Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Queen's Coffin Makes Final Trip To Buckingham Palace; Ukraine Reports Stunning Gains In Counteroffensive Push. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired September 13, 2022 - 15:00   ET


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can hear the helicopters overhead as people wait for any moment now, the Queen's hearse to pass by down on Constitution Hill coming around here, right in to the central Palace Gate just behind me there, Anderson.

And you can see it's not a massive crowd per se, but these people have been waiting for quite some time to make sure that they are so close to the actual road where her hearse will pass through. A lot of them saying that they can't wait in those long lines tomorrow to see her lie-in-state, so this is the moment that they're choosing to come and mark, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I also want to bring in CNN's Matthew Chance who is also elsewhere outside Buckingham Palace. Matthew, talk a little bit about what will happen once the hearse goes through those gates.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hi, Anderson. Look, we're actually - we're right outside the gates of Buckingham Palace. You can see them just up there. They're already been swung open. The crowd has been pushed back a little bit.

But as you - as Clarissa was saying, we're waiting any moment now for the hearse to come here and for the coffin of Elizabeth II to come through these gates. It's what these people have been waiting for, for most of the day. I mean, I've been here for six or seven hours and the crowd was already here and they've been waiting here patiently in the pouring rain out of respect for the queen, but also out of a sense of historical moments as well.

People are very conscious that this is a moment in history that they are able to witness and so they're out here, standing up very patiently filming trying to capture that moment. Now, when the casket - when the hearse goes through these gates for the last time, in fact, in the direction of Buckingham Palace, it will be met by King Charles III, by his queen, Queen Camilla, Queen Consort, and it will be taken.

And we saw about 50 or 60 guards - palace guards marching in there earlier as well. So they're obviously going to be playing a role in welcoming the casket to Buckingham Palace. But it will be taken to the Bow Room, which is a private chamber at the back of Buckingham Palace. It's called the Bow Room, because it's got a big bow window at the back overlooking the grounds, the parkland at the back of Buckingham Palace and then there will be a vigil which will be attended constantly by members of the - by clerics from the Church of England until tomorrow when the funeral procession will take place from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Palace.

COOPER: Yes. And Matthew, let's - I want to just let our viewers sort of experience this moment as the people in the crowd will experience it. So at a certain point, we will not be narrating. But I just want to give sense - I mean they are very close now, Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: So - yes, so the road on the right there, the coffin will come along there.

COOPER: We're seeing the motorcade arriving, now we're seeing motorcycles coming just past the location where we are at now. It's also - let's listen in to people applauding.

The royal hearse designed by the Queen herself, bringing her body to her home where she will be laid overnight before lie-in-state in Westminster. Let's listen.

Hear the spontaneous applause, cheers as the hearse passes by. And I don't know if you can see, but those lights you see - so many of those are the lights of people's cell phones. They can't see it themselves.


They're holding up their hands so that they can get--

FOSTER: And as the Queen plans, for hearse is slowing down so as many people can see it as possible.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And this is one of the few times we've seen this outburst of noise, and applause and cheers.

COOPER: I would say it's extraordinarily moving just to be here and even as the hearse passes by.

FOSTER: You feel the moment of history, don't you? It's - as you see it with your own eyes and now they will be greeted by the Royal Family. I'm not quite sure how that's going to visualize itself. It feels to me as if they're inside the courtyard. So through that arch is a large courtyard at the center of the palace.

COOPER: Great, a guard of honor found by the King's guard will receive the coffin as it arrives through the grand entrance, then be carried by a bearer party found by the Queen's company of 1st Battalion of Grenadier Guards to the Bow Room where the coffin will be placed in the center of the Bow Room and lay at rest overnight.

The King and the Queen Consort will be there witnessing this. Well, as Max was saying, all members of the immediate Royal Family.

