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Erin Burnett Outfront

Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96, Charles Becomes King; DOJ Appeals Judge's Ruling To Grant Trump A Special Master. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 08, 2022 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight: The end of an historic reign. Britain's longest serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has passed away at the age of 96 after serving 70 years on the throne. These are pictures outside the queen's private residence in Balmoral Castle in Scotland, that is where she died peacefully this afternoon.

And her family is now gathered there. That includes King Charles III who is expected to address the United Kingdom tomorrow. And Prince William, who, of course, as of tonight is now the heir apparent to the throne of the U.K.

Queen Elizabeth's death was met with an outpouring of grief from world leaders, from people around the globe. President Biden, in fact, just moments ago paying a visit to the British embassy to pay his respects.

And on the streets of London where it is late tonight, this is the scene. People still gathered outside the gates of London's Buckingham Palace. Keep in mind, they are mourning, they are honoring a woman who has been a constant for almost everyone there. Eighty percent of people who are living in the United Kingdom were born during her rule.

Throughout the day, we have seen the memorial outside the gates of Windsor Castle grow, now a literal sea of flowers. And shortly after the palace officially announced Queen Elizabeth's death, this incredible image, a rainbow breaking through the clouds over Buckingham Palace.

Now, the announcement of her death setting into motion a meticulous plan of action that could go on for well over a week. One that is designed to ensure a smooth transition of the throne to the queen's son now, formally King Charles III. Today's tributes are a testament to the influence and the respect that Queen Elizabeth held around the world, really a model of tradition and honoring tradition.

This is a woman, frankly, who was never expected to become queen, never expected to assume that mantle. She was third in line at the time she was born in 1926. Her uncle was king, right, and abdicated because of his relationship with an American divorcee. Then her father unexpectedly became king and then she unexpectedly inherited the throne at the age of just 25.


QUEEN ELIZABETH II, UNITED KINGDOM: My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and to the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.


BURNETT: She seems so young, right? Twenty-five years old when that happened. And she upheld that oath for seven decades.

And it is stunning to think about it. When she got off the airplane from Africa after her father's death, Winston Churchill was among those on the ground to greet her. He was 15 prime ministers she would see come and go.

Think about that, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and most recently Liz Truss. In fact, it was just two days ago that the queen met with Truss, 96 years old, she was working until almost the day she died. Two days ago that picture was taken. Two days ago. Think about that.

And 13 American presidents also had the honor of meeting her. She's also credited with keeping the monarchy alive, thriving during wars and challenges and scandals and as many talked about the end of the monarchy, she strengthened it. In 2012, she traveled to Belfast, shaking hands with the one-time commander of the IRA, a historic and public symbol of peace after decades of conflict.

In 1992, of course, her son Charles and Diana agreed to separate. Five years later in Paris, Diana died in that car crash. It was a tragedy that challenged the monarchy.

The queen's response was restrained in the face of a wave of public support for Diana. The queen remained, her popularity rebounded as the world watched the royal family change with the wedding between William and Kate.

And tonight, as the House of Windsor mourns, we are seeing more tributes from the Eiffel Tower dimming its lights to a moment of silence at the New York Stock Exchange. We have reporters across the U.K.

And I want to begin tonight with Bianca Nobilo live from Buckingham Palace.

And, Bianca, you know, obviously everyone knew this day would come and yet today was very unexpected in the timing of it and how this happened and where it happened. There are still crowds where you are at Buckingham Palace at midnight. Tell us what you're seeing.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are throngs of people, Erin, shock, sadness and grief. As you mentioned, the queen as a 96-year-old woman, this didn't come entirely unexpected, but it was the rapidity of the deterioration -- meeting the new prime minister on Tuesday and then Thursday passing away.


And many people are saying that that is just so typical of her putting herself last and her duty first until the very end, having such a strong sense of purpose and duty to the nation.

The main refrain that we're hearing from people, though, is a sense of rudderlessness, that they have lost the historic continuity, the through line of their lives. This country is facing so much turbulence and uncertainty. After Brexit, it's struggling to redefine itself and to find its footing on the world stage. We have just come out of a period indeed, where we still are in some respects of great political turbulence through the years of Boris Johnson and now the new prime minister, Liz Truss, who is not very popular among the country at large and not a particularly well known figure. Not to mention the fact there's no longer peace on the continent of Europe.

