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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96, Charles Becomes King; DOJ Appeals Judge's Ruling To Grant Trump A Special Master. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 08, 2022 - 16:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And you're looking live at the scene outside Windsor Castle. Oh, you were a second ago, there it is, where crowds are paying their respects -- that's Buckingham Palace rather -- paying their respect to Queen Elizabeth II. She died today at the age of 96 after more than 70 years, 70 years on the throne. The royal family says the queen died peacefully earlier today at Balmoral Castle. That's in Scotland.

The crowds are growing outside of Buckingham Palace on this rainy evening in London. Prince Harry, we're told, has arrived at the last hour in Balmoral in Scotland, joining his father. Now, King Charles III, formerly Prince Charles. Harry's brother, Prince William, is also there. The queen's other children, other family members.


We expect King Charles III to address the British people and the world, indeed, in a speech tomorrow.

Tonight, he has released a statement honoring the life of his mother which reads, in part, quote, we mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms, and the commonwealth and by countless people around the world.

Of course, Queen Elizabeth was last seen in photographs released on Tuesday. There she is, welcoming the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss. The queen did not travel to London for the ceremony, as is customary. Instead, she performed her duties at her castle in Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth was the longest ruling monarch in British history. Earlier this year, the platinum celebrated her 70 years on the throne. Unprecedented.

Let's bring in CNN's Max Foster, Bianca Nobilo, and Anna Stewart. They're all outside Buckingham Palace.

Max, so many people around the world, anybody under the age of like 72 or so has never known a world without Queen Elizabeth.

What happens now? What do the next few weeks look like?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the images you've just been speaking to are the ones we are looking at now. They really express that now, people are shocked. They are saddened. They sort of saw this coming, but they didn't really know how it was going to feel.

You've literally got thousands of people coming down here to Buckingham Palace, just to mill about, to talk to each other, it's quite celebratory at times. I think that's quite heartening in a way. The queen wants people to celebrate her life and not necessarily mourn her life.

But people just -- you know, it's pouring down with rain and people are flooding here. This is going to be the story of the next few days, as the palace, the government, and various government bodies trying to organize a series of events that could last up to two weeks, up to the funeral, to somehow try to not just express the queen's legacy, but also to look ahead to a new monarchy, which is about King Charles III.

So, what you're going to see is alternate days focusing on the late queen, or the future or the current king and really trying to get us used to the idea that the queen has moved on, and we now have King Charles as the head of state.

But I don't think, Bianca, any of us can really get our heads around the mechanics of that because as Jake says, we're not used to anything else.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, we aren't. And as much as, as you say, people in this country to some extent saw it coming, because she'd stepped back from her duties, we had seen her sometimes pass over her civic duties to Prince William or Prince Charles. It is just unfathomable at the moment. I think for many people, to imagine anybody else as sovereign of this nation.

But when we think about what she achieved, and what she bestows to Prince Charles, what King Charles III now, it's quite incredible because Britain has changed so much. The empire, which she presided over, has shrunk considerably. The republics were declared over her reign, with the modernization of the media. And she has adapted to those changes and managed to retain and grow an incredible popularity which all politicians the world over would envy.

And I think that is what she gifts to her son. And it's what he then decides to do with that. She has adapted the monarchy that is, in theory, an antiquated institution that doesn't really sit comfortably in the 21st century, into a position which could be sustainable and slim down. What will happen next, we don't know.

FOSTER: There's a bit of a build up this morning, wasn't there? You know, we spoke about it earlier, Anna. We thought this was coming. And then you were out there, amongst the people that started to gather when the news came in. What was that like?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it started out with just 100 people, maybe, largely tourists, of course, who would normally be outside Buckingham palace on a normal Thursday. But then you started to get people leaving work, and coming. Then there were hundreds, probably thousands at this stage. But what was so interesting was about an hour before the news really

broke that the queen had died, there was silence. And hundreds of people were flocking, and it was so quiet. And I found that incredible.

A rainbow broke out, I'm sure you've seen the constant rain we've had. But this beautiful rainbow broke out across the skies, and you had so many people in floods of tears. So absolute silence, tears, and then even after the news broke, and we had people singing "God Save the King", people are still there.

There is nothing happening right now, as far as I'm aware, at Buckingham Palace. But they want to be there, to pay their respects, to remember, because it's a moment in history. But very much, I get the sense that they want to be there, to be with each other, and they want to talk about the queen.


