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Interview with Former British Prime Minister Theresa May; Interview with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley; Interview with Presidential Historian and Biographer Jon Meacham. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired December 29, 2022 - 13:00:00   ET



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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to "Amanpour". Tonight, we look back at a seismic event this year.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II. Here is what is coming up.

Reflections on her unprecedented and historic reign, 70 years on the British throne. And looking to the future, what next for the British

monarchy as the era King Charles III gets underway? The queen's legacy with two female leaders, the former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and from the

Commonwealth nation Barbados, Prime Minister Mia Mottley. Plus, Queen Elizabeth's close relationship with the United States. Historian Jon

Meacham looks at her special diplomatic role.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

As 2022 comes to a close, we remember one of the most significant events in terms of world history. That was the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's

longest serving monarch whose 70-year reign touched all corners of the world. She was also the subject of countless global cultural events,

movies, TV series, theatrical plays. She was a beacon of stability and duty for her own country. For seven decades, she sat on the throne through wars,

economic and political crises, a pandemic, and at times her own personal family struggles.

People around the world came together to mourn this extraordinary steadfast figure. A symbol of continuity far beyond Britain's borders. She was

sovereign to 15 Commonwealth countries and her death saw a historic period of mourning, as well as the accession of her son to the throne. He is King

Charles III now.

Here in the U.K., every Christmas Day, many families gather around their televisions to hear the monarch's message. It's a tradition that was forged

by Queen Elizabeth. Here is her first televised address in 1957 and her last in 2021.


QUEEN ELIZABETH II, FORMER QUEEN OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: It is inevitable that I should seem a rather remote figure to many of you. A successor to

the kings and queens of history. Someone whose face may be familiar in newspapers and films, but who never really touches your personal lives. But

now, at least for a few minutes, I welcome you to the piece of my own home.

Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. This year, especially, I understand why. But for me since in the months since the

death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work. From around the

country, the Commonwealth and the world.

His sense of service, intellectual curiosity, and capacity to squeeze one out of any situation were all irreplaceable. That mischievous inquiring

twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him. Good life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings. And

as much as I, and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas.


AMANPOUR: Just nine months later, Queen Elizabeth herself would be dead. This year, it was King Charles who delivered the traditional Christmas

broadcast to the nation. Well, few people truly got one on one time with the queen. For my first guest tonight, it was a weekly occurrence.

Theresa May was the 13th of her 15th prime ministers and the last one in office before the COVID pandemic. Meaning May got to spend many meaningful

in-person moments with the monarch during what's known as the weekly audience. The former prime minister joined me here in our London studio

with her reflections.


AMANPOUR: Prime Minister May, welcome to the program. Can I ask you just to reflect on your feelings and how you judged the mood of the nation since

the news of the queen's death up until now?

THERESA MAY, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, first of all, tremendous shock. I mean, this was a day that was always going to come, the day of her

death. But I think everybody in their heart of hearts hoped it never would. Because, of course, for so many of us, she has been the only monarch that

we've known.

She's been on the throne for all of my life, and that's the same for so many people. So, shock and then immense sadness at her passing. And I think

that -- I feel that immense sadness but I think the whole country does.


AMANPOUR: You were all in parliament when things started to get -- the news started to filter through. Can you take us through how you learned

about it, what was the mood as I saw notes were being passed. And the prime minister leader of the opposition, everybody left.

MAY: Yes, I mean, it was one of those moments that -- in fact, I think I was speaking at the point at which they were leaving the chamber. And when

I sat down, one of my colleagues said, I think this is something to do with the queen. And -- because it would have to be something momentous for both

the prime minister and the leader of the opposition to leave the chamber early in that way. And obviously I had seen people scurrying around.

So -- and then we didn't really hear much more the speaker made an announcement at Buckingham Palace, obviously, had said that I think at that

stage, her majesty was under medical supervision. And then obviously we all -- you know, many of us went back to our offices. Watch what the news was

saying at the time. That she was at Balmoral. But then gradually came clear the family had been asked to go up to Balmoral. And I think at that point,

most of us thought maybe this is it.

AMANPOUR: This is the moment. And you actually did something quite extraordinary because you -- you know, you took in the gravity, the

solemnity, the sadness of the day. But you actually also delivered a pretty funny anecdote that had parliament laughing. Tell me about that and why you

chose that anecdote at that time.

MAY: Well, it was -- when parliament came together the next day to pay tribute to her majesty, the -- there was absolutely very somber feeling in

parliament. Obviously, huge sadness. But I wanted to reflect not just the queen that most people had seen, but the queen that I've been able to see.

Because as prime minister, you have access through weekly audiences. But you also take -- have the opportunity to spend some time at Balmoral.

And of course, her late majesty really loves Scotland. She loved Balmoral. And she liked to relax there. And she liked her guests to relax. And that's

why I wanted to tell the story which also showed a down to earth queen.

AMANPOUR: And what was the story?

MAY: You want me to repeat the story?

