Return to Transcripts main page
The Lead with Jake Tapper
Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96; Charles Becomes King. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired September 08, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Tonight, there is hope in the new dawn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I want to bring in CNN's Max Foster, Bianca Nobilo and Anna Stewart, they're all outside Buckingham Palace.
Max, this seems like a huge devastating loss for the people of the United Kingdom. And it comes at a time where you have a brand new prime minister who has only been two days on the job and is still relatively unknown.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: I think this is going to be a big issue for the crowds that you're seeing gathered behind us here just coming to terms with the gravity of what's happened, not having the Queen to look to in this moment of national crisis and having, you know, a new prime minister to have to really carry the nation at this moment. I think her speech was very powerful earlier on from Liz Truss.
We now look to Prince Charles to address the nation as you say -- we're expecting King Charles, of course, to address the nation tomorrow night probably hear from Buckingham Palace, I think it'd be prerecorded. It's a huge statement to make.
There'd be gun salutes tomorrow, though. Formalities, really, start tomorrow. King Charles and the queen, Queen Camilla, will be heading back to London tomorrow. They're currently up in Balmoral overseeing the first day of national mourning, which will continue until the funeral which I think will be in just under two weeks time.
So, at the moment, the body will be lying in the ballroom I imagine at Balmoral, and members of staff will be paying their respects as well, members of the family who've all gathered there. And then there'll be a procession to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland tomorrow where the Queen will lie for a couple of days. That's the plan, I think. But these things are all being signed off by Prince Charles, I think, by King Charles as we speak.
And then there will be the funeral in a couple of weeks, which I think will be an extraordinary affair, Bianca. Can you imagine a bigger stakes events, you know, not just for the U.K., but almost for the world considering her status on the world stage.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I don't think it's possible for anyone to imagine what that's going to be like. I think, Jake, picking up on your point about the new prime minister at the helm of this country at a time where the nation has lost its through line, its continuity, the monarch that everyone has always known is another inflection point, and it deepens the sense of change and crisis to some extent that this nation feels.
Prime Minister Liz Truss is currently deeply unpopular and also unknown in the country at large. She was ushered in by 0.2 percent of the eligible electorate. So this isn't somebody who's won over the hearts and minds of this country, that the British public feel akin to, feel like they're comfortable in her leadership just yet. So it is definitely a moment where the nation feels a sense of uncertainty in its own identity and who to look to as a figure of leadership.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: And it's King Charles that they need to look to. And I think it'll be really interesting in the coming days when we speak to all the well wishes, the mourners, who will come out in Edinburgh -- in Windsor here at Buckingham Palace to get an idea of how they feel about King Charles. Now we know from basic polls that generally, I would say, opinion has been better. Charles -- King Charles and Queen Camilla of late, I think we've had some CNN polling to that effect in recent years. But they will be looking for that sort of stability that they have had in Queen Elizabeth II for 70 years.
I just -- everyone I've spoken to today has said we've just not known any difference. And I think there is a huge sense of loss, despite the Queen being 96 years old, that she's gone. And they can't actually imagine a world without her.
One person I speak to outside the gates once the easel was bought out, suddenly sort of had a gasp. And it's that shock, I think, shocked despite having been outside Buckingham Palace, outside those gates for a couple of hours waiting for that news is the shocks.
FOSTER: It's the unimaginable, isn't it? It's that thought you knew it was coming but now you have to get used to the idea. And it's that thing that everyone comes down to Buckingham Palace and lays flowers and that's all they can really do. But there will be, you know, nearly two weeks now with very carefully planned events.
The King will travel around the nations to reflect that he is King of the United Kingdom. And every other day we will focus on either the King and his future reign or looking back at the Queen's incredible reign which ended today. It's hard to believe really, Jake.
TAPPER: Max, let me ask you just -- because I truly have no idea, how is King Charles the third? I'm sure there's a great deal of sympathy and support for him right now as a son and as a public figure. But how is he regarded by the people of the U.K.? Is there the same love for him, the same adoration? Do you feel confident that his will be a long monarchy assuming health and everything continues to be well?
