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Queen's Coffin in Edinburgh as Final Journey Begins; Russians Retreat Amid Rapid Ukrainian Gains in East; Arab World Mourn Queen, Looks Ahead to King Charles III. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired September 12, 2022 - 04:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: A very good morning. Welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Becky Anderson at Buckingham Palace. And it is just after 9:00 here. We begin with another emotional day in both London and in Edinburgh as Britain's Queen Elizabeth embarks on her final journey.

Right now, the Queen is lying in rest at the royal family's official Scottish residence after arriving Sunday in Edinburgh where crowds turned out to pay their final respects. In the hours to come, the Queen's coffin will be taken in procession from the palace of Holyrood house to St. Giles' cathedral for a prayer service.

Well, God save the King played as Charles III was proclaimed king across the U.K., including in Scotland. He was formally confirmed as the new monarch on Saturday before meeting with Commonwealth leaders in London on Sunday. And in the hours ahead, King Charles will visit Westminster hall where he'll receive condolences from both Houses of Parliament. He will later depart for Edinburgh to take part in the service for the Queen.

CNN royal historian Kate Williams joining me now here at Buckingham Palace. And it is a busy day ahead. We also have Nic Robertson standing by with more from Edinburgh. Let's start with you, Kate. King Charles III well and truly now ensconced in his new role and it is a busy day for him and a busy week.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Yes, Becky. This is really the beginning of the king's constitutional role. We've seen him address the nation in the speech that he gave about his mother, that very moving speech in which he wished her with the angels to her rest. Then the accession council, privy council filmed for the first time ever. And now he is really in the Constitution duties. He's met the Commonwealth leaders. He's met the Prime Minister and now it's a case of really, he's going to receive condolences at Westminster Hall. The monarch can't go into Parliament. That's historically the case after Charles I tried to go in and kidnap some MPs. So never since a tradition.

Then he's going to go to Scotland and really there, to convent his mother is there lying in rest, the thanks giving service in Scotland and just the beginning a tour around the U.K. He's also going to go to Northern Ireland and he's met commonwealth leaders. So, it really is Charles who is our oldest person ever to come to the throne, the longest serving apprentice as king is doing the constitutional role. And it is -- when you're a monarch, there's no time to grieve. You go straight into it.

ANDERSON: You will be in Scotland later on today. Let's bring in Nic Robertson, who is in Edinburgh. You know, an iconic image of the casket yesterday draped in the royal standard of Scotland. We saw Princess Ann clearly visibly moved as she curtsied before the Queen's coffin. She had, Nic, spent six hours yesterday following the hurst in what was a slow journey through Scotland from Balmoral to Edinburgh. What can we expect there today?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Becky, I think that image of Princess Ann curtseying really caught everyone's attention. The royal family will be walking up the Royal Mile from the palace of Holyrood House at the bottom of the hill here. This road, the Royal Mile stretches all the way up to the Edinburgh Castle just around the corner. They'll be stopping of course at St. Giles Cathedral where the Queen's coffin will be brought for that prayer service.

But there's a lot of people gathering here and a lot of people are expected to be here at the roadside to watch the royal family make their way on foot up these cobbled streets. When you think of the emotion that Princess Ann was going through yesterday, for the royal family, this is going to be a very, very intense moment. King Charles, the queen consort walking up half a mile or so of cobbled street with thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people just a few feet away from them. They'll be in the road here.


This will be a moment where they will have a long time, close and exposed to the public, to the public's feelings. And a moment where they are composed on their way to the prayer service. King Charles on the way to the prayer service for his mother. But the presence of the people, one can only begin to imagine, the emotions that it might conjure among the royal family. And of course, the people here to watch, pay their respects, offer their wishes, good wishes as the royal family passed by.