And the queen was the figure that helped the nation through those difficult moments, whether it was the COVID-19 pandemic when the media here referred to her as comforter in chief. She was the one that people here would look to in their moments of turmoil and grief themselves. And it's just so poignant that today when it's her that they would look to, she's no longer here, Erin.

So, that's the main sense I'm getting, just one of shock and profound loss for a figure they have seen their whole lives, that's always been there either as part of the wallpaper or in a more profound and immediate way in their lives and that she carried herself with such dignity until the very end is just something else, which is that adding to that well of reverence and respect.

BURNETT: Bianca, thank you very much. And I will say to Bianca's point, during COVID, right, an image for me unforgettable was her alone at her husband's funeral, just standing alone there but still so strong in COVID.

Well, the news of her passing is a moment that so many will remember.

Nic Robertson is OUTFRONT with a look at this day.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): It was an alarming statement from Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth was ailing it warned, the 96-year-old under medical supervision at her residence in Balmoral, Scotland, after doctors became concerned.

As members of the royal family rushed from across the country to be by her side, at the home the queen had said she loved most. Harry, the duke of Sussex, arrived without his wife, Meghan.

While public figures conveyed well wishes, the world waited for news. Hours of silence from the palace, though, hinted of the graveness of the situation. And then an uneasiness settled over London as crowds of well-wishers braved heavy rain to gather at the gates of Buckingham Palace. The queen was last seen publicly on Tuesday, when she formally invited

Liz Truss to become British prime minister, carrying out this constitutional duty for the 15th time during her reign, but this time at Balmoral.

She was pictured with her characteristic smile, though looked frail. In the early evening, accompanied by a rainbow over Windsor Castle, and met with flags lowered to half staff, the announcement came.

Queen Elizabeth died peacefully at Balmoral, the royal family said.

LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Queen Elizabeth ii was the rock on which modern Britain was built. She was the very spirit of Great Britain, and that spirit will endure.

ROBERTSON: The new king paid tribute to his mother, saying her death was a moment of greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

As head of the commonwealth, the queen held together 15 nations, in an increasingly problematic union. How 73-year-old King Charles III will fare in the position which lasted largely due to fondness for his mother is unclear, a resolute and reassuring figure who had for 70 years been a constant presence, Queen Elizabeth won almost universal praise for her steadfast dedication to duty and was considered by many to be a guiding light to the nation and the world.


BURNETT: That was our Nic Robertson reporting.

I want to go now to Richard Quest, host of CNN's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS," Sally Bedell Smith, CNN contributor and the author of "Elizabeth the Queen", and Robert Hardman, columnist for "The Daily Mail", and author of "Queen of Our Times."

All of you know so much about this moment that we're in.

Richard, tributes pouring in from around the world. You've got the large crowds that Bianca is reporting on outside Buckingham Palace to honor the queen.

[19: 10:03]

What does this moment mean? I think about it, Richard, and I think, gosh, this is a woman who got off the plane finding out that she was going to be the queen, Winston Churchill was there to greet her.

It is incredible to think about it.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Duty, duty, duty, as Nic Robertson said. I think for those of us in Britain, those of us who are, if you like, subjects of what was Queen Elizabeth II.

Stephen Fry the actor summed it up in his tweet today. He said: Oh dear. Oh my. Oh heavens. Bless my soul. Oh lor. Heck. And that sort of is the way a lot of us, just talking to friends and

to family tonight because from the day I was born, she was there. I mean every event, every national moment had the queen at its center.

Duty was just something born and bred into her and certainly from her mother onwards. And so I think that feeling of what next, that uncertainty and that general feeling of it won't be the same. And you know the British, very understated.

But I think what they're concerned about this time, Erin, is the sheer large numbers of crowds of people who will be coming to London, both to pay their respects and to the funeral, and the fear is that London could actually become literally filled full of mourners.

