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Mourners Seated in Westminster Abbey for Queen's Funeral; More Dignitaries Begin Arriving for Queen's Funeral; British Troop Formations Arrive at Queen's Funeral. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 19, 2022 - 04:30   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: It's just after 9:30 in London, I'm Becky Anderson with our special coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral. Right now, the general congregation taking their seat in Westminster Abbey for that state funeral. Before the service, the Tenor Bell has been tolling. It's set to toll every minute for 96 minutes, reflecting the years of Queen Elizabeth II's life.

Members of foreign royal families, heads of state, overseas government representatives will be received at the Great West Door just moments from now by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. They will be conducted to their seats in what is known as the lantern and they will remain seated there until the royal family arrives there at Westminster Abbey. The Queen's casket will be moved in the hour ahead from Westminster Hall which is across Parliament Square from where the Abbey is situated across to the Abbey.

And this funeral, this state funeral, the likes of which we haven't seen since 1965, that was a state funeral afforded the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. This will be bigger than that. Two million people expected on the streets of London.


And here you see images as we continue with the pageantry ahead of this funeral. It is 9:34 in the evening. Let me get you to Clarissa Ward who is watching events from just outside Westminster Abbey -- Clarissa.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky. We have another bus getting closer, not clear yet who will be on that bus, but we do expect those dignitaries, world leaders, and also royal families from Sweden, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Jordan, Japan, the Emperor will be attending. Among the roughly 2,000 guests, and more than 100 foreign dignitaries who are expected to arrive shortly for this funeral.

Really, Becky, I think a demonstration of the far-reaching popularity of the Queen, but also her unique ability to engage in diplomacy across so many different nations with her unique brand of diplomacy. Billions of people are expected to watch the funeral on television, around the world. And the Queen herself, I think Becky, really understood the soft power of spectacle. After all, it was some 69 years ago here that her coronation was famously televised.

Now we are seeing something of a motorcade here, several police on motorcycles and a line of buses now pulling up towards the entrance of Westminster Abbey. Again, we don't know exactly who's on these buses, many of them have tinted windows as well. There are a couple of leaders who will not be taking these buses. But basically, the palace had asked that everybody all the dignitaries meet a certain point and arrive on these buses. Because of the logistics of this event, are so extraordinary, and in fact really unprecedented in London's history. Although we do expect U.S. President Joe Biden to arrive separately in a vehicle of his own.

And so, here, you see, now three buses pulling up, it's coming to that moment where we start to see some of the arrivals. The service still does not start for another hour in 20 minutes, but of course, for a number of logistics and security reasons, it's important to get those foreign dignitaries, heads of state, and royal families into the Abbey and in their seats with a lot of time before the action before the service begins.

So, we will be keeping a very close eye to see who gets out of those buses, and who goes into Westminster Abbey. We've seen a couple of notable arrivals so far, British Minister Jacob Reese Mogg, also the former Foreign Secretary William Hague. We expect of course the British Prime Minister Liz Truss, the Queen's 15th and final Prime Minister to read the lesson, at the beginning of the service which will be presided over by the Dean of Westminster but the Archbishop of Canterbury will also deliver the sermon. And then at the end there will be a two minute silence followed by the national anthem which during our lifetime, Becky, was always God Save the Queen, but is now of course, God Save the King.

And you can see, some of those dignitaries beginning to arrive. They have really come in from countries all across the world to pay their respects and participate in this truly historic funeral of Queen Elizabeth II -- Becky.

ANDERSON: I just saw the Prime Minister of the UAE, the ruler of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid with Reem Al Hashimy, was one of the ministers in the UAE, they have just arrived. So, having seen them, it is clear that this is the arrival of leaders from around the world. Heads of government, heads of state, members of the European monarchy and monarchy from around the world. The Japanese Emperor expected to be here.


We'll just pause on these images for just a moment. It is 9:40 in the morning here in London, these images outside Westminster Abbey ahead of what is expected to be an intensely personal service which will reflect Queen Elizabeth II's devotion to faith, to a faith that she loved. And let's just pause on these images for a moment.

And, Clarissa, what we're seeing here is truly remarkable. This is, you know, quite the diplomatic turnout. One would expected to be so, Queen Elizabeth after all reigned for 70 years. She will have met many of these dignitaries, many times. I think her trips around the world took her around the world, some 42 times. Let's just consider what we are seeing here now, as the guests enter Westminster Abbey -- Clarissa.

WARD: Well, Becky, you know we had the fortune of running into the Archbishop of Canterbury as he was crossing Westminster Bridge to greet Queen Elizabeth's coffin at Westminster Hall and he talked about the Queens unique ability in terms of her memory. She had this extraordinary ability to remember names, faces, people who she had come into contact with whether they were dignitaries, whether they were world leaders, whether they were fellow royals, or whether they were simply ordinary people. People who worked in some of the charities that she was very much devoted to.