Later in the evening there will be a vigil held by the royal family around the coffin in St. Giles cathedral, that's following on from the prayer service earlier in the day and a couple of constitutional duties if you will for King Charles. He'll meet with the first minister of Scotland Nicola Ferguson. Remembering, of course, that her party is pushing for an independence referendum right now. After that, King Charles and the queen consort will go to the Scottish Parliament just across the road from the palace of Holyrood House in Holyrood, to see the Scottish Parliament. And there to hear a motion of condolence read out. So, constitutional duties. But I do think that that walk up this street with the crowds so close watching will be a heavy moment for everyone, I think.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Nic talking there about the very public grieving of the royal family today as they will follow the coffin up the Royal Mile. It's been interesting how we have had glimpses of the wider royal family over the past sort of 72 hours. And you and I have talked about this already, Princess William and Harry on a short 45 minute walk about in Windsor yesterday. We saw others at Balmoral looking at some of the memorials and the flowers that have been left. As we have been saying not just Prince Charles but his sister Princess Ann clearly very moved, curtseying in front of the casket as it arrived at the palace of Holyrood House yesterday.

Is this -- are these images that we're seeing yet do you think indicative of how the royal family will show themselves going forward? Who will be more visible, who perhaps will be a little more in the background going forward?

WILLIAMS: Yes, these are the questions we're asking, Becky. What will the new monarchy under King Charles look like. Under the Queen, it's been the firm. You and I have covered so many royal events. Big balcony waves, big groups and then there were talks of a slimmed down monarchy increasingly. Is that going to happen under King Charles III? And certainly, I think that people might say that there's a public appetite for reduced monarchy. But as other people said, how do all the duties get done?

And certainly, operation unicorn, which was yesterday, the -- such a beautiful journey of the Queen from Balmoral, bought by Queen Victoria that she always loved to much to Holyrood House, that thousand year old palace of her ancestors. And that was all planned by her and that she chose Princess Ann to be beside her to accompany her as you said that moving image of her curtsying, that really showed I think the Queen's trust and affection for Princess Ann and how significant it was in 2013 that women now can inherit the throne in birth order. Whereas Ann is below her brothers.

And I think how Charles will govern certainly how Charles will be King, he needs the backup of the wider royal family. His popularity ratings have in the past been very low. Now we have seen huge popularity for him perhaps by the surprising considering how low his popularity ratings are. But it may be a honeymoon period and I think he needs the support of the wider royal family particularly his sons and can bring them in, Harry and Meghan.

ANDERSON: Yes, let's be quite frank. We know you seen lining the streets here will be genuinely will be people who are, you know, pro- monarchy, you know, very supportive of the royal family. So, I think time will tell just how popular King Charles III will be.

I can't let you go without talking about the corgis because, you know, very sad the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. We know about her huge love for dogs and the huge love for her pets. What happens to those corgis doggies, the springer spaniel, now do we know?

WILLIAMS: Well, the corgis, as you said, the Queen adored corgis. She had her first ever corgi, Susan, as 18th birthday present and bred 14 generations of corgis.

ANDERSON: 14? Wow. WILLIAMS: Yes, from Susan. And of course, where doggies.


Princess Diana used to call them the moving carpet because they used to go all around this giant grouping of corgis and running all around. But any time anyone visited Buckingham Palace the corgis would be there. And the Queen always wanted the corgis, she never wanted -- she always wants to outlive the corgis.

But there are only two remaining. So, the Monty and Willow the stars of the 2012 when the Queen was a Bond girl talking to Daniel Craig inside the palace, they are no longer with us. They are going, we understand, to the Duke of York. But I think that the corgi was a very new dog when the Queen got it and she really has popularized it. We've seen pet corgis everywhere, a giant corgi over the palace for the Jubilee. I do think that although the Queen's corgis, she's no longer with those to care for them, her love for the corgi and love for dogs will live on.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. It's always good to have you, Kate. Thank you very much indeed. Kate Williams with you -- with me here for you. And Nic Robertson, of course, in Edinburgh. Thank you, both.

We'll have more from London in a few minutes. First let's get back to Rosemary Church in Atlanta to check in on some of the other news headlines -- Rosemary.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you so much, Becky. We'll see you soon.