AMANPOUR: Yes, because I don't -- I didn't -- I've been told about it.

MAY: All right. Well, it was one of the traditions at Balmoral is you go and have picnics and barbecues. And it was one of the picnics we were

having. It was in of the little boffice (ph) which is, sort of, little building, various little buildings on the estate. People walking around can

rest in and so forth.

But we've -- we're having the picnic there. And the hampers had come with all the food from the castle. And we were putting this out on the table.

And I picked some cheese up and I put it on a plate. I went -- put the plate on the table and the cheese fell on the floor. So, I had a split-

second decision to make. I put the cheese back on the plate and I put it on the table. And then I looked around and I realized that my every move had

been watched by her majesty, the queen. And I looked at her, and she looked at me, and she just smiled.

AMANPOUR: She approved.

MAY: And the cheese left -- was left on the table for people to eat.

AMANPOUR: Brilliant.

MAY: There we go.

AMANPOUR: The five second rule.

MAY: Five-second, that's right.

AMANPOUR: If it hits the ground, you get it back up in five seconds, it's OK.

MAY: But it showed, you know, she's very down to Earth.

AMANPOUR: And woman to woman, by the way.

MAY: Yes, yes.

AMANPOUR: You know, family, leader to family leader. So, let me ask you because I think a lot of people are fascinated by the concept of the weekly

audience. So much so that, as you know, a play has been made the audience of all her prime ministers and the imagination of the conversation. I know

you're not going to give us the conversations.

But what is it like? Do you go and talk about government substance? Do you talk about the breaking news on what might be happening that day? Is it

just personal? What is the point of these audiences?

MAY: Well, it ranges across a whole variety of issues. It is absolutely incredible. Because the first time you go as prime minister, certainly for

me, it was a sense of trepidation. I wasn't quite sure how it was going to pan out what was going to happen.

It is a conversation. It's a conversation between the head of state and the head of government. But it's a conversation between two people. And it is

about to the issues of the day. Not just in the U.K. but perhaps in the world issues. Her majesty is very well informed -- was very well informed.

The key thing was that I think many people didn't realize, like government minister, she had a red box every day with government papers and other

papers in that. And she would read through that. So, she knew and understood what was going on and had immense experience. I was our 13th

prime minister.

So, you know, by the time I was there, she had seen prime ministers come and go. She had seen issues come and go. She knew a lot of the world

leaders I was dealing with, and in some cases, she knew their father's. So, she had this immense experience and wisdom. So, it was a conversation

between -- and a very calm conversation. A moment of reflection for prime ministers in a -- the hurly burly of politics.


AMANPOUR: I heard her say in a quote that's been played since her death, that she felt that she was able to give a prime minister a, sort of, a

neutral shoulder. An objective ear. They, you knew that whatever was said that room would not go any further than that. And I think you've said it

was the only conversation I knew that would never be leaked to the press. What -- that was a, sort of, a security blanket, right, for both of you?

MAY: Well, in a sense, yes. I mean, it was absolutely -- we both knew that there was no way in which what you said to each other was going to go

outside the room. And that was hugely important because did enable that more relaxed conversation to take place.

And it was because the monarchy is above politics. It has nothing to do with politics. Therefor the monarchy is seeing issues from a slightly

different angle. In a slightly different reflection. And that's very helpful to a prime minister.

AMANPOUR: So, at this point, I'm going to then play something that King Charles IIII now has said almost from the get-go and he keeps repeating it

that he will also abide by this constitutional prerogative where they do not step into politics. Let's just listen.

KING CHARLES III, KING OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: My life will, of course, change as I take up my new responsibilities. It will no longer be possible

for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues to which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the

trusted hands of others.

AMANPOUR: I find that so interesting. Because of all the royals he did step out, didn't he? He really did step out on many issues that are now

fundamental to the British people and people around the world, whether it's climate, whether it's organic, whether it's urban planning, all sorts of

issues. And yet he knows that it will be, maybe his son, an heir, maybe others will take up that.

And the queen, herself, in her last interview -- not really an interview, but sort of an interview with Sir David Attenborough about the treason in

Buckingham Palace. She took care to talk about things in a nonpolitical way. How does -- were you impressed by the way they all thread that needle?

MAY: Absolutely. And I think it's something that as his majesty has said, he role -- he recognizes his role is now different. And it crucially -- you

know, what is an absolute fundamental of the British constitution? And in constitution situation is that when one monarch dies, immediately the next

monarch comes to the throne, and there is that continuity. But also, obviously, his majesty made clear in that that he recognizes that the role

he now has is different from the slightly greater freedoms that he had when he was Prince of Wales.

But you're right, he took up some critical issues on the environment and climate, actually. He was very much taking up issues that his late father,

Prince Philip, took up at a time when nobody really thought of this as an issue.

AMANPOUR: And he also -- there was a famous spider memos, or whatever they're called, you know, because of a spider-like scrolls. And, yes, I

mean, it is interesting. He was quite interventionist. It probably will be less natural than for the queen for him to back off.