Archbishop of Canterbury also said that King Charles III shares that, and it really is a remarkable trait when you think of the tens of thousands of people that they will have come into contact with in the course of their royal duties.

I'm not sure if you can hear behind me, Becky, and the distance, we have a marching band that is heading this way. And this is, you know, for many of the hundreds of thousands of people who have already lined the streets of London this isn't just about the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, this is also about the extraordinary display of tradition that London will be witnessing, and people around the world who are tuning in, will be witnessing throughout the course of the day.

I spoke to one woman in the crowd who said, you know, we are called Great Britain and this is what makes Britain great. This extraordinary history, this spirit of tradition, which of course we are now seeing really the culmination of that at the end of this 10 days of mourning -- Becky.

ANDERSON: That is the band of the Royal Marines playing. This is the pageantry that you would expect from such a high profile occasion here in the U.K., the likes of which we have not seen in living memory. And the juxtaposition between this rather uplifting music from the Marines is the Tenor Bell. The Tenor Bell at the Abbey which has been tolling every minute and will continue to do so until 11 a.m. That will be 96 minutes, 96 tolls reflecting the years of Queen Elizabeth II's life.

The Marine Band playing as we see the arrival of dignitaries from around the world, quite the diplomatic set up here. And those dignitaries, heads of government, heads of state being bused in to this funeral at Westminster Abbey. In what is being described as an intensely personal service which will reflect the Queen's devotion to the faith that she loved. Those dignitaries will be among the 2,000 congregation there at Westminster Abbey. That funeral will start in about an hour and a quarter's time. You just heard the Tenor Bell once again toiling there at Westminster Abbey. Let's just listen in for a moment.

According to a former Archbishop of York, he was reportedly in one of the newspapers today the Queen did not want a long boring funeral service. Today's service would lift people to, quote, glory is the way that this service, the plans for the service have been described. And you are certainly seeing some uplifting images here on the streets of London outside Westminster Abbey. The time 9:45 in the morning, an hour and a quarter ahead of what will be the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II. An event the likes of which we haven't seen in living memory. It was 1965 the last time we saw anything like this. It was a funeral, a state funeral afforded to Winston Churchill the wartime Prime Minister here in the U.K.

We are expecting to see crowds of more than a million on the streets of London today. And we are told billions will watch this on television screens around the world. The estimates are this will be most closely watched TV event ever.

These plans have been in the offing for years. I'm talking decades, at this point. So, it is no surprise to see these events going absolutely faultlessly, as you see members of the of the British military from across the board, taking part in what is the lead up to this state event.

And then, we will see in the hour to come, the Queen's casket moving from Westminster Hall, which is just across the road from Westminster Abbey. That casket will move to Westminster Abbey. The military, all part of what is a solemn but celebratory day today, the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Clarissa Ward is outside Westminster Abbey where we have now seen a steady stream of heads of government, heads of state, members of royalty from around the world arriving for this service -- Clarissa.

WARD: That's right, Becky. We are starting to see those foreign dignitaries. More than 100 from around the world arriving. Some of them arriving in these buses that have been organized to try to streamline this process. Some of them arriving in individual vehicles. All of them here, of course, to pay their respects to a monarch who 80 percent -- sorry, more than 86 percent of people in England and Wales have only ever known as their Queen. So, truly an extraordinary moment that we are witnessing playing out.

Also, the largest policing effort in London's history. Bigger than the Olympics or the Platinum Jubilee. Some 36 kilometers of barriers erected throughout the city, thousands of police officers. Hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets to try to catch a glimpse at this, really the culmination of ten days of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.

And we saw the Royal Marines there, their marching band. There's going to be a lot of pageantry throughout the day. Really speaking to the story traditions of the monarchy and of Great Britain. We've also been listening to the Tenor Bell, which has been tolling every minute and will continue to do so for 96 minutes in total, to commemorate the 96 years that Queen Elizabeth II arrived.

We do expect U.S. President Joe Biden to arrive, as well as the French President, Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and dozens of other world leaders from around the world. A testimony really to the wide ranging and far-reaching popularity of

the Queen. But also, after unique ability to engage in diplomacy across many different nations and cultures, Becky.


So, everyone now really, awaiting those other foreign dignitaries, also royals, royal families from Sweden and Spain and Denmark and the Netherlands and various other nations, Jordan, the Emperor and Empress of Japan also expected to attend. And then, of course, the royal family before the service, which is expected to get underway at 11:00. So, just over an hour from now -- Becky.