And they want to have a conversation that we are having right now about King Charles and the future. And it's really touching, actually.

FOSTER: Jake, I can't imagine that -- there's a state funeral coming up. It's something I don't think we -- we could even imagine. You know, there's not been a state funeral in this country for decades and she's a global figure, and global heads of states will be here. This is not just a national moment.

TAPPER: Yeah, I think it's interesting to point out also, Max, that when you hear people in London, like Scott McLean was interviewing a few minutes ago, talk about how it's so sudden and a lot of Americans might think, where people who don't live in the UK might think, how can be sudden? She's 96 years old. But nobody was prepared for this. In the sense that it was just two days ago that the queen welcome to the new British prime minister, Liz Truss.

And then Prince Charles, now King Charles, who is literally on the other side of Scotland last night, hosting a dinner. There was no sign of concern at all.

FOSTER: We've become so used to health care is with the queen, and they've been so private. But what changed today was they issued a statement, and then they went quiet. It was pretty clear from all of the movements of the family that something awful had happened. And even now, people are just finding out about it.

I don't think -- I honestly -- I came up here when Diana died and I was so shocked at how I felt, but how everyone else felt, as well. I just think this is on a completely different level because we are not really going to realize how it feels until there's a big moment, and we look for the queen, and she's not there. And sadly, this is the moment that is about her where she is not there. It's very confusing.


NOBILO: It is, indeed. I mean, we were talking earlier about how much of a formative and influential role she has played in getting the country through the COVID-19 pandemic and she was referred to as the comforter in chief. And this is a moment when the nation would ordinarily need its queen.

FOSTER: And all we've got is prime -- I'm not saying all we got, but the prime minister is two days into the job. Prince Charles is not there because he's up in Balmoral sorting out the funeral arrangements.

TAPPER: King Charles, Max, King Charles.


STEWART: They've been talking about how they've never lived in a world it doesn't have the queen and it. It's not just longevity, it's stability, isn't it? And I think to your point, to really feel this grief and to be able to get past the shock, and there is shock. Despite the queen being 96 years old, you need a funeral, you need the events that we will have in the coming days to help people express that grief and bring people together.

TAPPER: Thank you so much to all of you.

For those of us who are of a certain age, we've been saying Prince Charles for decades. It's going to take a little while for King Charles III to get accustomed to it.

Let's bring in CNN's Matthew Chance in London.

And, Matthew, the brand new prime minister of the UK, Liz Truss, she was one of the last people to see Queen Elizabeth alive earlier this week. She just paid tribute to the queen.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, she did. And that's the last photo we have, I think, or the most recent photo we have of Queen Elizabeth, when she swore in Liz Truss as her 15th prime minister.

And, you know, I've taken a look again at that photograph, as we all have. You can see in that photo, she doesn't look herself. She looks kind of gaunt, she looks very old.

And. you know, within 48 hours of that photograph being taken, she has passed away. And so it's really remarkable, a remarkable photograph to capture the queen really in her last days, quite literally.

And of course, then comes the challenge, as we've been discussing, of mourning the loss of this iconic figure. Incredibly difficult for any prime minister to step into that breach and be the mourner in chief, in some ways, for the whole nation, for the whole international community. They are looking with sadness on what has happened here today.

And it's even more of a challenge when you consider that Liz Truss, the prime minister of Britain, has only been in the job for two days. Just two days. And this is the momentous moment that she has to deal with, be the voice of. And seeing her come out today, outside here, a 10 downing street where she gave a brief speech. She was dressed in black, she gave a brief speech to the cameras, to the nation, marking the end of what she called the Second Elizabethan age, saying the days ahead will come together to celebrate her extraordinary lifetime, but also, welcoming the new monarch, as well.


Take a listen to what she had to say.


LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Today, the crown passes, as it has done for more than 1,000 years, to our new monarch, our new head of state, his majesty, King Charles III. We must come together as a people to support him, to help him barely awesome responsibility that he now carries for us all.


CHANCE: So, it is an organizational monster of a few weeks and months ahead. But fortunately, for decades, the arrangements for Queen Elizabeth's funeral have been meticulously planned. Operation London Bridge, it's called. It's been in the works since the 1960s, they've been putting together a plan for the eventuality of the queen's death.