MAY: Well, no, I don't think so. I think you must always remember that King Charles is his mother's son. He has spent many years watching her on

the throne and how she handled and dealt with the issues and held, you know, held herself on how she gained the respect around the world. And I

think he recognizes that. And he knows that.

And if I may just say, you use the word interventionist. I don't think that's quite the right word to use. I think as Prince of Wales, he took

various causes in hand and worked on those. And there were causes that people perhaps don't talk about so much, such as The Prince's Trust, which

did enormous work over many years with young people were perhaps disadvantaged.

I met somebody who have been in prison who have been given an opportunity by The Prince's Trust. He has a -- he has what his mother had which is a

deep interest in people.

AMANPOUR: And to thwart, I remember being at an event where, you know, under the auspices of the prince's trust, he hosted a welcome event for

Syrian refugees. And put his, you know, put his support behind welcoming them here, which was pretty profound, given the politics of the moment here

and elsewhere.

The king is also, today, traveling. We've seen him in Scotland, where he not only paid tribute at St. Giles' Cathedral and did all the ceremonial.

But he also had an audience with the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, he's been in the parliament there. I think the queen is the first to address the

newly independent Scottish parliament. He's in Northern Ireland where he'll do similar things, as well as receiving condolences.


The queen herself, again, the person of the queen was able to be so loved and respected, even as these constituent nations of the kingdom were

getting increased evolution. Do you think they'll rally behind the king? Do you think that that would change in any way, because a lot of people are

talking about greater independence for the nations of the kingdom?

MAY: Well, I think what we have seen in the outpouring of grief and the desire of people to not just actually recognize and show their respects to

her late majesty, but also the spontaneous singing of God save the king that we've seen around the country. I think the country is running behind.

Because it is this crucial element of our constitutional structure is that the new monarch takes over immediately, the previous monarch dies. So,

there is an absolute threat of continuity, and I think people recognize that.

And it's absolutely right that the king was in Scotland yesterday. He is in Northern Ireland. He's going to Wales as well. And it's -- this is a sort

of -- if you're like, historic thing about the king showing himself to his people across the land. And that's exactly what he's doing. But I think

everybody will be reassured by the continuity that he provides.

AMANPOUR: And I think it's seared and everybody's memory, the queen making for us that historic trip to the Republic of Ireland. And then later going

to Northern Ireland. Not only that, shaking hands with Martin McGuinness, who as everyone knows, became a peacemaker but was previously in the IRA.

And yet, she really went over there with a big smile, the green outfit, and the Northern Irish politicians talk about how she was a bridge, how she was

a peacemaker, and how she worked for reconciliation. Talk a little bit about that aspect of what a monarch can do in such fraught times.

MAY: Yes, well, the monarch is, I think there'd be various references to her late majesty as, you know, the best diplomat the country had. I mean,

it has a tremendous power, the monarchy. And it was -- the visit to the Republic of Ireland was hugely important because it was that coming

together of the two countries. And at a time, I was, you know, I'm old enough to have been brought up around the troubles in Northern Ireland. And

huge concern about when it would be possible to have peace and to see this reconciliation.

And her majesty did play a part in that, that visit to the Republic of Ireland was hugely important. But also, shaking hands with Martin

McGuinness. I think what her majesty did and what his majesty will do is recognize those moments when it is in the monarch's ability to actually

help people move on.

AMANPOUR: I would be remiss not to talk about what it's like to be a woman at the pinnacle of power. You were her second female prime minister. And

we're so used to seeing pictures of the queen, whether it's with Commonwealth, heads of state, which were all men, or whether at G7s, G20s,

whatever it might be, she's often one of the only women, certainly the beginning of the only woman, probably. Did that inspire you? The fact that

she was at the pinnacle of power as a woman and often alone?

MAY: Well, I think it's -- you're right, she was often alone, and particularly in the early days, if you think about it. When she came to the

throne in 1952, it was certainly not the case that women were expected to be leaders. The husband was expected to be the dominant partner in a

marriage. And women were expected to take subsidiary roles.

And yet, at that young age, she was able to forge that vision of a woman as a leader. Helped, of course, by the late Prince Philip, who was very

talented, could have had an amazing career in all sorts of areas, but chose to support her, and was always one or two steps behind.

But she was able to show that strength of leadership that I think has been hugely important to women in the U.K. I have been asked -- I was asked

awhile back why I thought it was that the U.K. have been able to have two female prime ministers, and now, of course, our third. And, of course, the

United States hasn't had a female president yet. And I said, well maybe it is because in the U.K., people have been used to seeing a woman in that

leadership position. And her majesty was that example.

And so, people did not have a concern about a woman becoming prime minister in that leadership role because they have seen it in a woman in a very

seemingly leadership role.

AMANPOUR: And finally, this -- her death and the transition of royal succession takes place at a time when the country's in quite deep crisis.