[17:05:16] FOSTER: I mean, the system is that he is monarch now, and the only thing that would change that is if he would abdicate. And having spoken to him, there's absolutely no intention on his part to ever do that. I think he's got the same commitment to God that his mother had. This will be a job for life.
Is he as popular? Well, no, frankly. You've got to compare these two very different figures, the Queen never expressed an opinion, that was a strategy, she barely expressed any emotion. That meant she wasn't a divisive figure.
And you can effectively project your own emotions onto her. I know that's quite a complex idea, but that's very much her way of thinking, is she standing in front of a building, you don't know what she thinks of it, but if you like the building, then you think that she likes the building or vice versa. And that's how she operated.
Prince Charles, as he was, felt they had a right to express opinions before he took the throne. He's going to change that now for sure. He's going to act in the same way as the Queen. So, anything that he does will be an expression of the nation, he's aware of that so he's going to change.
I think the issue he's got is that he does have baggage from his past. I think the much bigger issue is that outside the United Kingdom in other realms, particularly Australia and Jamaica, it's pretty clear that those nations have a plan to become Republics and the Republican movements in those nations have always seen the death of the queen as the opportunity to spearhead those campaigns based on the unpopularity of King Charles.
TAPPER: Yes. And Bianca, if I may interject there -- it does seem like there is an opportunity here, Bianca and Anna, for both the new prime minister, Liz Truss, and also for King Charles III because the people of the U.K., I would sense, I would speculate, want reassurance at this time, given the fact that the Queen and Boris Johnson have both left the stage.
NOBILO: There's definitely an opportunity. Prime Minister Liz Truss has something which King Charles III doesn't, which is she is benefiting from having very low expectations because she enters office with relatively low name recognition and unpopularity. Perhaps she has to do slightly less to start bringing the country along with her, that isn't the same for the new sovereign.
But what both of those things do speak to, Jake, is there is a sense of ridiculousness, because this is a country that has left the European Union. This is a country whose longest serving monarch has just died. There is no longer peace on the European continent. Britain is heavily involved with the war in Ukraine, and we've had a period of intense political turbulence.
So, the nation is at a moment where it feels a little bit like it's convulsing and it doesn't know exactly what it is. And that, of course, presents opportunities. But the scale of the challenge, Jake, and Anna if you agree, is great. STEWART: I mean, rudderless was exactly the word I was going to use. And it's been like this for weeks, frankly, ever since Boris Johnson said he was going to step down. We've had a very long leadership contest here in the U.K.
And it's in terms of the economy for people here in the U.K. feeling like, as you say, we have left the E.U., but seeing that your inflation figure is the worst of the G10, that the cost of living crisis here is biting even harder. The inflation could hit 22 percent next year, that one in three households will be unable to fuel and heat their homes next month. So, the challenges here are great. And I think people really want to feel some leadership.
I worry, I don't know whether Prime Minister Truss will be able to bring people together, but perhaps King Charles III will. Perhaps there'll be some goodwill. I think people want to see unity here.
FOSTER: I think we should note as well, the strategy has been -- you would have seen and we've all seen how, whenever we see Charles and Camilla, we also see William and Kate in recent times, they've come together effectively as a foursome. And I think that has to be because William and Kate are so popular, Kate in particular, and they are the modern face of the -- modern monarchy. So I don't think it's going to be King Charles on his own. I think it's going to be the four of them. And Camilla, as well, has become very popular in recent times.
And Prince William his title now is the Duke of Cornwall in Cambridge because he's taken over the Dutch of Cornwall, which is the heir to the throne's income. So, things are changing quickly. I think very quickly we know him as the Prince of Wales as well and Kate will become the Princess of Wales once. King Charles bestows them with those titles.
TAPPER: That's right, the -- Prince Charles has become King Charles and Prince William is now the heir to the throne.
Max, Bianca, Anna, thanks to all of you. Really appreciate it.