That is now in motion, and what we are about to see in London is perhaps the biggest security operation the city has ever seen. Remember, when it comes to the state funeral, and I don't know exactly when it's going to be, but you can imagine how many world leaders are going to be attending, how much security that is going to involve. And how many other hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, may flock to the streets of London to pay their respects, as well, to Queen Elizabeth II.

Concurrently, at the same time as that happening, there is this enormous organizational process of ordaining the new king, of the coronation. That's also happening at the same time, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Let's go back to Max Foster, who apparently has some news about what we can expect tomorrow, during this momentous time in history -- Max.

FOSTER: So, all of these plans are worked out years in advance, but there has to be changes to those plans, depending on whether death occurred, and also the days of the week as well, taking into account the weekends. But we've got a broader sense of what to expect. We're not expecting the kings address tonight, the address to the nation. That will happen tomorrow, we expect.

And the king and the queen will be coming to London, tomorrow. They are staying over in Balmoral, and it's going to be an audience with the prime minister, we believe. So they are the main events I think tomorrow, and then Saturday, we will have the accession council.

So the king becomes king as soon as his predecessor dies. But there has to be a formal proclamation. That happens down the road at the oldest palace, which is in James's Palace, where the original throne is. He will sit on the throne, and he will be formally declared king and a declaration, also, the queen has died, although in technical terms, he's already king, of course.

And then we expect further updates through the next few days, as we head towards a funeral, which I believe will be in just less than two weeks time.

TAPPER: Can you explain that a touch better for us, Max? Because I know that Queen Elizabeth became queen, officially, after her father died in February, 1952. But she didn't get the crown until 1953. Is that the accession of what you speak? Or is it something else?

FOSTER: No. So automatically becomes king, but the accession council is -- it's horribly complex. This is deep in the British constitution, parliament can't operate until there's been an accession council where they formally declare to the palace that the queen is dead, and the king is now on the throne. It has to take place at St. James's, which is the senior palace.

What you're talking about is the coronation, which we can expect to happen in about six months time, probably, which is where the queen is crowned, with the crown jewels. That's more of a ceremony to mark, you know, the symbolism being put in place. That's a divine ceremony, where she -- the queen made her promise to god, where she stay on the crown -- stay on the throne for her entire life. Prince Charles is very devout as well. So, that's a very solemn, spiritual occasion, but a very grand affair.

TAPPER: All right.

FOSTER: Six months away.

TAPPER: Sorry, I'm not up on everything yet. I will be obviously this hasn't happened in 70 years.

Let's bring in CNN's Zain Asher and CNN historian Kate Williams.

Zain, you covered Queen Elizabeth and the royal family for quite some time. What stands out most to you about her time as queen?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: You don't need to look that deep in the history books to realize that of course my country, home country, Great Britain, has had a lot of famous kings and queens. But I think that one of the things that makes Queen Elizabeth II so special and have a very special place in our memories I think is a sort of deep sense of humility with which she approached this role.


Remember that the job a role as queen is largely a ceremonial one, of course. So, it's not so much about leadership, it's about leadership in a sense, but it's much more about the embodiment of leadership. That's the one thing I think she did so, so well. You know, she's always seemed to sort of stand alongside her people,

stand with her people as opposed to above them. This is a woman who literally represents everything in terms of what it means to be British embodied in one person. She's been this constant force, unifying thread, that's held her country together.

And it's not just -- people have talked about this idea that she's presided over so much change across the world. But also so much change in our home country. I'm not just talking about political change in the form of Brexit. But also, it wasn't -- it was less than ten years ago, in 2014, when Scotland, of course, had that famous referendum in terms of possibly becoming independent from the rest of the UK.

Of course the answer was no in terms of that, but she presided over all of that. That's not to say that our popularity hasn't seen ebbs and flows in and of itself. You think back to after World War II, her popularity was sky-high because after that traumatic period in the UK, people look to her as a symbol of hope.

But her popularity also took a hit I think in the 1990s most of all, yes, obviously because the death of Princess Diana. But also republicanism, we're talking about republicanism not in the U.S. political sense of the world, but republicanism in terms of people questioning the relevance of the royal family. It really reached a certain high during that period of time.

Now we're seeing this resurgence of her love, people sort of admiring, her and her popularity and I think it's because people look at the past 70 years as sort of think about everything that she's embodied, everything that she's represented in that time.