BURNETT: So, sally, we know there had been talk about mobility issues preventing the queen from some royal duties. She's 96 years old, of course. But it does appear this was sudden, despite that, right?

Two days ago, she was, you know, obviously taking pictures and accepting the new prime minister. That picture I just showed was Prince William driving very quickly into the Balmoral estate. They had not anticipated being there. Prince Harry did not get there in time.

What are you hearing about how suddenly this happened?

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it was very sudden. The night before, Prince Charles was hosting a dinner on the other side of Scotland and there was no sense of any urgency or crisis or anything.

So, evidently, something must have happened overnight. There was an intimation when she was unable to do her Zoom call that evening. But you could tell by the haste of those cars that it was very, very urgent.

BURNETT: Yes, they did arrive with haste to try to get there in time, which, of course, both -- well, now, King Charles and William did.

Robert, Queen Elizabeth took the throne when she was 25 years old. When we played that sound bite of her, you see the youth and the hugeness of what she was undertaking. And yet she did. And 70 years passed during her reign.

What stands out to you the most? We are at this incredible crossroads now in history.

ROBERT HARDMAN, AUTHOR, "QUEEN OF OUR TIMES": Well, good evening. I mean, I think this time of the writing (ph), I think people are still trying to get their heads around what some call the second Elizabethan age.


HARDMAN: But, you know, this begun in the (INAUDIBLE) post-war rationing. You know, the Korean War was still raging when she became queen. The very first medal she pinned on the very first person was the Victoria Cross, the highest award of gallantry on a soldier from the Korean War and she's reigned all the way through decades through the space age into the digital age.

By whatever metric or standard we look back on her reign, she is unparalleled. They made the point today she's met 14 U.S. presidents. But every president from Truman up to Biden, didn't meet Lyndon Johnson but did meet Hoover in '57 on her state visit.

I don't think there's anyone in history ever and probably never will be again who's met, and not just meet but meet and known 14 U.S. presidents. I mean, that level of experience is quite extraordinary. And rather with the death of Prince Philip, suddenly people realizing quite what an extraordinary figure he was, I think we're going to see that even more so with Queen Elizabeth.

BURNETT: And King Charles III his formal title now, as he's chosen. He could have chosen any other names but he chose Charles and he's now King Charles III.

He is going to address the nation tomorrow. You'll be there. And obviously there's going to be a massive procession to Westminster in coming days. But there is -- there is a lot on his shoulders now and a lot riding on those first words that he will give the nation.

QUEST: And in many ways, Erin, the longer the queen lived, the greater that pressure became because the more loved she was, the more people say, is King Charles III up to the job?


The reality is absolutely he is. He may not be charismatic like William. He doesn't have perhaps the warmth. He's a bit stand-offish when you meet him.

But the truth is, he's had nearly 70 years practice getting ready for this. And he's been and he's taken more roles and he's taken more responsibilities.

There will be a period of adjustment, and I think what we're going to hear from the king tomorrow, I think what we're going to hear is, first of all, just a memory of his mother. And then, secondly, is the starting to unite the nation.

Although he's king immediately and there will be the accession council and the various formalities over the next few days, the coronation probably won't take place probably not until well into next year unless they can pull it off sooner.

And so, King Charles III arrives to the throne, pardon the phrase, with very big shoes to fill. But he's been practicing, rehearsing and training for a very long time.

BURNETT: Sally, there is so much riding on this. President Biden went by the British embassy tonight in New York City, the Empire State Building will shine in purple and silver to honor her legacy. Of course, the United States has a very special relationship with the U.K.

But what stands out about her is there is no world leader that has so many connections, so many ties and so much meaning to so many places. She was unique in that way, Sally.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: She absolutely was. Nobody else had traveled as much as she had. She knew every corner of the United Kingdom in a way that none of her prime ministers did, and they really relied on her to take the temperature, to find out what the people were saying. She was a really important source for them.

So she had so many dimensions. She kept all of it to herself, which made it that much easier for her prime ministers and everybody else who met her in an audience.

BURNETT: Robert, you write about what an effective stateswoman she was, which is such a significant thing to say, right? Because in a sense, it's a titular role, right? You know, foreign policy isn't run by the monarchy, that's not the U.K. system. And yet she did play such an important role.