Around the world, people are feeling economic pain, there's inflation, there's strikes, and this and that.


How do you feel the people of this country who many of whom are in deep crisis will understand and maybe get some respite in this tradition?

MAY: Of course, there are many people who are finding of very difficult at the moment, what I think we see from the reaction, the way people have come

together in response to the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the successor of King Charles III is precisely that unity, that coming together as a

country, that feeling that we are all one. It was like we are all one in our grief and we are all one in our support for our king.

AMANPOUR: Prime minister Theresa May, thank you very much indeed.

MAY: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: Of course, those weekly audiences are now taking place between a new monarch and a new prime minister. King Charles and Rishi Sunak. The

queen's death sparked tributes from all over the world, including from countries that deliberately moved away from the monarchy. Barbados and the

Caribbean become the world's newest republic when it voted to remove the queen as its head of state last year. And as Queen Elizabeth lay state in

Westminster Hall, just before she flew into attend the state funeral, Prime Minister Mia Mottley joined me from Washington D.C. with her reflections.


AMANPOUR: Mia Mottley, welcome back to our program. Let me just ask you fist to tell me what the queen meant to you and how you have felt in this

last week since she has passed.

MIA MOTTLEY, BARBADOS PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think -- thank you, first of all, Christiane, for having me. And let me use this opportunity to extend

our deepest sympathy to the people and government of the United Kingdom, and in particular to King Charles and his family, publicly again.

As you asked, the queen, for us, remained one of the major global figures of the last century. And we believe that, particularly for women, she was

able to comport herself in a way that brought dignity to all that she did and grace to all of that she did. And we see those things as important.

Over the last -- in fact, I think my first interview with you was talking about the need for global, moral strategic leadership because we don't

believe that leadership is found only in heads of government. But we believe that wherever it is found we have an example to share to the 7.5

billion people on this Earth.

AMANPOUR: Prime Minister, you also said that her reign spanned this era of empire to post independence. Your country is one of them that is taking its

independence, remaining in the Commonwealth, nonetheless, with an -- as an independent republic. What is her legacy?

MOTTLEY: I think she's had a strong legacy for the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth has been that group of countries, most of us were originally

British colonies, but not all. In fact, recently Togo joined Gabon. And as you know, they -- the last Commonwealth heads of government meeting was in

Rwanda. And her majesty was able to ensure that this large group of countries could still come together, irrespective of the different

histories, cultures, forms of governance.

And, indeed, if you look at it, there are only 14 countries that are still part of the realm that are in the Commonwealth is, by far, the minority.

The majority of countries in the Commonwealth are in fact republics. And as I just said, some of them are not even former British colonies.

But she was able to allow her leadership to create that spirit of tolerance and that spirit of allowing us to embrace the best values for us to go

forward and being able to transition into modern, progressive countries. There's no doubt that we were all scarred in our colonial history.

But while we go forward, we must always remember that we don't forget, that we have to work best together to make sure that we can use the bridges to

each other and that spirit of tolerance to drive investment, to drive the best values, to create a minimum for our people. And to share best

practices with each other in circumstances where we don't have the resources to do it all on our own. And she gave credibility to that

leadership for that body, for the majority over the last few decades.

AMANPOUR: I just want to play a little snippet of what Baroness Patricia Scotland told me a couple of days ago. She -- as of course you know, is the

secretary-general of the Commonwealth Organization. This is what she told me about the queen's particular role in the regard that you've just been


PATRICIA SCOTLAND, SECRETARY-GENERAL, COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS: It was right back in 1953, shortly after this new concept of Commonwealth have

been created that the queen said, this has got nothing to do with empire. She said, this is a totally new conception built on the finest qualities of

man, peace, harmony.


And this was going to be a partnership between nation and races.

AMANPOUR: So, Prime Minister, do you think --

MOTTLEY: Absolutely.

AMANPOUR: -- that the queen and time has lived up to that promise?

MOTTLEY: I think largely so. I mean, I think that when you recognize what the Commonwealth has meant for most of us in terms of creating those

opportunities to supplement what we cannot do at the national level and to allow us to do so across oceans, across races, and across cultural

diversity is a tremendous achievement. And it constitutes what, a third of the world's population? How many other bodies do we have outside of the

United Nations that cuts across as diverse a group of people and cross developed and developing countries.

And I think that the queen's ability to anchor the Commonwealth has been tremendous. And that's why Barbados, in spite of becoming a republic, has

said that we will continue to play a strong role in the Commonwealth of Nations because we believe in it.

AMANPOUR: So, this is, you know, gathering quite a lot of steam now, certainly in the Caribbean region. We've already heard from the Prime

Minister of Antigua and Barbuda that they're going to have a referendum.

But what I'm fascinated by, the Antiguan prime minister said, this is not an act of hostility but a final step to complete the circle of

independents. Explain that because I think -- as I was told by Baroness Scotland, a lot of people are confusing remaining in the Commonwealth to

remaining with the queen as head of state. The two are not --


AMANPOUR: -- necessarily the same.