So, a remarkable woman, and, of course, the UK right now is in deep, deep mourning.

TAPPER: And, Kate, there are, it will not surprise you, detractors out there on social media and elsewhere, not even specifically about the queen but about the notion of British imperialism. The world has changed quite a bit since 1952, and the presence of the UK has changed quite a bit since 1952.

How much was she responsible for the modernization of what the UK has become, obviously notwithstanding the monarchy?

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Yes, as you say, Jake, when the queen came in 1952, there was still the British empire and much of that empire was conducted through exploitation and oppression, and countries were demanding independence and what we saw throughout the queens way was these countries -- fighting for independence, fighting some of them very difficult fights and gaining it.

And so, therefore, what the queen wished was there to be this commonwealth which was a movement of friendship at a movement of unity. But I do think in the next rain it might be that the commonwealth does completely crumble. Many countries are talking about giving up the queen as head of state -- Australia, Jamaica, Belize, Antigua. And it may also be that the commonwealth which was so important to her, people in the commonwealth some of them to say very strongly that this had a history of empire, we wish to be completely free.

So, the world is changing, Britain's changing and when she was 21 vowed service to Britain, but to the imperial family. That's no longer the case. She became the queen of commonwealth but Britain is going to change.

We -- Britain had a lot of power, it no longer -- I think the power is changing. There's a different type of country, in the future I think British power, British reach will be very much less.

TAPPER: Zain, the vast majority of British people have never lived under a monarch other than Queen Elizabeth. How would you characterize what you're seeing in general, not the detractors but the general feeling of the public in the UK about the queen?

ASHER: There's a deep sense of love for her, it's interesting because she's somebody who rarely gives interviews, so not much is known about her personal opinion or her thoughts per se. But I think what people loved about her is this again, this embodiment of leadership that she represents, this steady hand this steady shift through times of change.

I mean, Kate was just talking about the British Empire. That'll be a massive stain on the conscious of the royal family. My family is originally from Nigeria which was a former British colony. And there has been of course so many that she presided over and she took the helm of the royal family during a time when the empire was sort of beginning to collapse, with sort of rapid number of countries claiming independence and demanding independence one after the other.


Just recently, just last year, you had Barbados, for example. Barbados still a member of the commonwealth but has now said that Queen Elizabeth is no longer their queen. And so, you are seeing this sort of change in the U.K. as the U.K. becomes that much more modern, that much more diverse. A lot of people questioning the relevance of the royal family still although she's still beloved by those people who know and respect the 70 years that she has had on the throne.

TAPPER: And, obviously, Kate a lot of what the American people know and others outside the U.K. and outside the commonwealth know about the royal family, are the many tragedies and occasional scandals of the royal family throughout her 70 years as queen. There was Prince Charles's divorce, the death of Princess Diana, Prince Andrew's many, many troubles, just to name a few.

How -- how do you assess the way she was able to navigate these difficulties?

WILLIAMS: The queen, she always said that her view, her aim was to -- was to never explain, never complain. She always felt that these difficult times in her life or things that she should try and whether. And the queen herself had to change. So, therefore, when Princess Diana, the tragic awful death of Princess

Diana and the queen remained in Balmoral where she is today, there was a big outcry in Britain, a lot of job the queen came and gave an address to the nation on TV. She said that she spoke as a grandmother from her heart. And that really did win people over.

So, she has weathered these difficult storms, very many difficult storms to I think being a constant presence. Why does happen within our family, it wasn't a great shock to her, she was born into an age when people didn't get divorced. Of course, her uncle abdicated, making her father king because her uncle wish to marry a divorcee. And then things changed, her children got divorced. It was a great shock for her.

But really at the end of her reign, she was at a high point in her popularity. So much loved.

TAPPER: All right. Coming up next, the plans have been in place for years if not decades. Now somber moment, that somber moment arrives as Britain mourns the loss of her queen.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: We'll resume with our governor coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II in just a few moments. But we do want to bring you some breaking news here in the United States because moments ago, the Department of Justice decided to actually appeal that federal judge's decision to grant a special master for President Trump, former President Trump. That will be a third party attorney that would be allowed to review the records that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago, all these documents that were improperly taken and stored by Donald Trump.