I want to hear now from the British people. So let's go to Scott McLean. He's at Windsor Castle.
And Scott, mortars have been laying flowers for hours there paying their respects. What are you hearing from them?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jake, yes, I'm just standing right off camera. And I don't want to speak too loud because I don't want to sort of interrupt this very somber scene that we're seeing here. And people coming to lay flowers just outside of the gates to the castle. And what I found remarkable is a -- that there's this many flowers that are still available in stores, because it seems like every second person that you run into on the streets has them. And the other thing is the fact that many of these have handwritten notes, handwritten cards attached to them as well, where people have really written some very heartfelt things about somebody that they very much likely have not met before.
And the thing that you hear over and over again, the words that you hear over and over again are duty, and service. And these are things that the Queen did, and really trying to unite the country. I just want to talk to a couple of people who are around here.
Sir, I just wonder how you're feeling at this moment given the news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very somber atmosphere at the moment, the Queen gave us the duty for 70 years is amazing. So, everyone feels the need to come out and just to show their respect, really.
MCLEAN: Why was it important to bring your daughter here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's her idea to come actually. So we, you know, we decided to just jump in the car and come down and join the traffic queue and come and pay our respects.
MCLEAN: Sorry, for the lost to your country, sir. Thank you.
Let me just wander through the crowd if I can hear, Jake, and talk to another people.
Sir, just wondering how you're feeling at this moment. We're live at CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
MCLEAN: What did the Queen mean to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quite a lot, to be honest. I mean, that's --
MCLEAN: That's -- I mean, this is the remarkable thing here, Jake. People, you know, expressing really genuine emotion about, you know, this person that seems so far removed on the surface from their daily lives. But in reality, she's not necessarily -- she's very much a part of their daily lives.
Let me see if I can grab someone else.
Ma'am, excuse me, sorry. You're live on CNN. Just wondering how you're feeling at this moment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm numb. I'm a Windsorian born and bred. Often pass her or used to pass her in the car, going out horse riding, we'd see her all the time. And yes, I feel a bit numb at the moment, to be honest.
MCLEAN: What does she mean to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything.
MCLEAN: And what do you think that she means to the country?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything. She's been there. She may have been in the background, but she was always there, if that makes any sense at all. I don't -- the whole situation at the moment does make sense. We've been waiting for it, but we never really wanted it to happen. Ever.
MCLEAN: The country, you know, from my vantage point, doesn't seem very overtly patriotic. Yet the patriotism seems to come out events around the monarchy. Why is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're proud, we're proud of her. We're proud of what she's done for us. She's just been steadfast for everything. I think everyone here probably has got the same opinion.
She is everybody's grandma, especially in Windsor. And Windsorians, we love it to bits with the whole family or just -- whether just Windsor. Everything about Windsor, everything about the Windsorians is the royal family. And we are very patriotic. We're very proud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you know, it's that stiff upper lip.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all have it.
MCLEAN: Yes. Thank you for talking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She'll be very missed.
MCLEAN: I'm sure she will be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She will.
MCLEAN: Thank you for talking to us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're welcome.
MCLEAN: I'm sorry for your loss for you and for your country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Take care.
MCLEAN: And, Jake, I just want to remind you that, look, it's past 10:00 right now and people are still coming up. Still coming steady flow of people carrying bouquets wanting to pay their respects to their queen.
TAPPER: All right, Scott, thanks so much.
Let's bring back Sally Bedell Smith, who's published multiple biographies on the royal family. And just one note, I mean, I think it's difficult for people who don't live in a monarchy to understand what it's like to have a leader for 70 years. I mean, a beloved president can be somebody who served for one term. I mean, Donald Trump has many supporters who love him. Two term presidents, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, the most we've ever had was, of course, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who didn't serve out the full four terms, but even that is a blink of an eye -- SALLY BEDELL SMITH, AUTHOR, "ELIZABETH THE QUEEN, THE LIFE OF A MODERN
MONARCH": I know.
TAPPER: -- four terms compared to Queen Elizabeth.