FOSTER: What's so poignant for me is that's the balcony we see them come out on those full Royal occasions and the last time we're going to see the cars going underneath. AMANPOUR: And Max also so moving as the crowd cheers, this is where

the Queen has come out to 70 years for state openings of Parliament for weddings, but all sorts of ceremonial events through that very odd, through those very door.

COOPER: It's also so interesting the crowd erupting in cheers once again as they know that is the last glimpse that they will have of her coffin in the hearse as she goes through those gates. There are no cameras inside.

FOSTER: I'm wondering if we all get cameras inside the courtyard. I'm not quite sure what images we're going to get up after this stage. Everything being signed off on the day, but we are told that the whole Royal Family are there to greet the coffin, but maybe they'll want their moment, the likes of, having women - William have their moment with the coffin, yet, have they, so maybe there's going to be a delay.

COOPER: I don't know if we're able to go to Clarissa Ward who is in the crowd. Clarissa, we're seeing extraordinary images of people, the lights of their cell phones, illuminating the darkness as well as the lights of television cameras and lights of the palace itself. What have you been hearing and seeing around you?

WARD: Oh, yes, I'm sorry, Anderson. Sorry. I wasn't sure if you were addressing me. So just an extraordinary moment ripple of anticipation and then the spontaneous outburst of jubilation, you saw people cheering, clapping. Everyone you can see behind me holding up their cell phones hoping to capture this moment of history to punctuate this extraordinary moment.

And we heard also the crowd chanting hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray. So many of these people have been waiting for hours, it's raining, it's getting chilly and yet this was the moment that they had been waiting for and I don't think it disappointed. I - there was a sort of bolt or a current of electricity that really rippled through this entire area. I had goosebumps in fact, because it did feel like this spontaneous outpouring of a debt of gratitude to a monarch who served this country for so many decades, who gave so much in service and so many people we've talked to here have said the same thing to us, Anderson. They came to say thank you. They came to mark the moment and they came for many in the British public to meet the moment.

And I spoke to one woman who said this is the great in Great Britain, it's about honoring these traditions and stepping up to the plate as a British citizen, and participating in whatever way they can in this moment. So it really was extraordinary to see people flooding, running, trying to get closer towards the hearse, trying to get closer towards those gates to catch this glimpse of the former monarch arriving at Buckingham Palace, Anderson.

COOPER: Clarissa, I just - I want to come back to you shortly.

Max, you're hearing that there may be cameras?

FOSTER: I'm told, but sources within the royal fold, let's call it that, that they were expecting cameras to capture the moment of the coffin being greeted by the family. But everything's - the family decides everything here, maybe they're not comfortable for the cameras to be on yet or they decided against that or there's just a period now. I don't know, maybe there's a period where they want to have a private moment before the public sees it. But I know that all the family, all the children or grandchildren and their spouses are in the palace.

COOPER: Okay. Yes, there's definitely conflicting reports some in the - others have heard that they're - they've decided there won't be cameras.


So we will just have to wait and see, obviously.

But it's interesting to know what is going on right now, which is, I mean, has the Royal Family gotten together this many in one place at one time? I mean, what would be the last time that would have happened?

FOSTER: So the - obviously, Harry and Meghan haven't been in the fold at all when the whole family has been gathered. There was the Jubilee. They came for certain events, but you didn't see them all together. Then you had Balmoral when the Queen died and Harry went up there. We haven't had a full royal event effectively with them all there, apart from the Jubilee, but they're dipping on that one. Harry, we never saw Harry and William together.

AMANPOUR: But, of course, you did on the weekend, right?


AMANPOUR: When they came out at Windsor, the two families, the two brothers in there.

FOSTER: Which I think is one of the most profound parts of this whole series of events we've seen for - what I was told was very shortly before William was - we're expecting William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales to do a walk about in Windsor, that was planned. Shortly before that, William reached out to Harry and Harry accepted the invitation to join them.

And that - who knows if that's them making up and moving forward in a new way. But either way, it was a - it was a big gesture, I think, to the Queen, to put those differences behind them. And actually, someone close to William told me, it was a show of unity. So both brothers show - they expect the country to come together at times like this, they should express that for the country.