Well, Russia's missiles are flying as its ground forces retreat in eastern Ukraine. The damage from Russian strikes and a live report from Kharkiv. That's coming up.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church and you are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

A stunning Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced Russia into a retreat around Kharkiv. End video show Ukrainian soldiers being greeted as liberators. But as the Russians withdraw, they are launching missile attacks on key infrastructure. Firefighters race to douse the flames in Kharkiv on Sunday after a Russian strike hit a power plant. At least one person was killed and electricity was knocked out in the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions.

For the latest, CNN's Melissa Bell joins us live from Kharkiv. Good to see you, Melissa. So, what is the latest on Ukraine's advances?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they have been quite remarkable. More than 3,000 square kilometers taken according to Ukrainian authorities as part of two counteroffensives. One focused on the Kherson region in the south, the other focused here on the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine.

Now, it is the one here in the Kharkiv region that has been particularly successful. We went out yesterday to see some of those villages that have been liberated over the course of the last few days. As a result of those advancing Ukrainian troops moving really very fast. We were able, Rosemary, however able to get to the edge of the territory they have retaken here in Kharkiv region to the town of Kupiansk. What we've seen on Saturday was Ukrainian flag raised over Kupiansk and over Izium to the south. And that had seemed remarkable not just for the speed of the advances of that counteroffensive that I mentioned, but also because they are such strategically important towns to Russian forces that have been occupying these areas now for more than six months.

We were able to get exclusive access to Kupiansk and what we found, in fact, Rosemary, was not so much a town entirely under Ukrainian control but one still very much being fought for by Russian forces. So, things are not quite as cut and dry as one can imagine looking at the images of the flags.

And we've hearing from Oleksii Reznikov, who is the defense minister, speaking to Western media and saying, look, we can take control of these towns but then it is key of course once we've reached them to keep control of them and to keep defending them.

As you mentioned, of course, Russian forces looking to respond and take back those key areas. And also, looking from further away to come back against Ukraine. We saw it here in Kharkiv last night as you say, those missile strikes targeting not just infrastructure but the city center with electricity here in the city of Kharkiv restored, only in the last hour or so -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, our thanks to Melissa Bell joining us live from Kharkiv.

And our special coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II continues in just a moment. We are live from Buckingham Palace with a preview of the world's final good-bye to Britain's longest serving monarch next on CNN NEWSROOM.



ANDERSON: Well, it's a tribute fit for a Queen. The world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, lights out with an image of Elizabeth II and the union jack, the 828 meter tall building, the latest in a string of iconic landmarks around the world to mark the death of the 96-year-old monarch.

Well, the UAE isn't the only Gulf state mourning the loss of the Queen. During her 70-year reign, Elizabeth met with some of the most powerful leaders of the Arab world. And I want to talk about that now with Prince Khalid bin Bandar Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United Kingdom. It's good to have you here, sir. Thank you for joining us. PRINCE KHALID BIN BANDAR AL SAUD, SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED

KINGDOM: Thank you, Becky.

ANDERSON: There have been four official visits by Saudi heads of state to Britain during Queen Elizabeth's reign. We have video of your grandfather King Khalid meeting Queen Elizabeth in 1981. How important was Queen Elizabeth II in building the relationship and continuing that relationship with Saudi?

BIN BANDAR AL SAUD: Thank you for having me under these unfortunate circumstances. And I think that obviously in a constitutional monarchy she doesn't play a direct political role, but as an example of how a leader should behave and act, I think she's had a tremendous role. You know, you look at all the qualities that one aspires to, duty, service, honor, responsibility, she embodied them so well. And I think provided an example to leaders all around the world which can only help in create relationships.

It's a strong bond between our two countries. It has been. She's reigned for all seven Saudi Kings since the founding of the Kingdom in 1932. So, it's a remarkable relationship. She's been part and parcel of it. And there's an undoubtable bond between our two monarchies and a relationship that will continue.