SMITH: Well, you know what, I was just thinking she has -- she went or 70 years, Queen Victoria was 63 years, George V was 25 years, her father George VI was 15 years.
SMITH: So, if you look all the way back into the middle of the 19th century, the dominant monarch has been a woman. And so, it's going to be really odd to have a man just -- to be saying -- I mean, just for people to get used to saying, God save the king.
SMITH: You know, it's been God Save the Queen since 1952.
TAPPER: Yes, absolutely.
SMITH: And you know, it's just embedded in British life.
TAPPER: And you heard Max Foster's observation that King Charles and Queen Camilla have been dutifully making sure that in public appearances they have the prince, their Prince William and his princess. We've been talking about the responsibilities that prince -- I'm sorry, that King Charles has before him.
TAPPER: What about Prince William? What responsibilities does he have? Because he is now, not only heir apparent to the throne, right?
TAPPER: He is heir to the throne of a king who is in his 70s.
SMITH: Yes, yes. I mean, may King Charles desert --
SMITH: -- as long a reign as he can, but it will be a short reign.
TAPPER: It has to be, between mom lived to be 101.
SMITH: Yes. And King Charles is in very good shape.
TAPPER: Sure. SMITH: And he -- but he's turning 74 in November, is very vigorous, but William is, is the -- you know, he's the one who's going to be increasingly in the spotlight and he is the face of the modern monarchy. Charles will be more of a transitional figure, I think.
SMITH: And so, William and Kate, they're coming over here in the beginning of December, they're going to be in Boston, he's going to be launching his Earthshot Prize. And --
TAPPER: Tell us what that is, the Earthshot.
SMITH: It's his vision for -- it's an environmental award that he started a few years ago. And it's -- he's doing it at the Kennedy Library --
SMITH: -- with a nod to the Moonshot. So, you know, he is, you know -- I mean, King Charles will be the king, but William will be the Prince of Wales and he will be, you know, very much in the spotlight.
TAPPER: What about Prince Harry and his wife --
SMITH: Well --
TAPPER: -- the Duchess Megan Markel, what of them in this new era?
SMITH: Well, you know, the irony is that when -- years ago when Charles was talking about how he wanted to do a slimmed down monarchy, now that he's a bonnet, he needs William and Kate, he needs his brother, Edward and Sophie. He doesn't have many people to gone. It would have been really nice for him to have Harry and Megan, had they not to leave.
TAPPER: Is that --
SMITH: But I don't see -- well, I mean, who knows? It's in the rig (ph) scene.
TAPPER: Well, I guess like the question is one thing for there to be drama about the prince having an estranged son --
TAPPER: -- and daughter in law.
SMITH: But he's the king.
TAPPER: It's another thing to have drama where the king of the U.K. has an estranged son.
SMITH: And by the way, he now has the power to make Archie a prince --
TAPPER: Interesting. SMITH: -- as king.
TAPPER: Which would do a lot, I think, right --
SMITH: Well, it might.
TAPPER: -- to mend the family.
SMITH: I mean, if there's a way of healing in the royal family, it may be in this moment.
TAPPER: All right. Well, let the healing begin, I say.
And Sally Bedell Smith, it's always great to have you. Thank you so much for your expertise. And she has been telling me about her next book, and I cannot wait. Hurry up with it.
She saw President Biden just last year. But when Queen Elizabeth's reign began, Harry Truman had -- actually, when she was a princess, she met Harry Truman three months before her reign began. The first president she met as Queen was President Eisenhower.
Coming up next, the late monarchs influence on the U.S. and its leaders over her seven decades on the throne.
TAPPER: Just a few moments ago here in Washington, D.C., the nation's capital, the National Cathedral rang its funeral bell 96 times to honor Queen Elizabeth II who passed away earlier today at the age of 96 after a 70-year reign.
Fourteen American presidents have served during the late Queen Elizabeth II 70-year reign on the British throne. Her Majesty met with each of them with the exception of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Her first meeting with an American president as Queen was with President Dwight Eisenhower who invited her and Prince Philip to stay at the White House for four days in 1957. They had known each other from their time together in World War II.