COOPER: I want to go to CNN's Matthew Chance who's also just outside the gates of Buckingham Palace. Matthew, I just want to get your vantage point of what it was like from where you are. And Clarissa used the term kind of a bolt of electricity went through the crowd and you could really feel that. I mean, it's a cliche, it's often used, but it's - some things are cliches for a reason, they're very true and that there was something electric about seeing the hearse so close, seeing her majesty as she is brought for the final time inside the gates of Buckingham Palace, Matthew.

CHANCE: Yes. I mean, it's - Anderson, it's why all these thousands of people have been lining the streets and this area around Buckingham Palace. We're right at the gates now waiting in the pouring rain very patiently to just catch that glimpse. Because there is so much respect for the Queen, she's held in such high esteem across the generations. I mean, it's incredible to me, I thought it would be - many people would be older generation that would come out and pay their respects in this way.

But in fact, you're seeing all people, you're seeing young families, you're seeing little children clamoring up on the fence, on the gates of Buckingham Palace to see if they could catch a glimpse of the casket as it made its way through for the last time into the palace. I think that just gives you a sense of just how much respect the Queen has been held in across the country, whether or not people are huge supporters of the monarchy or not, the Queen cuts through it all and that may not be true, of course, necessarily of future monarchs.

I think what's interesting as well, though, is that a lot of people have come here because it's the idea that they're witnessing history, people are very aware of the idea that this is an historical moment. It's, obviously, it doesn't happen very often, it hasn't happened for 70 years. And so people have made the effort to come out in this appalling weather to catch a glimpse, because they want to be a part of it. They want to witness history unfolding. That's an important factor and we're going to be seeing it again and again, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of times over the coming days, Anderson.

COOPER: Matthew Chance, thank you for that. We've just gotten some more word that we're not now expecting to see--

FOSTER: We're hearing that from the broadcasters who are organizing the event. It could be recorded and we may get it later, we'll see. I mean, you've got to remember this, ultimately, this is a family and they're grieving and they're trying to balance what the public needs to see and what they expect - I mean, they - you don't know how you're going to react when your relatives coffin is presented in front of you whether you want the world to see that.

AMANPOUR: And I think you just sort of mentioned the key element or a key element here, the broadcasters, is obviously not escaped anybody's notice that this is meticulously shown to the world and to the whole country every second of the way since the first announcement of the fact that the Queen was under medical supervision, that there were concerns for her health.

And this is not an accident. This is designed a full 10 to 12 days of saturation coverage to imprint this system, this British system into the minds and into the hearts of these people for the forseeable and to give the new monarch all of this as he then has to cement his space.

COOPER: That's such an important point. That it's not - that the broadcasting here from - the British broadcasters is not just the honoring the Queen it's also handing it over to Prince Charles-- [15:15:08]

AMANPOUR: And preserving the monarchy.

COOPER: --as the best possible - in the best possible light. I mean, he - Prince - excuse me, King Charles has already gotten high marks for - I mean, his initial speech that he made, a televised address, I mean, it was done extraordinarily well and no matter kind of how you look at this.

FOSTER: It was. I mean, there's so many questions people had about the monarchy coming forward and he addressed them all in many different ways, from the Sussexes to the fact that he's got these issues, which are quite controversial. He says he's going to leave them behind to recognizing the non-negotiable figure in all of this, which is Camilla, all the way along, she was part of it and keeps emphasizing it at all his speeches, she is here, don't go near that, she - and that was the last big gesture, probably, that the Queen gave Charles that he wanted that title for Camilla.

I don't think - many times, I don't think she's that bothered about the title or even the role. She loves her husband and she loves her life in the West Country and she is a - has a huge sense of public duty. But it was Charles that wanted her to be Queen Consort.

