everyone, and the love that they had for the queen mother will not be forgotten. And it will be to a large extent translated to the other members of the royal family. We have to wait and see what they will do. The monarchy is not safe. Republicanism is still ready to knock on the door if this country faces economic catastrophe in the future, as it certainly will at some point or other.

I think that we have to have a great deal of faith in the queen and the prince of Wales who are much respected. The prince of Wales, as Sir David Frost said, or implied, is much more popular today than he was a few years ago. The shadow of the late princess of Wales is now pretty much past. And everyone sees the prince of Wales for what he is, a very loving person.

Every kind person attended this funeral. There were twice the number of reigning monarchs that we know were at the funeral of George VI, for example, the grandfather of the queen. And I think it is perfectly obvious that every kind of person, important and perfectly ordinary people attended this funeral whether it was by television or in person. And considering the fact that over 1 million people were here for the funeral, which is about the same number that George V had, I think that you know the monarchy is very much alive and that the majority of the people certainly are willing to give it the chance that it deserves.

KING: Hugo Vickers, you mentioned her popularity, but the question of will the young support a monarchy? did you see a lot of young people at the funeral and do you share the view of the others about the future of the monarchy?

VICARS: Well, I certainly share the view of David Frost and Robert Lacey, support entirely what they say. And yes, that was the most interesting thing was that in the streets watching the procession and in the queues for the lying in state, every kind of people. You couldn't say it was just one type. There were lots of youngsters, lots of little children who were taken in to see it.

I think they would have been very impressed by that. I know my own little son had the distinction last year of presenting flowers to the queen mum. He always got terribly excited to see her on television. It indoctrinated him. Everybody loved the queen mother and at the pageant for her 100th birthday, she really put old Britain back on its feet again. There were all those organizations that she supported, who worked for charities lined up waiting to march past.

Really it has to be said that the only windows in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) parade where people didn't have their noses pressed to the glass was 10 downing street. Everybody else was having a really good time. Old Britain was back in force in the last week.

KING: Laura Bush had visited and represented the United States. She said the queen mother was noble in every sense of the world, serving her family, her nation and the free world from the dark days of World War II through the dawn of a new millennium. We'll come back. Your phone calls will be included tonight. Peter Jennings tomorrow night and Conan O'Brien on Thursday. Don't go away.



PRINCE CHARLES: She was, quite simply, the most magical grandmother you could possibly have. And I was utterly devoted to her. Her departure has left an irreplaceable chasm in countless lives, but thank God we're all the richer for the sheer joy of her presence.


KING: A very saddened grandson, Prince Charles. Let's include some phone calls for our panel -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thank you for taking my call and providing this show. Sir David and Mr. Lacey, Prince Charles seems to be extremely devastated by the death of his grandmother. What do you think the long-term effects will be on him.

KING: Robert Lacey, want to go first this time and then Sir David?

LACEY: Obviously, it has been one of the most striking things in the last few days. We've just seen the extract there. Today at the funeral, it was clear the grief was etched all over Prince Charles' features. But I have to say that in the long term, I think as he said himself, he's going to draw strength from what has happened.

I actually see a very exciting new role for Prince Charles. The queen mother combined the sense of duty which is so important in the royal family, with this wonderful ability to get on with people. Now, those are qualities that are not often found in one person. And my own feeling is that in the future we're going to see the queen representing that dutiful side with Prince Charles as we've just seen, having the ability to communicate with people.

So my hope is that we're going to see a much closer partnership in the future between Prince Charles and his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

KING: Sir David, what would you add?

FROST: I would agree with what Robert said. I mean, I would expect rather like the last tragedy, the last funeral we're talking about, Princess Diana, I would have thought in the next day or two there may be a sense of letdown for Prince Charles after these great moments.

But he's emphasized the joy and he's great in bouncing back from things. And the joy that her life brought to people. And so he'll be back positive looking ahead in no time at all. The interesting thing there, which I was thinking earlier but Robert made the point about a partnership between the queen and Prince Charles. Obviously the fascinating thing is what sort of partnership. Shadow king? Someone wrote the other day.