President Ronald Reagan and Queen Elizabeth were known to have shared a close friendship as well as a shared love of horseback riding. In 1983, she traveled to the Reagan's California ranch for a visit which her press secretary said she found delightful and terribly exciting.
President Obama and the Queen first met shortly after he took office in 2009. First Lady Michelle Obama accidentally committed a royal faux pas during the meeting placing her hand on the Queen shoulder but her majesty appeared not to mind and she reciprocated the feeling placing her hand on the First Lady's back.
Her final meeting with an American president coming with President Joe Biden during last year's G7 summit held in England, the meeting marked Biden's only time meeting the British monarch as president, though, he had met her before.
CNN's Phil Mattingly is at the White House here in Washington for us right now.
Phil, President Biden has ordered flags there at the White House to half-staff. He's also remembering the impact of Queen Elizabeth on his life.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Jake. Those flags will be at half-staff until the day of the Queen's burial by order of the President. The President and the First Lady Jill Biden also putting out a very lengthy statement recognizing not just her contribution to the special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. but to the world writ large, saying quote, "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era and a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons including many who have never known the country without her."
Biden went on to say that they first met the Queen in 1982, traveling to the U.K. as part of a Senate delegation. And that he and the First Lady were honored that she extended her hospitality to us in June 2021 during our first overseas trip, as President and First Lady.
And Jake, it was during that trip -- our whole team was on that trip and it was obviously a big international focus, big focus on the U.S. role in the world given him his -- President Biden's first international trip, but the focus on that meeting itself seemed so important to the President. I think that's the case with any president at the time. But also understanding what it represented for the Queen, it was her first visit with a head of state since the death of her husband Philip, it came just three days after what would have been Prince Philip's 100th birthday was something White House officials said they expected the president to address with the queen. After that visit, which was tea for about a little bit more than 40 minutes between the Queen, the First Lady and the President, where there's almost no access. The President said he -- the Queen reminded him of his mother and that both she was in appearance but also in her generosity, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly, thanks so much.
For meetings with world leaders to her own royal family's drama, when the Queen spoke, everyone listened and turned to her for guidance. CNN's Tom Foreman shows us now how all the world was a stage for Queen Elizabeth.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coming of age at the end of World War II with Europe in ruins and her country nearly shattered, there was Elizabeth, a princess just 21 with a birthday pledge for her people.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to service.
FOREMAN (voice-over): On the throne that patient promised with the help of historic figures such as Winston Churchill helped her rebuild the nation and would guide her through decades of turmoil.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: We could never forget those who have died or been injured and their families.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Whether navigating the troubles of Northern Ireland, the thorny issues of the Falklands War in the early 1980s or seeing her own family on more recent battlefields, the Queen has remained publicly and steadily committed to British allies.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Talk we will, listen we have to, disagree from time to time we may, but united we must always remain.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Over the many years there have been stumbles. In 1966 a mining disaster in Wales killed more than 100 school children and dozens of adults. The Queen lingered more than a week before visiting decades later saying that delay was her biggest regret.
In 1992, royal scandals and the rapidly failing marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana prompted the Queen to uncharacteristically call it a horrible year.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Just turned out to be an endless or rebellious.
FOREMAN (voice-over): But when Diana died, the stoic Queen returned to address the nation's grief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Economic troubles, political turmoil, accusations of racism within her family, even the global pandemic, she made it all the same way she met virtually every challenge of her 70 year reign.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: We should take comfort, that while we may have more still to endure, better days we'll return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOREMAN: The Queen's reserve didn't always sit well with people. Some people saw it as too far rooted in history and archaic sins of the world. And yet it seemed to fit her so well, Jake.
In many ways, think about this, this was a young woman who grew up in World War II where we got the phrase, keep calm and carry on. And that seemed to be her response to almost everything whether people really liked it or did not. She kept calm and carried on.