ROBERT HARDMAN, AUTHOR, "QUEEN OF OUR TIMES": She really was a spectacle in the true sense of the word, all the way through, for example, the 1970s, a period when Britain frankly was an international laughingstock and nearly went bankrupt, she was one of the figures in Britain the other world leaders wanted to meet. Through the '80s, she held her commonwealth together, not by thumping the table and laying down the law but with gentle persuasion.

She was very conscious of the need to stay above politics, but she was extremely good at bringing people together, at coaxing kind of unity out of a situation. And when you talk, and I've been lucky enough to talk to many world leaders about her role, I mean, just her relationship with President Obama. I mean, he was absolutely captivated by her.

At a time when the relationship between the British government and the American government was a little strained but the Obamas absolutely adored the queen and she loved having them.

Probably one of her greatest friendships was with Nelson Mandela, the first act (AUDIO GAP) becoming president of South Africa. He rejoined South Africa to the commonwealth. The queen loved that and they remained firm friends right until the end of his life.

He was the only non-royal leader who could get away calling her Elizabeth. And she didn't mind at all. He sort of once said, oh, Elizabeth, you've lost weight. She thought it was great.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you all very much for staying with us.

And next, I'm going to speak to Queen Elizabeth's former personal chef who knew her more than a decade. What does he remember about the queen?

Plus, Prince Charles now king, how will he rule? And what can the world expect from the 73-year-old who will now be king?



BURNETT: You're looking at live pictures right now of Buckingham Palace in London where crowds are still gathering past midnight to mourn Britain's longest-serving monarch. At Windsor Castle, a growing memorial for the queen. You can see flowers, candles all being laid.

Scott McLean is OUTFRONT for us there at Windsor Castle.

And, Scott, you know, obviously an unexpected -- unexpected for the queen to pass today, yet people immediately coming, steady stream. There you are at 12:30 in the morning, and still people there.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, still a few stragglers here, people who have come to pay their respects. Some people have just gotten off work. This is the first opportunity that they actually had to come.

And the volume of flowers that's here is actually so large that they're going to move these inside the gates of the castle grounds at some point because they expect this to be replaced with thousands of more bouquets in the coming days.

I just want to read you some of the really personal messages that people are leaving. This one says the one and only true legend of this country, an inspiration to myself and to my family.

This one says: I am sad by your passing. You have been a constant in my life. I am sure, though, Charles will look after us. So, some reassuring things there.

You know, I could be here all day reading to you, but the things that really stand out. These two say: Thank you for your service. Thank you for your service. Duty and service are the words that you hear over and over again.

Here's what some people told me earlier today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's brought the country through some real tough times. She served herself during the war. And she's everything that's British.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The queen was everything I've grown up with. She was iconic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was called Sally Elizabeth because I was born in the year of the coronation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It will be very, very difficult being out her.

[19:25:01] We all loved her very much.


MCLEAN: So really it struck me, Erin, by how much genuine emotion that people were feeling, especially British people who don't tend to show a lot of emotion. They also don't tend to show a lot of overt patriotism perhaps, you know?

And yet, the monarchy seems to be their one unifying factor, their excuse to be patriotic. You don't see a lot of Union Jacks on people's houses. Yet when it comes to big royal events, suddenly they all come out.

The queen undoubtedly has been a unifying figure for this country across political divisions, across the four nations of this country. And so, now, the challenge falls to Charles to be that same kind of unifying force in this country -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you so much from Windsor.

I want to bring in Darren McGrady now because he served as personal chef to Queen Elizabeth and her family for 15 years.

And, Darren, I'm sorry for your loss. This is personal for you. You traveled the world with the queen and her family for more than a decade. What do you remember most about her?

DARREN MCGRADY, FORMER PERSONAL CHEF TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II: You know, it's an incredibly sad day. You know, I'm feeling those sort of pains in my stomach as if I'd lost a loved one. I think the whole nation feels the same and everyone around the world. I got to see the queen for all those years and pomp and pageantry but also behind the scenes too, the happy, smiling faces.