Now, the queen, as we said, is 76 very shortly. Now, the question obviously is that if she was thinking as a mother, solely as a mother, then she might well hand the baton on to her son while he's in his 50s. That's what a mother would want to do. But as a monarch, she'll probably feel that her duty, for all we know about the abdication, that she should not pass that baton on. Very interesting example of duty versus motherhood.

KING: What an interesting point. Harold, you think she might turn it over?

BROOKS-BAKER: No, because, of course, the queen cannot abdicate since he was an anointed monarch and has pledged her word to god to remain on the throne as long as she lives. But what she can do is what Queen Victoria did and I believe this will happen, more and more duties will be turned over to the prince of wales; even the opening of parliament.

You'll see yes, very much, a kind of dual monarchy of the type you saw in Austria in the 19th century. It will probably work very well because the prince of Wales has the same ability to communicate with people that his grandmother had and the queen commands tremendous respect and sticks to her last. It should be a wonderful combination and, like Robert Lacey, I look forward to what is going to happen. It's a new era and I think a very exciting one indeed.

KING: Miami, Florida, Hello.

CALLER: I have a question for Robert Lacey. Was Charles's relationship with the queen mother, warmer, closer more loving than with his own mother? And if so, what was the basis for that?

KING: You can ask and then also Hugo. Robert?

LACEY: Well, I'll start and then I'm sure Hugo will have a lot to say about that. It goes right to the heart of what we've been seeing in these last few days. The queen mother was in many ways a surrogate mother for Prince Charles.

In the early years of the queen's reign and even in the final years of her father's reign when she was taking on his duties. She spent a lot of time away. It was the pretelevision age. The feeling was she had to physically go and show herself for long periods of time around her commonwealth. So she left Prince Charles at home in the care of his grandmother. And the pair became extremely close.

His earliest Christmases were often spent with his grandmother at Sandringham. And he's spoken often through his life of the great influence she had and particularly many things one can pick out, but one particularly would be his great love of the arts which he received from her. KING: And Hugo, what would you add?

VICARS: Well, yes, Harold spoke earlier about the great support that the queen mother gave to George VI. And in a sense that was a man who needed a lot of encouragement and a lot of moral strength. Well, the queen mother gave unflinchingly the same support to Prince Charles. She had a kind of old fashioned, aristocratic quality of loyalty to him that absolutely he could do no wrong.

He knew from her he would always receive praise and encouragement. Sadly he's gone on record as saying he didn't always enjoy the same sympathy with his own parents. I do think that somewhere along the line he seems to have, to some extent at any rate, had lost the confidence of his parents. He certainly never lost the confidence of the queen mother. So they had great fun together.

Yes, in his childhood, she was a great support to him. She was the only person who came out to Australia to visit him when he was out there for a year. Those sorts of things you don't forget. He was completely devoted to her.

KING: I forgot but Sir David, what was the queen mum's reaction to Princess Di's death?

FROST: I think she was shocked, as everybody was. I don't think they were close in the way that obviously grandmothers and grandsons and mothers and fathers are. But I mean, I think she was supportive of her and hit, as we all were, by the sheer sadness, the shocking sadness of it all.

KING: We'll take a break, come back, re-introduce our panel and take more phone calls. The queen mum buried today in great Britain. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We'll return with more phone calls, re-introduce the guests and continue and forge forth as we see what happens with the monarchy at the beginning of this millennium. Don't go away.


KING: Let's re-introduce our outstanding and I might add distinguished panel. In South Bend, Indiana, Sir David Frost. In London, Robert Lacey, the best selling biographer, and veteran royal watcher. In London, Harold Brooks-Baker, the publishing director of "Burke's Peerage." And also in London, Hugo Vickers, the best-selling author and veteran royal watcher, who commented on queen mother's funeral for the ITN today.

Another call. Bainbridge, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: I have a question. I've noticed that Prince William and Harry seem to be put in the front and center of all of these videos. And though the queen mother was their great-grandmother and I know they loved her, how can they really feel comfortable knowing how she and the rest of the royal family treated and disliked their own mother, the princess of Wales?

