Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

King to Receive Addresses of Condolence at Westminster Hall; Artist Christian Furr Remembers Painting the Queen; Queen Will Be Lying-In-State for Public to Pay Respects; Royals Begin Solemn Day Ahead of Queen's Coffin Procession; Charles Addresses Parliament for First Time as King. Aired 4:30-4:50a ET

Aired September 12, 2022 - 04:30   ET



PRINCE KHALID BIN BANDAR AL SAUD, SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED KINGDOM: ... You know, he's had in the past some fantastic visits and he's 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, we have a lot of history to show the world. We've kept the world out for a long time and now we're letting them in. And he's welcome any time. He doesn't need to ask.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Always good to have you, Ambassador.


ANDERSON: Thank you very much indeed. Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Al Saudi here with we outside Buckingham Palace. Talking about the relationship between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the U.K. but particularly the relationship between the two families. We will be right back after this.


ANDERSON: Just after half past nine in the morning here in London. King Charles III heads to Westminster hall in the coming hour. He will receive and reply to addresses of condolences from both Houses of Parliament. After that he'll travel to a London area Royal Air Force station and from there go by plane to Edinburgh.

Portraits of Queen Elizabeth have been painted by a number of renowned artists over the years, but this one from 1995 stands out. It was painted by Christian Furr who was only 28 at the time. He became at the time the youngest artist ever commissioned to paint an official portrait of the Queen and Christian joins me now. How does one find one self in that position, painting the Queen of England at the age of 28-years-old. How did that come about?

CHRISTIAN FURR, ARTIST: Well, it happened through an organization called the Royal Overseas League which is just down the road and it's a Commonwealth organization of which the Queen was patron.

[04:35:00] And she'd seen one of my paintings that had been exhibited there. And I got a call out of the blue basically to say that the Queen would like you to paint her portrait. So, at the age of 28, I was asked to basically create a new image of the Queen.

ANDERSON: And how did you respond to that question request?

FURR: Well, basically it's an offer you can't refuse. And suddenly I had a blank canvas to fill. What was I going to do? It was the old Brit pop. And like everything that I do I research a lot. So, I looked at all the portraits that had been done before of her majesty. And to me they were a bit distant, a bit formal and a bit remote and I knew that I didn't want to do that. I wanted to go a bit closer and focus on her as a person and try to capture something of her personality which was amazing. She was very lively. She was very humorous and witty. And I hope I did her justice in the image because at the end of the day, that's what portraits is, is capturing someone's life.

ANDERSON: Yes, well let's bring it back up. And you rightly point out, this was the era of these sort of young British artists, Brit pop. It was Tony Blair had just come into office in 1997. This is, you know, a different era certainly for the artists. You say that -- but she wasn't of that era, let's be quite frank.

FURR: Very much.

ANDERSON: So, you say that she was lively. She was enthusiastic. Just walk me through that. Just walk us through that experience.

FURR: OK. So, the most nerve racking time was waiting for the Queen to arrive in the yellow drawing room over there. And I was a bit nervous. It was like being in doctor surgery. But as soon as she arrived, as everybody says, she was brilliant at putting people at their ease. And one of the things that happened that was a chance thing actually which is what really works of art I find is that she brought a blanket with her. And she said, do you mind if I put the blanket on the chair, I said nope that's fine. Because I knew that was an element that said something about her character and her personality. So that was included in the final image.

She was really chatty. I remember we discussed portraits that had been done of her in the past. And she was asking me, you know, what painters I liked and I said I really liked Gainsborough and Reynolds. Well, I think we've a few of those downstairs.

ANDERSON: Lovely. How much time did you actually spend with her?

FURR: I had two two-hour sittings, about one and a half to two hours. She was so generous with her time. She said, you know, have you got everything you need? Do you need any more sittings? And I just thought that was incredibly kind of her. But I think that was part of her generosity. She was a very generous person with her time. She knew the artists and people around her were there also to record her and record her legacy, you know. She was a great woman. And she was a great honor for me to be asked.

ANDERSON: What a time. What a period for you 28-years-old. Just reflect on how you're feeling now briefly.

FURR: Well, I've been quite emotional. And I think everybody in the nation is feeling it. My heart goes out to the royal family and to people actually in the nation and the world. You know, she had that reach. She was just an incredible force of nature. She was very stoic. She knew that that was her duty. She sort of sacrificed a life for that purpose, you know. So, she was a constant. You know, she was much like a star in the sky almost. So, I think everybody is feeling this sense of loss.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Christian. It's really good to have you. Thanks for sharing your story, the portrait is fantastic. It has to be said. Christian Furr in the house for you.

Our special coverage continues after this. New details on the public's chance to say good-bye to the Queen. We're live in London with what you need to know. That after this.



ANDERSON: Well, the U.K. government has released new details how the public can pay they respects as the Queen lies in state starting on Wednesday evening. Officials warn that queues will be extremely long. CNN's Anna Stewart joining me from where that queue, Anna, will start in London. What are the details?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, this is one of the major events in the leadup to the state funeral. An opportunity for people to be able to pay their respects to the Queen and visit her coffin and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come. Which means very, very long queues are expected. Look at the guidance that we had from the government. They're saying you will need to stand for many hours, possibly overnight with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will be continuously moving.

And you'll see, Becky, I'm actually on the other side of the Thames from the Houses of Parliament where Westminster Hall is, and that's because this is where the queue will go and it will go over Lambeth Bridge. And we can't really say how far the queue will stretch. Because we can't say at this stage just how many hundreds of thousands of people will be coming. To try to facilitate as many people as possible, they're going to keep this open for 24 hours a day from Wednesday right through to the day of the funeral. It will close at 6:30 a.m. on that Monday.

People have to go through airport style security, small bags, no liquids and also being told that people are expected to be dignified in their behavior and walk through Westminster Hall in complete silence and no photos will be allowed. It's a big tradition lying in state. It dates back to the 17th century. I mean, Westminster Hall is even older than that, 11th century, in fact. And if we look back to the last time, we had something like this, it was the Queen mother, 200,000 people showed up for that. And that will be absolutely dwarfed by this. I say hundreds of thousands, it could be over a million people -- Becky.

ANDERSON: And as you and I speak, Liz Truss, the British Prime Minister, only installed last Tuesday remember, leaving 10 Downing Street on her way to the Houses of Parliament. She will receive Prince Charles there just half an hour or so from now.


She will be there. He will address both Houses of Parliament from Westminster Hall. Liz Truss, then will accompany him on his trip around the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Liz Truss leaving 10 Downing Street, making her way to the Houses of Parliament. Anna Stewart out on the route for when the casket arrives back here in London and later this week.

I'm Becky Anderson live here at Buckingham Palace. CNN's special coverage continues in just a moment with Don Lemon. Stay with us.