I'm thinking back to when I first met her, walking the corgis along the river by Balmoral Castle. The corgis chasing me, and me running away. The queen laughing out loud. I've seen her dancing at Balmoral and just seen the happy times -- those years where I cooked breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner for the most amazing lady.

BURNETT: You call her the most amazing lady, and you talk about her humor. It has been, you know, amidst the sadness and seriousness of today, some of the stories of her humor would make anyone laugh. I mean, a wonderful sense of humor she had.

She had access to anything she wanted, right? Anything she wanted. You saw that, of course, with food. You're cooking breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, anything.

And -- but you say she wasn't a foodie. What was it like to work for her, to cook for her?

MCGRADY: Yeah, when I first started working at the palace, I thought this is it. We're going to be having champagne and caviar and foie gras every night. But that wasn't the case. You know, the queen was very humble. She is quite happy just doing a

state banquet where we have to have all those rich foods on the menu when she's entertaining kings, queens, presidents from around the world. I cooked for five different presidents, Reagan, Clinton, Ford, both Presidents Bush while I was there.

But when she was on her own, just some grilled fish, grilled chicken. And she was never happier than when she was actually eating something from her own garden. Some vegetables, something that her and Princess Margaret had picked from the cages of Balmoral Castle. That's when she was happy.

BURNETT: And you were also Princess Diana's formal personal chef for several years before her tragic death. I know you held infant Prince Harry while Diana ate cereal in the kitchen. What was that like? How was working for her, and I know, of course, it would have been quite different than working with the queen.

MCGRADY: Yeah, it did cross my mind today, you know, when I'm seeing all of these photographs of the flowers building up outside Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace. You know, I was the princess chef right up until the day, waiting for her to return the next day and seeing outside the front of Kensington Palace, 25 years ago, those flowers building up and the people out there all through the night.

This is just memories of two people that created a difference in the world and touched so many people.

BURNETT: Absolutely. Well, I appreciate your taking the time and sharing your experience. So unique, such a window into somebody. Thank you, Darren.

MCGRADY: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the British Prime Minister Liz Truss was literally one of last to be photographed with the queen two days before she died at 96. She was working, at work. Now, Truss is taking office with a new king. So what happens in the U.K., a country in incredible turmoil right now?

And new tonight, the Justice Department appealing the controversial decision to grant Trump's request for a special master to review documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.



BURNETT: Tonight, new British Prime Minister Liz Truss praising the queen's legacy. It was just two days ago that the two met, providing what is now the last photo that the world saw of Queen Elizabeth before her death today.


LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: She has been a personal inspiration to me, and to many Britons. Her devotion to duty is an example to us all. Earlier this week, at 96, she remained determined to carry out her duties as she appointed me as her 15th prime minister. It is a day of great loss, but Queen Elizabeth II leaves a great legacy.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Matthew Chance live outside 10 Downing Street.

And, Matthew, Prime Minister Truss takes office just days -- the country facing so many challenges and now a change in the monarchy as well. This is an incredible burden for her, opportunity for her, surging energy prices, division in the country. What happens here?


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, it's a huge challenge for any prime minister to have to deal with an event of this magnitude in the country, let alone a prime minister that's only been doing the job for 48 hours, two days. And so, it's an enormous challenge for which Liz Truss has to step up.

You heard some of the words she said there in praise of Queen Elizabeth shortly after the announcement that she had died. I mean in her favor, there's already a plan in place. Since the 1960s, the wheels have been turning, the plans have been laid out for the inevitable death of the queen. And so, that's now sort of springing into action. And so in one sense, the prime minister just has to stand back and allow that plan to happen.

Also, I think one of the biggest legacies, one of the most important legacies of Queen Elizabeth has been that she's left the monarchy in this country very, very strong. And so, it's not controversial that her son, Prince Charles, now King Charles III, is taking over. The succession is sort of automatic, and so that's another sort of worry off the mind of the prime minister. She's already spoken to King Charles III. And so, that's not controversial.

But there's a whole host of other problems in the country, you're right -- the energy crisis, inflation, Brexit, still dealing with that. And for that, that's a political problem. Liz Truss says she has a political plan to solve that, but we'll have to see whether that plan works out.