KING: That seems in conflict with what David just said. Do you want to comment, David?

FROST: That would be in conflict with what I said about the queen mother...

KING: That the queen mother sort of liked Diana.

FROST: That was my understanding, absolutely. Obviously there were within the royal families, there were real rivalries and hostilities during the life of Princess Diana, but not as far as I'm aware involving the queen mother.

KING: Robert, why were Harry and Charles so prominent at this. And does the caller have a point?

LACEY: No, I'm afraid the caller's been completely misled by the propaganda that Diana, princess of Wales put out in her later years. She was a master manipulator of the press. It became something of an obsession for her. And the idea that in some way, she was the victim of a wicked royal family comes out of a fairy tale, but is not the reality at all.

We could go into enormous depth on this, but to answer your question, Larry, the reason why and many people were moved by this at the funeral, the reason why the boys were so prominent is because they were acting very much as supports to their father in his grief. That when the news first came back, they were all on skiing holidays, that the princes with their father and Prince Charles was so distraught that the queen made a special exception to allow both Prince Charles and William and Harry, the next in line for the throne, all to fly in the same airplane, which is normally not allowed.

In the same way at the funeral, I'm sure Hugo would confirm this Prince Charles, instead of sitting by his father, Prince Philip in order of hierarchy actually sat sandwiched between the two boys. One had the wonderfully touching sight of William and Harry giving their father moral support.

KING: Hugo, did Princess Di tell false things about her relationship with the queen mum?

VICARS: Well, I'm afraid she did, yes. It's awful to have to go back over this particular saga because it was a very unhappy one and obviously this were some faults on both sides and also there were a lot of faults on behalf of the media which intruded into this relationship. When they found a few cracks here and there, they exploited them ruthlessly.

It's a very sad story. But the queen mother, of course, at the end of the day would always support Prince Charles. And if she had any reservations about Diana, princess of Wales, they were entirely that in her opinion she did not feel that Diana made Charles happy. And that's going back to what I said before, this unflinching loyalty that she had to him, that would be the line she auto would take. I noticed that occasionally there was a little asperity that appeared when the ladies in waiting who were rather sweet ladies on the whole, who looked after the queen mother, when the princess of wales was mentioned that there was just a tiny hint of bitterness sometimes crept into their tone.

KING: Harold, what are your thoughts on Princess Di and queen mum?

BROOKS-BAKER: Well, I think that they were two very much loved people. Driving here today, the taxi driver said to me, well, yes, the queen mother's support didn't surprise any of us in the part of London that I come from. We knew that she was popular. Just as popular as the late princess of Wales.

The difference is that all of the popularity of the queen mother helped the monarchy. This was not true, sadly, of the late princess of Wales. And I think that one must understand that tabloid press exaggerated and magnified every single problem that existed. And sometimes they went as far as telling nonsense. The idea, for example, that the prince of Wales was a bad father an unloving father was proved wrong almost immediately for everyone to see. And yet everyone who knew someone connected with the royal family was aware that he was probably an unbelievably loving father. Perhaps too indulgent but always there for them.

KING: As we recall, Sir David, after the death of Princess Di, you were one of the first and on this program to speak up for Prince Charles who was getting a lot of bad raps, as I remember.

FROST: You're absolutely right. He was, about a week after the -- just before the funeral, the stuff that was being written predicting the demise of Prince Charles and the end of the monarchy. And just after she died, I deliberately didn't want to do any television or talk about it, but about a week later I just felt that it was time to say this is nonsense about Charles, just as, for instance, we were hearing just then about Prince Charles as the loving father, not the way he was portrayed in Princess Diana's book or the one she collaborated on. And so absolutely I felt that. And in fact, I think at the time we predicted that things would turn around in his favor.

KING: Yes, you did.

FROST: And they did, and they did. And it was very important they did. But they definitely did. And those lies were put to bed.

KING: Back with more calls for our panel on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.




PRINCE CHARLES OF WALES: For me, she meant everything. And I had dreaded, dreaded this moment along with, I know, countless others. Somehow, I never thought it would come. She seemed gloriously unstoppable.