MOTTLEY: Exactly. I think what we have to understand first and foremost, and I put it as bluntly as this. You would not contemplate that the

president of the United States of America would be a Brazilian that had no nationality relationship to United States of America.

Countries must have the freedom to establish their own head of state. And for their kids to be able to believe that they can grow up and aspire to be

that head of state. And that is the final link of decolonization that we believed to be critical. The one that we took before it was to delink from

the judicial community of period (ph) council and to make the Caribbean Court of Justice our final court of appeal.

These are all acts that we do to complete the circle of independence. But our determination to serve in the Commonwealth is not as a nation that is

still colonized in any way, but as a community of sovereign nations, agreeing to cooperate with each other in the same way that we do in the

United Nations.

AMANPOUR: Prime Minister, about King Charles III, you have called him a man ahead of time, particularly on the environment. So, you are in

Washington trying to deal with some kind of mitigation for your country, and presumably others around you in the Caribbean.

The latest IPCC, the intergovernmental, you know, panel on climate change of the U.N. has basically talked about and it's completely, you know,

important to use, citing colonialism as having exacerbated the vulnerability of formerly colonized people. That's the report describing

what it is.

For instance, you know, all the resources, Britain for instance, became so powerful on the industrial revolution and all sorts of resources taken and

plundered from the Commonwealth. And yet, now you're paying an inordinate price for it, and have virtually no carbon footprint. How do you reconcile

with that and go forward on this issue?

MOTTLEY: Well, that's why you've heard me say that regrettably the industrial revolution was fueled by our blood, sweat, and tears in the

Caribbean and other regions. And regrettably, that same industrial revolution now has caused a stock of greenhouse gases to be so depleted in

a way that we are now equally again paying the price. And it's a form of double jeopardy for us.

And I really do hope that we can get the message across, not just to governments, but to ordinary citizens. Because governments will move when

ordinary citizens say, enough is enough. And we saw this with the George Floyd murder and the Black Lives Matter, with people all over the world

expressing their disgust about the manner in which persons were being treated in a denigrating way as a form of racism.

And we say today, you can't have the 20 countries producing 80 percent of the greenhouse gases. And don't be deflected in believing that China and

India are at the front end of it. Because while they're contributing to the current flow, the major problem has been as a result of the stock coming

from the industrial revolution. And that's what that report is really saying to you.


So, when we call for climate justice. When we call for adaptation funds to be put there so that we can adapt to a new reality. Because whether we like

it or not, even if we don't reach 1.5, this summer has shown from heat waves to the floods to the fires to the storms that are in the region, even

as we speak now, that we are already being negatively affected in ways that regrettably cannot be easily reversed.

And secondly, when we call for reparations, we don't call for it as emotional argument. When the slaves were emancipated in 1834, the British

parliament gave the slaves 20 million pounds. And in 1838, between 1834 and 1838, they got the benefit of another 25 million pounds and free labor and

that apprenticeship system. When we speak about Haiti and France, we speak about it from the point of view that there was an extraction of customs

duties for more than a century.

And these are issues that have depleted our capacity to bring ordinary development as expressed in the sustainable development goals to our

people. But it has also crowded up the space that we need in order to do the infrastructural and other development in order to protect our people

from the worst excesses of the climate crisis.

And the current new prime minister here, Liz Truss, has already put into office a man, as you probably know his name, Jacob Rees-Mogg as minister of

energy. And he is very, very skeptical about governments need to even address climate action. So -- I mean, do you see --


AMANPOUR: --- any hope if it's even -- go ahead.

MOTTLEY: The reality is that King Charles himself -- and I invite you, Christiane, to go back to his Commonwealth heads of government speech. It

was perhaps one of the most brilliant speeches I've heard at a Commonwealth conference opening.

And King Charles said then that as he reflected on what was happening in Canada with the indigenous Indians there, and we saw Pope Francis go there

at the end of July. That he could not help but reflect on the whole institution of slavery and the call for reparations. And King Charles said

then, and I noticed that the British press has not picked it up yet in spite of three months having on instead that this was a conversation whose

time has come.

Now, you've correctly said that he has no relationship to the executive in terms of those decisions, and therefore, policy decisions and financial

decisions are not his. But in a world where global, moral strategic leadership matters, I think that he can play that role.

It is significant to me that one of his last public acts before acceding to the crown -- to the throne, would have been the editing of "The Voice"

newspaper in London which, as you know, is a leading black newspaper and was celebrating its 40th anniversary. And they had enough confidence in his

leadership to invite him to edit that paper. And he asked me to do a piece, which I did with him, and this came out -- what, the beginning of


So, that I pray and hope that that channel that he has chartered, certainly in the course of the last year, where I've heard him directly in Barbados

speak to the horrific nature of the institution of slavery. Two, speak to the fact that this is an institution whose time has -- conversation, sorry,

whose time has come at the middle of June. And now again with the editing of "The Voice" newspaper.