Let's bring in CNN's Evan Perez,

Evan, what's the significance of this appeal?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the biggest thing we learned from this document that the Justice Department just filed in federal court is that as a result of this order from Judge Aileen Cannon on Monday, they say they've had to pause the intelligence community's risk assessment of any potential damage that may have come from the way these hundreds of pages of classified documents were stored at Mar-a-Lago.

One of the things the raising concern about is that there is no way, the Justice Department says, there is no way for the FBI to separate its criminal investigation because it is part of the intelligence committee, from what the director of national intelligence ordered the intelligence community to do, which is to make sure that any damage is known from how these documents were stored.

And whether there is anything that needs to be done to mitigate those potential harms. I read just a part of what the Justice Department says, it draws attention to those four dozen or so empty folders that indicated there was classified documents in there. They were not inside those folders. It says for instance, Jake, that the FBI would be chiefly responsible for investigating what materials may have once been stored in the folders, whether they've been lost, compromised, steps again that require the use of grand jury subpoenas, search warrants, and another criminal investigative tools.

They also raised the concern, Jake, that the intelligence community needs to make sure that if there is possible sources and methods that have been harmed, but if somebody that seen these documents that should not have seen them, that's something they need to be able to do, Justice Departments asking for the judge to stay her order while it tries to pursue an appeal -- they believe in the end, they're going to be successful -- Jake.

TAPPER: So, what comes next? If this appeal has been filed, then what?

PEREZ: Well, we fully expect she's not going to state her order which means we're going to go to the next stage and they're going to go to the appeals court in Atlanta, the 11th Circuit, and try to get them to at least pause what this judge has done, so that this investigation can continue. They say there is irreparable harm to national security if that doesn't happen, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Evan Perez, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Leaders from around the world are mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth. We'll bring you their reactions, next.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: The world is remembering Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning British monarch. Bells ringing out at a church in suburban England. Tributes pouring in from current and former world leaders.

Former President Barack Obama said it was, quote, a reign defined by grace, elegance, and a tireless work ethic, defying the odds in expectations placed on women of her generation.

Former President Bill Clinton writing, quote, in sunshine or storm, she was a source of stability, serenity, and strength.

Former President Jimmy Carter shown here with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in 1977, saying her, quote: Dignity, graciousness, and sense of duty have been an inspiration.

Former President Donald Trump also sharing his condolences.

French President Emmanuel Macron says he remembers the queen as a, quote, friend of France, and, quote, a kind hearted queen who is left a lasting impression on her country and her century.

And more condolences and memories from former British leaders, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson sharing a statement just moments ago, saying she seems so timeless and so wonderful. I'm afraid we have come to believe like children, she would just go on and on. Tony Blair, who served as British prime minister until 2007 said, the U.K. has lost not just a monarch, but the matriarch of our nation.

Let's bring back Sally Bedell Smith, who's published multiple biographies on the royal family.

We heard a quote from George W. Bush in the last hour, in which he praised the queen's wit. That's not something that most of us got to see. But there is a famous story I learned from one of your books, where George W. Bush in 1991, so he's not yet governor, certainly not president, he meets and they have an interesting exchange. Tell us about that.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They do, which she told me. He was wearing cowboy boots because he was the head of the Texas Rangers and they sort of -- inscribed with Texas Rangers. She said, what's the inscription on those boots? He said, God save the queen, ma'am.

And she looked at him and she said, are you the black sheep in the family? And he said, I guess I am. I think every family has them. Who's yours? At which point, his mother stepped in and said, don't answer that.


SMITH: But she was quick.

TAPPER: Yeah, he may have been at that moment.

SMITH: Yes he may have been --

TAPPER: The black sheep of that --

SMITH: And I think you probably had someone in mind too.

TAPPER: Yeah, for her black sheep, yes, I think we all probably all know that is.

And she also had her own sense of style beyond just any monarch. She was famously fond of corgis. She was an excellent horseback rider, no less than president Reagan attest to that. They were close. She loved a cocktail.

What brought her the most joy?

SMITH: Well, I think her horses and her dogs. I mean, obviously, people. But beyond humans, she really loved her horses and she probably could've been a professional horse breeder.

TAPPER: Oh really?

SMITH: Her knowledge was vast. She loved watching them.