COOPER: And right now as we speak, we're not seeing it, but the family has gathered, it has gone from being this extraordinarily public event to the private grief of this family gathered together in a way that we haven't seen them gather together for quite some time. And escorting their mother, their grandmother, their queen to the Bow Room she will, in her coffin, be all night, ministers holding vigil throughout the night as well.

FOSTER: Looking ahead to it, what will be quite an extraordinary day tomorrow, a full ceremonial procession (inaudible), you've been here before to see those possessions, this is going to be bigger and it's going to be quite profound. And then the coffin will be laid to rest in Westminster Hall when the British public will have a chance to pay their respects and I think it's going to be a truly extraordinary moment, only comparable to the funeral of Winston Churchill.

AMANPOUR: And the last time, I mean, she's the last living link in terms of monarchy to the war. And one of the last times or previous times that this Mall was absolutely jam packed was when she was a princess and her father and mother came out onto that balcony with the kids on VE Day, the end of the war. There's so much history wrapped up--

COOPER: It's extraordinary.

AMANPOUR: --in her reign and what it spanned in this very location.

COOPER: Yeah, a historic event all - every day, tomorrow as well, we will - obviously, CNN is going to be covering it from beginning to end for Max, for Christiane, for Clarissa and Matthew. I'm Anderson Cooper, let's go back right now to Alisyn and Victor in New York. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Anderson, thank you so much. It's been

really poignant from here to watch all of that as well, particularly, I thought, the rousing applause as the hearse went by and the hip hip hooray.


CAMEROTA: I mean, it was - Clarissa said, you could hear the people thanking her, basically, for all of the constancy and the stability that she brought to the country.

BLACKWELL: And we're going to see 10s of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands more, likely hundreds of thousands to go to Westminster Abbey and stand along the procession tomorrow to thank her as well.

CAMEROTA: All right. Meanwhile, there's other news to cover and that is that Russian forces are fleeing parts of Ukraine so quickly, they're leaving behind ammunition and weaponry. We have all the new details.

BLACKWELL: And President Biden takes a victory lap today for his latest economic victory, but stocks are sinking on today's disappointing inflation report. We're live from the White House, that's next.



BLACKWELL: Ukraine says it continues to reclaim huge sections of the territory from Russian forces as Ukrainian troops continue a swift and stunning counter offensive that has Russian troops on the run in some areas. President Zelenskyy now says his forces have recaptured roughly 2,300 square miles of land in the past two weeks alone. Look at this video, highlights just how quickly the Ukrainians were able to overtake the Russian occupiers.

CAMEROTA: There's also new video that confirms that Russian troops have deserted a number of Ukraine towns leaving behind abandoned tanks, equipment and ammunition. CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now. Fred, how is all of this playing in Russia?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really interesting, Alisyn, because on the face of it, the Russian leadership appears to be completely unfazed by all this. It's quite interesting as Vladimir Putin actually had a phone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz just a couple of hours ago. In there, he spoke about violations on the part of the Ukrainians.

And earlier today there was a conference call with journalists by the spokesman for the Kremlin by Dmitry Peskov, and in that he continued to try that line that he's been talking about, basically, since all of this started saying that the Russians want to and will achieve all the goals of what they call their special military operation. Of course, it's unclear whether the goalposts have shifted, but it's definitely what the Russians are still saying. Also saying they believe that the people in Russia still trust Vladimir Putin.

However, you do have some public criticism that really we haven't seen of this kind in a very long time. You have that letter that was signed by 18 Local deputies. This is not a lot of people pretty low on the political sphere, however, noteworthy that something like this is happening in public in Russia was also talked about on that Kremlin call earlier today where the spokesman said that yes, people can criticize the leadership. However, they do walk a very fine line. Of course, we know what's been happening to the opposition in Russia over the past couple of years. And then you have state TV, Kremlin-control TV and they basically been sort of putting out that Kremlin line over the past couple of months talking about Russia's - what they call - victories on the battlefield.


Tone changing there, somewhat, let's look at one example.