Those three acts in less than 12 months tell me that this is a gentleman who is prepared to build on a strong, moral foundation for us to have

equity. And that we can begin to have the conversations and the substantive, I hope, benefits to reverse centuries of colonialism that have

reinforced underdevelopment. And it is further being compromised, you know, as we said by the climate crisis which makes it difficult for us to do the

right thing.

AMANPOUR: Thank you so much for your insight and reflections.

MOTTLEY: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And pointing out such important issues. Prime minister Mia Mottley, thank you.


AMANPOUR: One measure of the extraordinary length of the queen's reign, she met a dozen sitting said the U.S. president as monarch, stretching from

the 1950s through to last year. Queen Elizabeth was, of course, Britain's top diplomat, and few have played a crucial role in safeguarding the

special relationship with the United States. Royal correspondent Max Foster takes us through the transatlantic relationship and the queen's place in

that history.


MAX FOSTER, CNN SENIOR ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The special relationship, or dozen special of relationships.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, to her majesty, the queen.

FOSTER (voiceover): Queen Elizabeth met every sitting U.S. president during her reign, except for Lyndon B. Johnson. She also met president

Harry Truman in 1951, when she was still a princess. Joe Biden was the 12th and last president to have the honor during her reign, and the first she

would meet without her husband, Prince Philip by her side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were welcomed on the white house by first lady, at the beginning of a memorable visit to the


FOSTER (voiceover): Starting with Dwight Eisenhower in 1957, Britain's monarch saw her fair share of administrative change, and the conversation

unbearably remained private.

PRINCE EDWARD, EARL OF WESSEX: People really do respect the fact that this is a genuinely private, off the record conversations. So, they really can

talk about things and get to the heart of things in a very genuine fashion, because they know it's going to come out.

FOSTER (on camera): Did she ever lip-slipped to you in any way?

PRINCE EDWARD: Goodness gracious, of course not.

FOSTER: Maybe on Sunday lunch?

PRINCE EDWARD: Of course not.

FOSTER (voiceover): Well-known for their shared love of horses, Elizabeth took President Ronald Reagan horseback riding in Windsor in 1982.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was not expected to happen. So --

FOSTER (voiceover): His successor, President George H. W. Bush brought the queen to her first baseball game at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore during a

state visit 1991. Both Reagan and Bush were later given honorary knighthood's, the U.K.'s highest distinction.

REAGAN: I feel greatly honored.

FOSTER (voiceover): In her later years, the queen stopped traveling abroad. Instead, leaders came to her. And when they did, the royal family

rolled out the red carpet in a regal display of British soft power. President George W. Bush was the first U.S. president to pay an official

state visit in 2003, and Bush was also the last to host the queen at the White House in 2007.

Pomp and pageantry did at times provide awkward moments, however, evident when President Trump visited in 2018. He also revealed the topic of the

conversation, Brexit, which raised eyebrows, too. His predecessor, President Barack Obama, also committed a faux pas by speaking over the

national anthem.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: For the vitality of the special relationship between our peoples --

FOSTER (voiceover): Yet these meetings have been assigned of the long- standing diplomatic friendship between the U.S. and the U.K. through which the world's longest reigning monarch played a major role.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: To the continued friendship between our two nations, and to the health, prosperity, and happiness of the people of the United



AMANPOUR: As we saw there, the queen clearly developed a close relationship with many U.S. leaders. and following the assassination of

President John F. Kennedy, she shared this wonderful tribute.


QUEEN ELIZABETH II: This acre of English soil is now bequeathed in perpetuity to the American people in memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who

in death my people still mourn, and whom in life they loved and admired.


AMANPOUR: And the renowned historian Jon Meacham now takes a closer look with Walter Isaacson.


WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Christiane. And Jon Meacham, welcome back to the show.


ISAACSON: You know, her majesty, the queen, embodied so many virtues of leadership. You have written about leaderships American presidents, what

are those virtues that she embodied that we would look for in our leaders that aren't getting today?

MEACHAM: Well, you know, it's an interesting comparative question and comparative politics because in the British constitution, as you well know,

there are two parts. There is what's called the efficient part, which is the prime minister in parliament and the mechanics of government. And then

there is the dignified part.

And in Great Britain, the United Kingdom, they assigned the dignified role to the monarch. The monarch embodies the state. Perennial values that are

supposed to be somewhat impervious to the passions of a political moment. The United States, of course, we combine the two. And that has many

virtues, but it also has some vices (ph). Because the head of state, who is supposed to be a reflexively unifying figure, inevitably becomes also a

polarizing one because the head of state is also the head of government.

What I think Elizabeth II did for 70 years is embody these perennial virtues, restraint, grace, dignity itself. A -- an insistence that the

overall project, the overall national project outweighed any political considerations of the moment that we could struggle, we could argue as we

are supposed to do in a constitutional, republic, or democracy, or system. But there were things that we should agree on together. The rules of the

road. The ins of civil society, even if we I disagree on the means.