ANDERSON: That's right. And we've been looking at images of the British military, as they take part in what is this incredibly well planned event. As authorities here execute on plans that have been in the offing for years. And to add to Clarissa's point there, it's about to 2,500 police officers will line the route of the Queen's final journey from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle later on today. This is the biggest security operation in British history. And they will be part of what our 10,000 strong team protecting members of the public, mourners, 3,000 police officers drafting in from forces from around the country. The military also involved.

The new head of the Metropolitan Police -- newly-installed just last week -- suggesting that this is a massive challenge. But one that the members of his forces are rising to, have risen to. They've those long lines of people. The line of duty, as it's become known. The queues of people who've been queuing to pay their respects over the last four days. Very, very little incidents that has gone off very well and security and authorities here now turning their attention to those who are lining the streets of London and to those who are inside Westminster Abbey, of course, ahead of this service -- the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II.

It is September the 19th. It is just after 9:50 in the morning, the service arrives -- it starts at 11 a.m. You've just seen the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg there in the congregation. And leaders still entering by the west door there. Clarissa, you're outside. Please describe the atmosphere?

WARD: It's a pretty extraordinary atmosphere, Becky. Because on the one hand, there is a lot of anticipation. Hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets, waiting to get a glimpse of history. But on the other hand, it's definitely gray skies, a somber mood, an era of reverence, I would say. And there are moments of seeming sadness and then moments of patriotism, you might say when we heard the Royal Marines playing there.

And we're now seeing another motorcade arriving of two buses. This, presumably, carrying more of the foreign dignitaries who are expected to attend. We've seen Irish leader Taoiseach is Micheal Martin, Foreign Minister of Turkey, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg -- as you mentioned there. More arrivals are taking place as I speak behind me. And it's really extraordinary to see, as well, Becky. So far, the seamless of this whole endeavor. Because it is an

extraordinary undertaking. Certainly, the largest in London's history. The last state funeral that this country saw was Winston Churchill in 1965. But so far, everything seems to be going incredibly smoothly.

That's not entirely surprising when you think that operation London Bridge -- as it has been code named -- really sort of came to be in the 1960s. And this was an operation that was reviewed multiple times a year, every single year to ensure that when the moment came, that this country was ready to make this perfect in every sense of the word.


And so, I think that is why you are seeing so many people, not just from around the country, but around the world, who have made their way here, either to see the Queen's coffin arrive at Buckingham Palace, or to join the long lines, sometimes 24 hours of people waiting to see the Queen lying in state. Or to be able to catch a glimpse of today, Becky, today's funeral -- Becky.

ANDERSON: And we are expecting to see the president of the United States and his wife arriving at Westminster Abbey in just the next couple of minutes. This funeral will be the first to be televised for a British monarch. The funeral procession of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth's father, on February 15, 1952, was televised, but not the funeral itself. King George became king unexpectedly, of course, following the education of his brother, King Edward VIII, in December of 1936. And it was on the death of King George VI that Queen Elizabeth -- princess Elizabeth as she was then, became Queen. And that was 70 years ago.

This is the inside of Westminster Abbey where the congregation is now seated, awaiting the arrival of Joe Biden and his wife. And then, the next hour will be images of the royal family leaving their residences and arriving at Westminster Abbey. The Queen's casket will move from across the road from the Palace of Westminster, where it is been lying in state for the past four days at Westminster Hall. The casket will be moved over. And you will see a procession of the royal family through Westminster Abbey.

And then procession today will include Queen Elizabeth II's great grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. They are the children of Prince of Wales, Prince and Princess of Wales. Gran-gran it's how they knew Queen Elizabeth II and they will be involved.

We are seeing the French President here, Emmanuel Macron entering Westminster Abbey. The leader of Germany -- this is the point at which the heads of state, government leaders arriving to take part in the service. An intensely personal service, which we are told will reflect Queen Elizabeth II's devotion to the faith that she loved. You're seeing the president of South Korea, the President of France, the Chancellor of Germany, amongst those who have arrived in the U.K.

Seeing the King George at a meeting at Buckingham Palace last night. And now, arriving with an hour to go before the start of the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II, born in 1926, died Thursday week in 2022.

Jair Bolsonaro, the leader Brazil in attendance. Are all Just moments away from the arrival of President Biden and his wife. This is Westminster Abbey, just before ten in the morning in London.

Heads of state, heads of government, overseas government representatives are being received at the Great West Door by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. They are being conducted to their seats in what is known as the lantern in Westminster Abbey. They will remain seated until the royal family arrives for what is a state funeral of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is Monday, the 19th of September. It is just before 10:00. That service to commence at 11 a.m. And you will see through that West Door the arrival of the U.S. president momentarily.

As the congregation takes their seats and await the arrival of the royal procession and the entering through those doors of the Queens coffin that has been lying in state at Westminster Hall these past four days. Hundreds of thousands of mourners have paid their respects. And now it is the chance of those gathered here, 2,000 of them, including heads of state. Getting an opportunity to say goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II.