ANDERSON: It is a special relationship. We often talk about the U.K./U.S. relationship as having been special. But this is certainly a very special one. Can you just explain why?

BIN BANDAR AL SAUD: I think both countries share a desire to see a better, more secure, more stable world. We may be two very different countries in our nature, our culture and where we come from, but the ultimate aim of what we want to see in the international community is unified.

We work closely through thick and thin over the last 100 years. Britain is one of our oldest allies. People forget about that. And has been in good times and bad. And we have stuck with each other and worked with each other and hopefully improved each other.


I mean, Saudi Arabia has been on a positive development since its founding until today. Our development has been really dramatic. And Britain has played a key role in that, both through education of Saudis here, through British people working in Saudi and through the links that we forged both on a level at the royal level and government level and a day to day person to person level.

ANDERSON: So now that King Charles III is on the throne. Looking at his track record, to your mind, I assume that you believe this will be a friend to Saudi, the Gulf, the wider Middle East?

BIN BANDAR AL SAUD: I don't doubt it for a minute. Prince Charles -- King Charles has been very close to us throughout his life. He's been -- he shares a quality with her majesty that is really remarkable, and that is the ability to see others and have perspective when you engage with people. And I think that's incredibly important to bring people together. When you look at -- she touched a huge amount of lives around the world. Every race, creed, color, shape, size, not through lived experience but through her abilities and her qualities. And I think he shares quite a lot of that. And he'll take that forward and improve the relationship, no doubt.

ANDERSON: He has said previously that he sees himself as a defender of all faiths and on previous trips to Saudi Arabia, he has certainly sought to build bridges between different religions. He's got a great interest in Islam, too, has even learned some Arabic as I understand it. So, you know, as you look to Foster, you know, ties in a new era for Britain, how important will those qualities be in creating that sort of tolerant and inclusive society here and what somebody with his understanding of Islam can bring to that wider relationship?

BIN BANDAR AL SAUD: I mean, no doubt a huge amount. Saudi Arabia is a country that's going through its own changes, dramatic changes in the last five years. But not just the last five but the last 100. I remind people all the time, we -- my grandfather went to work on horseback. My father flew fast jets in the RAF and my cousin was the first Arab in space. So that's three generations worth of incredible change.

And I think that Prince Charles' perspective on things is really unique and beneficial to us. But it ties in very much with this transition from her majesty and the longevity she provided in leadership and I -- it's wonderful to have people who engage with you positively and encourage you.

ANDERSON: And you know, as the lead diplomat here in the U.K., your role here, your job is to ensure that the bilateral ties between the two countries are really extremely strong. There are huge opportunities in this post-Brexit environment here in the U.K. for that relationship to get stronger and stronger. What role does the sovereign play? Does this royal family play? They don't govern here. They reign. They don't rule. But what role do they play in helping foster support, improve those economic, bilateral relations?

BIN BANDAR AL SAUD: Well, I think you certainly saw with her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, sometimes you need to look at things from the outside to understand from the inside. People in this country often don't see the affect she had abroad. And the improvement to international standing she would have provided and I imagine King Charles will do the same. She was well respected, well loved, and was a, if you like, a hook that brought people here. That will continue under King Charles, I have no doubt.

And it's -- you're right they don't rule, but they influence and they influence in an indirect, wonderful way which is through example. And the example they provide not just to other leaders but to people at large is a really wonderful one. You see that running through the course of Queen Elizabeth's reign and I am sure you'll see it going forward.

ANDERSON: Saudi Arabia, home of course of many UNESCO world heritage sites since his university days, Charles has had an interest in Islamic history and art. We have been taking about his fascination with the religion of Islam. Will you be extending an invite to the King to show him what Saudi Arabia has to offer in the weeks, months to come?

BIN BANDAR AL SAUD: He has an open invitation. You know, he's had in the past some fantastic visits and seen quite a lot of site, but there's more to see now. It's better organized. It is ready and prepared and we, you know.