TAPPER: Well, it's stiff up -- she didn't invent this stiff up relay (ph). FOREMAN: No, she didn't, but she carried it well.
TAPPER: She did, absolutely.
Tom Foreman, thank you so much.
The Queen's influence on popular culture, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PADDINGTON BEAR: Perhaps he would like a marmalade sandwich. I always keep one for emergencies.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: So do I, I keep mine in here for later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The party is about to start, Your Majesty.
PADDINGTON BEAR: Happy Jubilee, and thank you for everything.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: That's very kind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That lighthearted skits starring Queen Elizabeth II as well as our good friend Paddington Bear would be one of the last times the world heard from her royal highness. The clip aired during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations over the summer celebrating Queen Elizabeth 70 years on the throne. Tributes continue to pour in honoring Queen Elizabeth II.
English actress Dame Helen Mirren who portrayed Queen Elizabeth in the 2006 film "The Queen" wrote on Instagram quote, "I am proud to be an Elizabethan. We mourn a woman who with or without the crown was the epitome of nobility." Mirren was appointed dame by Queen Elizabeth in 2003 for her services to drama.
Singer Sir Elton John also paid tribute to the late Queen. He wrote, quote, "She was an inspiring presence to be around and led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace, decency and a genuine caring warmth." Sir John was knighted by the Queen in 1998 for his services to music and his charitable work.
British rock band The Rolling Stones wrote, "The Rolling Stones extend their deepest sympathy to the royal family on the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who was a constant presence in their lives as in countless others."
Lead singer of the Stones, Mick Jagger, writing on Twitter, quote, "For my whole life, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has always been there in my childhood. I can recall watching her wedding highlights on T.V. I remember her as a beautiful young lady. To the much beloved grandmother of the nation, my deepest sympathies are with the Royal family."
And of course, the Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney, who was knighted by the Queen, tweeted, "God bless Queen Elizabeth II, may she rest in peace. Long live the king."
Let's bring in Simon Perry now. He's the Chief Foreign Correspondent for People Magazine.
Thanks for joining us, Simon. Depictions of the Queen and the British monarchy have appeared in films and televisions for many years. But it's really been in recent years that we've seen the popularity skyrocket, perhaps most exempt -- best exemplified by "The Crown" on Netflix. How have these representations --
SIMON PERRY, CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: Yes.
TAPPER: -- in popular media shaped how people perceive the monarchy? And is it accurate and fair?
PERRY: Evening, Jake. Yes, "The crown," you're right, really, I sensed -- I've covered the royal family for more than 20 years, and I sense when "The Crown" came out that especially that first season, when she portrayed her as obviously as a young woman, a beautiful young woman and falling in love with the Prince Philip, you know, dashing sailor and all the rest. It basically -- I think it took people to a time when it didn't really -- it's so long ago now, they didn't know of that romantic and, bluntly, quite starry and very sexy couple. And I think that took people into a new realm with the Queen is suddenly enlightened them that, yes, she was just a normal woman of extraordinary position, obviously, but a young woman falling in love like anyone else. And I sense at that point, yes, I think there's a greater appreciation for her and, and going forward then a lot more fun thus, I think, in these last years.
TAPPER: Yes, I'm a fan of "The Crown," I love it. But I have also heard people who are far more expert than I, about the royal family, criticize it and say that each successive season gets less and less accurate and more and more made up. I don't know what's real. And like I said, it's a T.V. show, and I enjoy it, but what's your perspective?
PERRY: Well, I agree there may be scenes and there's obviously dialogue made up, but you can't know all those scenes what was said. But I think the main thrust is largely true. And I think where the Queen is concerned and that's the person we're talking about tonight, the story has largely been true and gets her character and most importantly gets, you know, roughly through those 70 odd years that we're talking about now, it gets her character.
And it's interesting that your clips with Dame Helen Mirren and Mick Jagger, these 70s something showbiz stars that are British, have only known one queen. And they too are looking back like we are to ordinary life. And, yes, and "The Crown" top is that.