KING: Wow. Greenville, South Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry, and good evening to the gentlemen.

KING: Sure. Go ahead.

CALLER: I would like to ask the panel, anyone that would like to jump in, do they believe now that Prince Charles will be able to clear the way to actually marry officially, Mrs. Parker Bowles.

KING: Robert Lacey, what do you think?

LACEY: Well, I do, as a matter of fact. Yes. It is not correct to suggest that as we saw today with Camilla actually being at the funeral as a friend of the Queen Mother, it's not true to suggest that in some way that the Queen Mother disapproved of Charles and Camilla. But in some ways now, the way is clear for them to marry. And I myself, at the risk of being proved wrong, will predict it in the next year or so.

The crucial issue here, it seems to me, is whether people in Britain see Prince Charles as a future king, a future monarch. I think more than ever they do. They like him. And, therefore, the arrangements as to how his consort should be described and should appear with him will just have to be fitted around.

To give a comparison that may make sense to Americans, and I do apologize for our unwritten constitution which is so complicated with its links to the church, but at the coronation of the present queen in 1953, we saw her consort, her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, giving her homage. Well, in the same way, I myself think that Charles and Camilla will marry, but she will obviously not become Princess of Wales. People couldn't take that title, I don't think, nor will she become Queen. She'll become something like Duchess of Cornwall. When he was born, he became Duke of Cornwall. Indeed, heirs to the throne in Britain become Dukes of Cornwall before they become Princes of Wales. So, he'll marry. She'll be the Duchess of Cornwall.

KING: Does anyone on the panel disagree?

VICKERS: I disagree. Actually, Prince Charles on several occasions has stated that he has no intention of getting married and I take him at his word. I don't think that the state of matrimony made him particularly happy. I think he has got a little bit of the quality of the loner in him. And at the moment, although the most difficult part of it is that it's I suppose officially an irregular relationship. But besides that, she's there when he wants her. They're best friends. She's the one person that he likes to talk to best in the world. But if he wants to disappear into his study and put on the headphones and listen to some Wagner or whatever he chooses to, he can do that, which, of course isn't always terribly popular in married life. So I think he's got a very good deal at the moment.

KING: Dallas, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. I saw Sarah Ferguson enter alone at the service today on television. Was she permitted to sit with the family? What is the protocol?

KING: Sir David?

FROST: Well, I think you've got three of the world's greatest royal experts over there in London. I don't know what the collective noun is for a group of royal watchers. A tiara of...

KING: A tiara of experts? All right, Mr. Lacey...

FROST: A diadem. A diadem.

KING: Excellent, Sir David. Mr. Lacey, what is the answer?

LACEY: Well, the factual answer is that we, of course, we did see her and she was shown to a place in the choir (ph), actually, I think, among the politicians and not with the family. Perhaps I can just hand directly over to the other side of tiara, to Harold Brooks- Baker who is an expert on protocol at these things.


BAKER: OK, I think the world was touched by the little card and the flowers that Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, sent. It had not only the names of his children and, of course, his own name, but his ex-wife's name, Sarah. Sarah will, I think, be more and more integrated into the royal family as an ex, but much accepted royal. There are certain obstacles, but it has taken a long time. And I think they're almost home and dry.

The problem of Prince Charles and Mrs. Parker Bowles is a very different one, because even though some of his friends have said that they would consider marriage if it were possible, which it isn't, because the Church of England will not allow anyone who is divorced to be married. Mrs. Parker Bowles is, of course, divorced. Prince Charles was, but the death of the Princess of Wales nullified that situation. And you'll have to wait and see when and if the Church of England changes its rules before he can get married, to be head of the Church of England, as he will be one day and not being able to marry...

FROST: It makes no sense, though, really, to be talking about them being worried about him marrying. I mean, they may have a view on divorce, but why wouldn't they be in favor of marriage? In fact, I think some heads of the Church of England have indicated they would happily officiate. KING: We'll take a break and come back with our remaining moments with a question for Hugo when we come back on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We gather in this great abbey to mourn and to give thanks. It's a fitting place to do so, a place where the story of our nation and the story of the woman we now commend to her heavenly father are intertwined.