And Elizabeth II, in that reign, in a remarkable way, to use a cliche, managed to thread that needle, I think, with a remarkable skill. We'll also

be able to judge how well she did it because we're about to see whether her son can continue that.

ISAACSON: How did Downing Street occasionally use the British monarch, and in particular, Elizabeth II, as sort of a tool in their tool box of


MEACHAM: Yes, tool box is one way or another way putting it is she was the A bomb of soft power, right? Right? So, American presidents for instance,

loved being with the queen. Our friend., Kati Keyes (ph), made the point this week that, you know, these big swaggering men who have won the

presidency of the United States and have nuclear arms, and hold the most powerful office in the world, they go meet this old woman and go all gooey.

I think for -- there were a couple of reasons for that. Where you put Downing Street wanted to do at various points was use the magic of the

monarchy to advance British interest. Often, I imagine, because these conversations are private, but from what we can tell it was very, very


If you read the queen's speeches at various banquet, state dinners, or with American presidents, they are very much in the old Churchillian mode, of

the transatlantic alliance is essential. That are tied together by, to phrase of Churchill's, ties of blood and history. And it has mattered to

Britain since the 1930s, 1940s, that they remain very close to the United States.

Harold McMillon once said, of the British, we are the Greeks in the new roman empire. They saw their potential ongoing role as being an

interpreter, a guide, a mentor to use of -- to limit this image. A mentor to this unruly, bumptious, new global power.

ISAACSON: You know, those ties were symbolized in many ways when her majesty decided to play "The Star-Spangled Banner" right after 9/11. It

seemed like a signal that, OK. We stand with you. It had not been done before.

MEACHAM: No, and it was --

ISAACSON: I mean, that's our "Star-Spangled Banner", by the way, it was a song about crushing the British.

MEACHAM: Right, right. In Baltimore. You know, when we were in New York, we were parishioners in Saint Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue, Anglo-

Episcopal, Anglo-Catholic Parish on Fifth Avenue, everybody would step in when they're walking down Fifth Avenue, it's a beautiful church. That was

where the British community in New York had the memorial service after September 11th.

And her majesty sent a letter via the ambassador in which she used a phrase that she later used at the death of her husband, Prince Philip, in which

she said, grief is the price we pay for love. And I remember sitting in the nave of that church, and you remember well, how New York felt in September

of 2001. Dust, death, resilience, yes, but a stillness to the city.

And it was a remarkable phrase. And it -- in many ways, almost more than a scripture in the "Book of Common Prayer" in that moment captured something.

And I think that -- to me, the interesting thing is that came from an incredibly well-read, astute, if I may, wise woman whose life experience

have been formed in the blitz.

Her first address to the nation was during children's hour on BBC on October of 1940. One of the 57 days where the Luftwaffe was attacking

civilians in England. And you think of that, which was at, 14 years old, and addressing the children of Britain in an hour of mortal danger for

democracy. And so, I think, it was just -- to say the least, an unusual life experience that Downing Street understood and would use when they

needed to soften up the Americans, the queen was always there.

ISAACSON: Even as a princess, you say, she gave that address during children's hour. And as a young princess, she comes to America and arrived

in a convertible with Harry Truman. And it just seems so, in Congress to me, looking at those pictures, as Harry Truman marries a populist

haberdasher, you know, from Missouri. And yet, as you say, American presidents melt in the presence of royalty. Almost defying the fact that

our nation was born by overthrowing the crown.



ISAACSON: Why is it, from Harry Truman, her first president, to Joe Biden, her last, neither one of which would seem to be royal-less or aristocrat

lovers, American presidents love this.

MEACHAM: I think it -- my own guess is there are two reasons. One is presidents are almost innately interested in history. And Elizabeth, even

as a princess, was an embodiment of history. She embodied the state. That was her job. You know, that's what the coronation is about. She became one

of the divines human agents, and embodied a nation.

And so, they were fascinated by it. I also think they probably envied, to some extent, someone who could be in the public arena and not yet kicked

around all the time. So, it was interesting to them. And then as time went on, of course, the idea that you were talking to a woman whose first prime

minister then Winston Churchill -- I mean, can you imagine, you know, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and George H. W. Bush, you know they --

Barack Obama, you know, they understood the power of history and they saw her as a figure of it.

ISAACSON: You have the magisterial book on George H. W. Bush. And I always got the impression that he was the one that understood and would appreciate

the monarchy the best, including Elizabeth II.

MEACHAM: I think that's right. He -- in his diary, he -- the first time they met as -- when he was in the White House, it was his first trip to

NATO in 1989. And he actually wrote -- he said, he talked to the tape recorder, he said, it went well. You're never sure how informal to be, but

she was so gracious it worked out. And here's someone who, in his own way, came from the highest breaches of American society and loved taking her --

he took her down to Memorial Park before Camden Yards in Baltimore. It is, sort of, a sweet story. But --

ISAACSON: Wait, wait. Tell us that story about going to the Baltimore Orioles game.