When my husband and I matter in 2007, at the British embassy, she just watched in the Kentucky derby for the first time. She was astonished to see a race on dirt. She was waving our hands all around, describing the race and I thought, is this the queen. She was so excited. Her eyes were sparkling and she just loved that.

TAPPER: So, she was also devout?

SMITH: Very devout.

TAPPER: Church of England and her faith, tell us about that?

SMITH: It was very deep, I've talked to people like the former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, he said she wore it lightly. But it was deeply embedded interim. It enabled her to really get through many, many troubles. It kept her level.

And she went to church every week. She preyed on her knees before she went to bed. And it was something that was inculcated in her and to find her, I think. It had to do with the fact that she would never abdicate with.

In the coronation, she was anointed and she took a sacred vow. And that to her, was really, really important. And meant that she would never serve until she die, which was today.

TAPPER: You and I have been talking during commercials about what's next for Prince Charles, Max Foster reported he's going to have a speech tomorrow. Then there will be an event when he's given the power.

SMITH: Right, the accession.

TAPPER: The accession on Saturday.

But let's talk about him as King, I'm sorry, King Charles. Did I call him Prince Charles?

SMITH: Yeah.

TAPPER: It's going to take some getting used to.

King Charles III. How is his role going to be different than his mother's do you think?

SMITH: Well, I think in -- certainly in the beginning, I mean, the emphasis will be on continuity. I mean, that's what the British monarchy is all about. It's about 1,000 years of continuity. I think he's going to make it sure everybody is calm, he's not going to be outspoken. What is he does in his audiences, with the prime minister, we'll never know.


But it's conceivable that he'll be maybe asking more questions than his mother did. I think his style will be different. But I think he knows what the ground lines are. He knows that he's not -- he may in the past, he's been very opinionated. I think now he knows that he needs to keep his views under wraps.

TAPPER: It might have been unsure time for the British people right now, they wake up and they have a new prime minister who's a relatively new face, right?

SMITH: Yeah.

TAPPER: Only been prime minister for a couple of days. And not elected, it was because Boris Johnson was ousted. And a brand new prime minister --

SMITH: A brand new king.

TAPPER: A brand new king, yeah, a brand new king, I'm sorry.

SMITH: It's sort of inconceivable, that this would coincide.

TAPPER: Yeah, it's odd. I can't think of the time it would've happened.

Churchill was prime minister when Queen Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth.


TAPPER: And he'd been tested through the war. People at least knew that he was a rock.

SMITH: Yeah. No. I mean, obviously, King Charles has a legacy of many, many marvelous charities and enterprises.

TAPPER: Sure. And he's been way ahead on climate change.

SMITH: I think that will be his legacy, because he's done it for so many years.

TAPPER: Sally, you'll be part of the special report we're going to have tonight on CNN, remembering Queen Elizabeth II service, her legacy, and a closer look at how she quietly revolutionize the royal family in her quest to leave the monarchy stronger than ever.

Here's a little preview for you.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before she became queen, Elizabeth had her first child, Prince Charles. With his birth, she not only had a son but an heir, securing the line of succession. She also added another duty to wear a long list of responsibilities, motherhood.

SMITH: From the very beginning, she was a working mother. She had to work out at age 25 how she was going to have a viable life work balance.

FOSTER: She and Prince Philip would eventually have four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. Together, they prepare the children for the rigors of royal life, especially Prince Charles, the heir apparent.

SMITH: Elizabeth and Philip are doing for Charles what her mother and father hadn't done for her, which was to set an example of how being a monarch is a uniquely influential position.


TAPPER: Sally Bedell Smith, thank you so much and get all your insights. That CNN special report, "A Queen for the Ages" will air tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up next, a fairytale warning for a princess who would be queen, and the love story that lasted decades.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with our special coverage of the storied life of Queen Elizabeth II, a life she shared with one man, her rock, Prince Philip.

CNN's Max Foster looks back at the seven decade-long royal love story.


FOSTER (voice-over): It was a love affair that lasted more than seven decades. As Queen Elizabeth celebrated Jubilee after Jubilee and went on to become the longest serving British monarch in history, Philip was always by her side.

A childhood companion to the Queen, Margaret Rhodes, was a bridesmaid at her wedding, and was in no doubt that it was a marriage based on love.

MARGARET RHODES, COUSIN OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II: I think she fell in love when she was 13. I mean, god, he was looking. He was sort of a Viking god. He never looked at anybody else ever.