TAPPER: There are, of course, have been many scandals and tragedies throughout Queen Elizabeth's longtime reign, perhaps most notably Princess Diana, who --
TAPPER: -- died 25 years ago last month, she has been the subject of many of these films and documentaries. There's a great new documentary on HBO about her, bringing her story to new generations. Prince Charles depiction, you talked about how -- you think that the depiction of Queen Elizabeth is accurate. It's also fairly flattering. The depiction of Prince Charles --
TAPPER: -- on "The Crown," King Charles, I should say now, less than complimentary. Might that impact his reign as king and Camilla's reign as queen consort?
PERRY: Was a good question. I agree that Diana centered story, which "The Crown" largely reflects and most books and the recent documentary like you've just mentioned, "The Princess," make difficult viewing at the very least for Prince Charles and his supporters. But his friends would say, you know, that that's not the full picture. And that I think over the coming months now as King Charles III, we're going to see a lot more of a -- a lot more and more obviously, and people may be coming to him new, coming to him fresh and find out new things and maybe fleshing out their opinions of him.
At the moment, obviously, he's grieving his mother and is set to sort of lead this country and in many parts of the world in remembering his mother. So, I think a lot of affection and grief and support is going to sort of transfer towards him in the coming days.
TAPPER: Yes, I think he does have -- I think that's an astute point, Simon. He does -- he has a real opportunity now to write his own legacy with his leadership.
Simon Perry, thank you so much for your thoughts. Really appreciate it.
PERRY: Thank you.
TAPPER: Coming up next, some of the monumental tributes coming in for Queen Elizabeth. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Lighting up London's Piccadilly Circus this evening, a huge visual tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, a lasting image shining down on a place that has been a gathering spot for Londoners in times of both sadness and joy for decades. In the United States later this evening, New York's empire state building, we're told, will light up in purple with a silver sparkle in order to honor the Queen's memory.
Queen Elizabeth II lived through many difficult times not only for the world and her nation but for her family. Many of those scandals happened in 1992. Three of her children's marriages collapsed.
And if fire destroyed hundreds of rooms in Windsor Castle, fast forward to 2019, the Queen's third child, Prince Andrew, stepped down from public duties after years of negative coverage of his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, including accusations, which he denies, of sexually assaulting a teenage girl. The following year, her grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markel announced their decision to step back as senior members of the royal family, they moved to the United States.
The Queen has also lived through many personal family losses. Some to note the tragic 1997 car crash that of course took the life of her daughter in law, Princess Diana, Prince Charles first wife and the mother of her grandsons, Prince Harry and Prince William. In and 2002 within six weeks of each other, she lost the queen mother at the age of 101 and her sister, Princess Margaret. Just over a year ago, her husband, Prince Philip, died at the age of 99.
Let's bring in Ayesha Hazarika. She's a columnist for the Evening Standard, and a Times Radio Broadcaster.
Ayesha, thanks for joining us. There's so much division in the U.K. right now. It's strange for an American to be saying that, I suppose, but we see it as well, although maybe you see more here where I am. But there's the recent resignation from Prime Minister Johnson, high prices for food, high prices for fuel, inflation. Is there anything in this moment that is letting the nation, at least momentarily unified, you think?
AYESHA HAZARIKA, TIMES RADIO BROADCASTER: Well, I think the Queen has united the country in her death as she did in her life. You're absolutely right, Britain is a very fractured and a very frightened place right now. We've had a lot of political upheaval, we're facing this huge inflation crisis, this economic crisis, we've just had a political crisis with the whole Brexit issue. And what's interesting is seeing leading politicians from across the spectrum sort of cease the fighting and come together to pay tribute to this extraordinary woman.
And I think for so many of us, we have lived as Elizabethans, and it's only now that she is gone that that is really sinking in. She's been this golden thread of history through turbulent political times, military times, economic change, technological change, she's been this real constant in our society.
And we've had so much change in terms of political leadership. The United Kingdom has had four prime ministers in the last six years, and she has been this constant. And I think we will really, really miss her. And we're beginning to feel that tonight, but I think it will take a while to really process this.