MEACHAM: Oh, he took her to the Orioles game. And Bush -- all the Bushes, of course, loved baseball. His uncle, Herbie Walker, and the Mets, and one

of the things George H. W. Bush, speaking of soft power -- which is another thing that he might have understood, is when he was the U.N. ambassador

under President Nixon, he would take world leaders, ambassadors, to go down to Greenwich, to his power as house, and he would take them to the Mets

game because he had access to the owners' box. Uncle Herbie was able to arrange all that.

So, baseball was a metaphor to him. So, they go out to Baltimore, it did not go particularly well. She stayed three innings, I think, they had set

up plexiglass which made it stiflingly hot in the stadium. He also took Mubarak (ph), it was a trick of George W. Bush's. But it's something that

the queen might have done, right?

And as you know, as well as I do, leadership, diplomacy. Yes, it's about impersonal forces. Yes, it's about national interest. Yes, it's about the

great stories of nations and economies. But there is also a role for personal diplomacy.

ISAACSON: I'm old enough to have covered Ronald Reagan when we were both in the era of news magazines. And I remember both Diana Walker's wonderful

picture of, you know, Reagan laughing uproariously as the queen reads a speech. But also of them riding horses together. There seemed to be, when -

- you know, we watched at the ranch, of the Reagan Ranch or at the state dinners. There was a certain ease there that, I think, helped Anglo-

American relations.

MEACHAM: It did, and horses matter. You know, her -- one of her most significant American relationships was with the Farish family from

Kentucky. I think --

ISAACSON: And that he was an ambassador to England from the United States, right?

MEACHAM: Right. And I think I'm right that the only private house she would stay in in the United States was the Farish's. So -- and as ever, you

know, there was a great line, C.S. Lewis once defined friendship as we picture lover's face to face, but friends' side-by-side. Their eyes look



So, you think of people fishing together, or riding horses together, or sitting at a baseball game together, there's a common interest that shapes

friendships. And in this case, at the highest levels of state craft, I think, the Reagan obsession with horses certainly eased that. In President

Bush's case, the senior President Bush, it was also great for him to spend time with the queen because he found -- how do I put this diplomatically?

He found Margaret Thatcher to be somewhat difficult.

Mrs. Thatcher was always, as President Bush would put, she was always lecturing us about freedom. Like we need to hear lectures about freedom.

So, they would go from being, sort of, Mrs. Thatcher, pounding away, and then they'd go see the queen and it was a -- somewhat of a relief, I think.

ISAACSON: You know, with President Obama, he was criticized by those on the right, and some others as somehow being anti-British, that some

colonialist mentality that he had that he had moved one of Churchill's busts out of the Oval Office or something like that. And yet, he very much

-- perhaps, because he wants to show that this is an unfair wrap, seems to have a bonding with Elizabeth II. Very much dresses up in the full regalia

of white tie and tails, with an American flag pinned on his lapel. And tries -- was that part of the concept of what Obama was trying to do when

he forged the relationship with Elizabeth II?

MEACHAM: My sense of the President Obama -- and we all know this, President Obama is fascinated by story, by narrative, right? And so, I

think that it's fair to say he was fascinated by the drama, the story of a post-colonialist president. There was no -- there was -- you know, the fact

that he was president of the United States is an -- was an extraordinary moment in the life of the country and the life of the west.

And so, his being received by the Queen of England as the head of state and head of government of United States of America is an amazing moment. And I

think I'm right that the queen invited the Obamas back after he left the White House. So, she was clearly fascinated. I think that -- yes, I think

that reflexive criticism about colonialism and non-colonialism is interesting, but not dispositive.

ISAACSON: I think, perhaps, we can end by just talking about how that way of relieving us from some of the politics that divide us, that bane of our

existence, that everything is so political. And she was so much the opposite, I hope King Charles III can carry on that tradition. It might, in

some ways, help us in the United States to say there are things we can rise above.

MEACHAM: Precisely. I think that's exactly her legacy if we're -- a legacy if we're thinking about this in American terms. That there are principles

to which we can ascent while disagreeing about the politics. And we are at a moment, an hour in the United States, where that's incredibly difficult,

if not impossible. And nobody's arguing to go to a British constitution.

But realizing that perhaps we can agree on the dignified elements, which in our case would be the constitutional journey toward a more perfect union,

the devotion to the declarations, a promise of -- to realizing the promise of human equality. If we can agree on that, if that can be the dignified

part, then perhaps the efficient, instead of becoming the end itself, which is power in the efficient sphere of government, perhaps we will see some

that more is means, but understand that we can agree on the ends.

ISAACSON: Jon Meacham, as always, thank you so much for joining us.

MEACHAM: Thanks, Walter.


AMANPOUR: Rise above, indeed, the important message this holiday season.

And that is it for the special addition. Remember, you can always catch us online, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and of course on our podcast.

Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.