FOSTER: The couple married in Westminster Abbey on November the 20th, 1947. Since then, Prince Philip was an almost constant presence at the Queen's side.

If this companionship came at a personal price, it was one that he was prepared to pay.

RHODES: Just to have been there all the time behind her and ready to have sacrificed his life, he did it, too, sacrificed his life because he would have loved to have gone on the Navy and really made a career out of that. So he sacrificed, too. And so I think it's made for a wonderful solid marriage.

FOSTER: The Queen and Prince Phillip met before the Second World War, when he was a young naval cadet.

ROBERT HARDMAN, AUTHOR, "OUR QUEEN": And his number one job from the word go has been to quote "support" the Queen. Everything he does is in support of the Queen and it's just been one of the great Royal romances I think of history.

People talk about Victoria and Albert as a phrase, it trips off the tongue and I have no doubt that in years to come, people will talk about Elizabeth and Philip in exactly the same way.

FOSTER: Netflix hit series "The Crown" captivated viewers worldwide with its portrayal of the young couple's early romance, ensuring their place in popular culture for generations to come.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you tomorrow.

FOSTER: The shy teenager, and the handsome parents. As parents, grandparents, and great grandparents they would always remain by each other side as long as they were together.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


TAPPER: Let's bring in Frank Mort. He's a historian of the British monarchy and professor at University of Manchester.

Frank, thanks for joining.

So, Queen Elizabeth the second steered the monarchy through some rather turbulent time. She was for many people the only constant in a rapidly changing world. You've studied this a great deal. How is she able to achieve this, accomplish this?

FRANK MORT, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER: I think primarily her contribution was that she presented change through continuity. E presented change through think it that sense to compare or, not so much with her father, but with her grandfather King George the Fifth, who did pretty much the same indifferent circumstances, in the early part of the 20th century, when British society and the world were we -- many calling for the end of empires, the end of monarchies.

And to George V was extremely adapt at changing the monarchy, making it accessible, making it more people friendly, but through a rather gruff and at times, distant exterior and he did it. And he was affective in that way. I think the queen in different times, in different circumstances, did the same thing. Let me give you a couple of examples of the sorts of changes that she affected. Some of them small, but symbolically quite important.

So, for example, she did bring the light of television into the coronation and 1953. She was personally against it, it was against her better judgment. She thought it would in some senses break the mystique of monarchy. But she accepted the advice of Churchill, and her ministers, she brought the cameras and quite quickly after she did regular TV broadcasts.

Not in the first year, but after that. She went -- for the first time in New Zealand, in the early 1970s, another moment of greater accessibility and informality. People came much closer to her physically, and then I thought that she was very adept at listening to the public mode, when Diana had died.

Not while she was in Balmoral, but she came down very quickly. And she came out onto the street, and she met the people, and she looked to the bouquets of flowers and she was out on the street when Diana's cortege passed by Buckingham Palace changing continuity are key themes of her reign, and of her success.

TAPPER: All right. Frank Mort, thank you so much for those insights. We really appreciate it.

Coming up, how the queen left her mark in very difficult times, how that's having a lasting impression even now. That's ahead.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This evening, a nation, commonwealth, the world are mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth III, Britain's longest ruling monarch, died earlier today at the age of 96. The royal family says the queen passed away peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The crowds are growing outside of Buckingham Palace even though it's a rainy evening in London.

Outside of another one of the queen's residences, Windsor Castle, mourners are living flowers, and candles to honor her majesty's seven decades of service. King Charles III, that's right, King Charles III, is the new monarch of the United Kingdom. He's expected to give his first address as king tomorrow.

But this evening, he is mourning the loss of not just the queen but his mother. In a statement saying in part, quote: We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms, and the commonwealth, and by countless people around the world, unquote.

Most of us, anyone under the age of 72 or so do not know a world without Queen Elizabeth on the throne. She will be remembered for many things including her steady leadership, her calming presence, throughout the most tumultuous of times over the last 70 years, including this message during her 2020 Christmas address in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: We continue to be inspired by the kindness of strangers, and draw comfort that even on the darkest nights, there is hope in the new dawn.


TAPPER: I want to bring in CNN's Max Foster, Bianca Nobilo, and Anna Stewart. They're all outside of Buckingham Palace.