KING: Hugo Vickers, was there anyone either in country or out who did not show today that was expected?

VICKERS: I am not aware of anyone who declined an invitation to attend the funeral. It was very well attended. There were at least six kings and queens, Sultan of Brunei, the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. As you say, Mrs. Bush was there. It was a very, very large attendance. I think everybody really wanted to be there to do honor to the Queen Mother. It was a great privilege for anyone who was present in the abbey.

KING: How well, Sir David, did the prime minister get along with the Queen Mum?

FROST: I think very well. Not a lot is known, at least certainly not by me, about their relationship. But I think that he was genuinely admiring of her. And he came up with some very good simple phrases about -- it's very simple. She loved her country and her country loved her, a very simple summing up of the relationship. Their relationship was good, but I don't know the details of it.

KING: Robert Lacey, would you call her a great lady?

LACEY: Oh, without a doubt, yes. And this is not just to do with the fact that she lived for so long, but we've already paid tribute to the many, many qualities from her sense of humor to her sense of duty. She lived through two wars. In the second World War, she was really a major, national figurehead. She was the very embodiment of what Britain felt it was fighting for. And of course, after the abdication of 1936, in all sorts of ways, she was more than the glue that held the monarchy together, the absolute inspiration and we've seen that in all the tributes right down through the family in every generation.

KING: What, Harold, are Britishers going to look for now in these days ahead?

BAKER: I think they're going to look for a monarchy which is one that they can understand, one that they can relate to very much like the monarchies in Scandinavia and in Holland. You saw the Dutch wedding a few weeks ago, how enthusiastic young people were. I think that this funeral has given this new chance to this country. And when you see the pictures, the photographs of the vigil of the princes around the coffin of the late Queen Mother, it reminds one of the same type of photograph of George VI and his brothers around their father's coffin. And it is this kind of understanding of life and death that means a great deal to people of all ages.

But it's a new monarchy, it's a new era and it's a new chance. And I think they'll make the most of it. You saw what a great surge of interest there was in the Prince of Wales' sister, the Princess Royal marching in the parade, what a tremendous advancement for women's rights in the world this was. You saw that a 15-year-old boy marched in the parade for the first time at a royal funeral. There are all kinds of new things happening. These are the kinds of things the Queen Mother wished to see, and she must be, where she is today, very pleased indeed.

KING: Hugo, we're only about a minute left. With September 11 in mind, was there a high degree of security today?

VICKERS: There certainly was a high degree of security. And referring, of course, to September 11, I think everybody had a horrible autumn. We've had a cold winter. We in Britain have lost Princess Margaret and we've now lost the Queen Mother. What I think we hopefully will happen is that everybody will get together. And I understand there's a hot of enthusiasm to really give the queen a good time and celebrate the golden jubilee. I think that this country needs to have a little bit of fun. We feel a bit drained, to be quite honest, I mean, stimulated but drained at the same time. So let's hope that the golden jubilee is a huge success. I'm sure it will be.

KING: And, Sir David, we only have 20 seconds. Were you sorry you weren't there?

FROST: Well, I was there in spirit and I was obviously there in terms of the last 10 days and in terms of seeing it and reading it, reading about it. And everybody's message in looking at all the papers tomorrow, here in America was the same. It was a million people. It was so many more than anybody expected. What a surprise.

KING: Thank you all, Sir David Frost, Robert Lacey, Harold Brooks-Baker and Hugo Vickers on the day of the funeral of Queen Mum.

I'll come back and tell you what's ahead tomorrow night right after these words.


QUEEN ELIZABETH: I thank you for the support you are giving me and my family as we come to terms with her death and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she has left in our midst. I thank you also from my heart for the love you gave her during her life and the honor you now give her in death. May God bless you all.



KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, Peter Jennings will join us. On Thursday, Conan O'Brien. Aaron Brown has the night off tonight Judy Woodruff is going to sit in hosting "NEWSNIGHT." And I'm going to read the paper.




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