BORIS NADEZHDIN, RUSSIAN STATE TV PUNDIT (through interpreter): People who convinced Putin this special operation would be fast and effective really set us up. Someone must have told him Ukrainians would surrender.

VIKTOR OLEVICH, RUSSIAN ANALYST (through interpreter): Six months ago, did anyone really believe we would be surrendering towns and trying to repel a counter offensive in Kharkiv?


PLEITGEN: There were some other shows on Russian state TV, Alisyn, they're really bad at a similar tone to that. It's certainly something where some are saying these are some of the toughest moments that the Russians have been going through since the invasion started.

And then finally, you have also some Putin allies who are speaking out like for instance, Ramzan Kadyrov. He is, of course, the strong man in Chechnya. He's provided thousands of fighters to Russia's offensives in Ukraine and he has said that mistakes were made that he was going to take that up with Russia's military leadership. And if that didn't yield any results that he would then go to the state leadership. That, of course, meaning Vladimir Putin.

So you can see there does seem to be sort of some - the Russians being stunned to a certain degree. One of the big questions that was out there and this is also really important as the Kremlin was asked today, whether there could be a general mobilization in Russia. That would of course be a huge escalation. In all this, the Russian said at this point in time, no plans for that yet, Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: All right. Frederick Pleitgen, I'll take it. Thank you so much for the reporting.

Susan Glasser is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and a staff writer for The New Yorker, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling is a CNN military analyst. He also served as commanding general for the U.S. Army in Europe and seventh army. Welcome to you both.

And General, let me start with, no one doubts the Ukrainians' resolve here, the Western Allies will make sure that they have the weapons flowing in. Do they have the troop levels? Do they have the manpower to hold what they've now taken and to continue this counter offensive to take more?

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: There's a continual reinforcement, Victor, and that's a good question. I haven't heard anyone asked that question. They had actually upped gun their military in terms of recruiting more individuals since the start of the war. There have been training, not just the conventional military force, but also their territorials and their resistance forces and their special operations forces behind the lines. So yes, I think they do.

We're talking about a nation of 44 million people when all the citizens were there. If you say half of those were men and a fifth of the Ukrainian army serving right now are women, you're seeing they have the potential for continuing to recruit and to conduct these kinds of operations, which we saw on Kharkiv and Kherson. And also the ongoing hasty attacks within the Donbas. So yes, I definitely believe they do.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Susan, how about what Fred just reported there that now there are political pundits in Russia who feel emboldened enough on the airwaves, to basically say that Vladimir Putin was either duped or didn't understand something and that the collapse of the Russian troops is stunning to them? I mean, the fact that they're saying that out loud, is that different? I mean, is this a new development in Russia?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, there's a long tradition, of course, of finger pointing and blame shifting (inaudible) who's to blame, a famous Russian question. There's a long tradition also of somehow saying that it's everyone's fault, except for the tsar's fault. There have been plenty of scrubs in Russian history and yet the traditions of autocracy mean that there's usually a convenient scapegoats who are found for that.

It's notable, as he pointed out in the report that some of this is happening on state-run television. I would say that the Putin regime has been expert since the time I was there two decades ago, as a correspondent at the beginning of the Putin regime when they are expert at using and channeling dissent into the ways they want it to go into.

And having a very extreme pro war vocal minority saying not just that we should end the war, but that, in fact, we just need to be prosecuting it better doesn't necessarily cut against the interests of what Putin and the Kremlin want to see right now.

BLACKWELL: General, the territory that the Ukrainians have taken back, the Russians took post February 24th with this invasion, President Zelenskyy has said that returning to the lines before that with Russia having Crimea is not acceptable. Could they move into Crimea, take back what was taken in 2014 as well through this counter offensive?

HERTLING: That's something that President Zelenskyy has, I believe, discussed with President Biden. There is certainly a desire to, at least, have a referendum in Crimea. And I think what we would see if it was a fair referendum unlike the one that was held in 2014, it would have a different outcome than the one back then.