TAPPER: It seems that it would be an unsettling moment right now for the people of the U.K., given the fact that you have a brand new, I mean, been on the job for two days, relatively unpopular, relatively untested, relatively unknown prime minister and now the loss of your queen of 70 years, this obviously is an opportunity for both the prime minister and King Charles III, but does it feel unsettling?
HAZARIKA: I think it will feel really unsettling to a lot of people. And as you see, the circumstances are really extraordinary to have just overseen this transition of power just 48 hours ago with Liz Truss coming in as the new prime minister, and now the Queen passes away. And certainly from the conversations I've had with people today, and I think the mood out on the street as well, there is a lot of anxiety, there's a lot of people, obviously, mourning her death, celebrating her life, celebrating her service but also feeling as you say, that quiet anxiety. We are living through really, really difficult times right now.
And I was struck by the Queen's intervention during the pandemic, again, another moment of real worry, anxiety, you know, frightening times for people, and she came on our television screens, she broadcast to the nation, and she provided stability, she provided leadership, she provided a sense of comfort to people. And I think over the coming days, people will really be reflecting on that. Because for so many of us, we have just always lived our lives under her reign and she's been a very quiet but powerful steadying force in British life.
TAPPER: There's also going to be some changes that maybe folks outside the U.K. don't even realize, you're going to have new stamps, you're going to have a revised national song, can't sing God Save the Queen anymore, I suppose, you're going to have a new face on your currency, what's going to be the toughest change that you have to adapt to?
HAZARIKA: I think it's just going to be interesting getting used to having King Charles III, because we're so used to seeing the Queen, you know, she's such a sort of staple in our lives. And even our legal profession, top lawyers in this country are called Queen's Counsel, they will become King's Counsel now. So it's going to be a really big mind shift for us all. When we open our parliament, we have the Queen's speech that will become the King's speech. So, there's going to be a lot of change that we're all going to have to get used to.
TAPPER: Ayesha Hazarika, thank you so much. And of course, our condolences to you and all of our brothers and sisters, I guess our cousins, we should say, across the pond for this loss.
Just 25 years old, Queen Elizabeth lost her father and was thrust into a position that would set the tone for the rest of her time on the throne, whether or not to televise her coronation, whether or not to stick with tradition, whether or not to catapult the monarchy into the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Preparations got underway for the coronation, the ceremony where Elizabeth would be officially crowned and anointed queen. One question loomed large over the plans, would the coronation be broadcast on television? SALLY BEDELL SMITH, AUTHOR, "ELIZABETH THE QUEEN, THE LIFE OF A MODERN MONARCH": When it was suggested to the Queen, she was very much against it. She's -- the cameras would be intrusive, that they would somehow violate the 1000 year tradition of the coronation.
FOSTER (voice-over): Whilst the Queen was a traditionalist, she was also open to modernization. And in the end, it was her husband who convinced her to allow cameras into the ceremony.
SMITH: One of the great things about the Queen was that she always had an open mind. If someone came to her with an argument that was very well buttressed, she would listen, and if it was a persuasive argument, she would change her mind, and that's what she did with the coronation.
FOSTER (voice-over): The day of the coronation, millions of people across the globe, watch the sacred ceremony.
HUGO VICKERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That was the moment when the whole of the nation, the whole of the Commonwealth, arguably the whole world, recognized her as Queen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Your Majesty willing to take the oath?
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: I am willing.
PENNY JUNOR, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: It was a very solemn ceremony and it was so meaningful to Elizabeth. She took her vows so seriously.
FOSTER (on camera): Without God (ph), she's made this lifelong commitment. So, it all goes back to that moment, doesn't it?
JUNOR: I'm absolutely certain that the reason she never abdicated was because she made that commitment to God in that solemn ceremony of her coronation.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
TAPPER: And tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, you can see the CNN special report, "A Queen for the Ages: Elizabeth II" only on CNN.
What we're learning about plans to honor the Queen, that's next.