BURNETT: And, of course, the role of -- you see this new prime minister and a new king, one of course everyone knows, he's been 70 years preparing for the role, but nonetheless both completely new at the same time with such uncertainty.

Thank you so much.

I want to bring back Sally Bedell Smith and also Christopher Andersen joins me, because he's the author of several books on the royals, including "Brothers and Wives: Inside the Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan" which, of course, now starts to play a very significant role when you've seen all the turmoil that we've seen and allegations of dirty laundry but all of this that has been out there about the royal family in the past year.

So, Sally, brand new prime minister, brand new king. You wrote the biography on Prince Charles. Do you -- how will he reign? Will he be more of a figurehead? Will it be seen as a bridge between her and his son? Or will he take on a much more active role as a political leader?

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think he's been instilled with the constitutional principles from a very early age. He's studied the constitution.

But as Prince of Wales, he's had a great deal of freedom to be a sort of individual within the royal family. And he has been a charitable entrepreneur. He has had causes, some of which have been controversial. He really hasn't had to clear his speeches with anybody.

Now he is going to be a national institution and he's going to have to live by some fairly rigid roles. He's only going to be able to give two speeches a year, a Christmas broadcast and the commonwealth days each. They are the only ones that he'll be able to give on his own.

He'll have to have a more efficient office. There's a lot of things he's going to need to do. He'll really in effect have to operate on a different gauge from what he has been.

But he's up to it. He's aware. He's been tutored very -- you know, very closely by his mother. And he knows that he needs to be a healer and a unifier.

BURNETT: And, you know, Christopher, there had been talk in recent years that perhaps because of how long the queen had reigned that somehow they would break with tradition, that Charles would say I will abdicate and want to send this to my son.

Obviously, that's not happening. They are staying with tradition. But you have spent so much time writing about William and Harry. William is now going to be the duke of Cornwall. He's expected to become the Prince of Wales if his father bestows on him that title.

What are we going to see from William now and from Kate?

CHRISTOPHER ANDERSEN, AUTHOR: Well, you are breaking up on my ending. I'm in Stockholm, Sweden, and we're not getting such great Wi-Fi here, but I think you asked be about the impact on William?

BURNETT: Yes, William and Kate, yes.

ANDERSEN: Well, if anybody was -- we talked -- Sally talked earlier about how it has been instilled in Charles, particularly as an adult, duty and obligation and a sense of the monarchy and being such a great symbol of the nation -- actually a global symbol.


But when Charles was a child, the queen was very busy. She was a young mother and she didn't have enough time to spend with him. He'd written about it. She was more aloof in the '50s.

I'm Charles' age and I know that's quite possible for a working mom to be less hands-on. So she didn't instill in him as a young man those responsibilities but she did that with her grandchildren, with her grandson, specifically William. From a very young age, she would invite, I would say 5, 6 years old, she would invite William to Windsor Castle. They would have chats and they would have tea and she would sneak in history lessons.

She really paid attention to the kind of King William would some day be. It's just remarkable to me. She has left the monarchy in a better state than I would have ever dreamt it after the death of Diana because we cannot forget that was a moment in history when the monarchy was in serious jeopardy, and the people were not so pleased with it.

BURNETT: Yeah, and, Sally, one more question, of course. Prince Harry was there today. He was not there before she died but arrived soon after. Meghan Markle was not there but they have given up their royal titles.

Their role seems to be -- there's a little bit of chaos and disarray around that, let's just be blunt. They're estranged from King Charles such as we understand it. What happens to them now?

SMITH: Well, I mean, unless there's some miraculous reconciliation that's taken place at Balmoral Castle, I think they'll probably continue to do what they're doing. It's really a shame because at this moment, Harry and Meghan could have been enormously valuable members of the royal family. Every one of their advisers was working with them to try and make that happen. They could have been a huge help to Harry's father.

BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much.

And next, queen Elizabeth met with 13 different presidents in her life, 13. What made those bonds so strong? David Gergen met the queen, and he is next.

Plus, a major move by the Justice Department. The DOJ tonight with the appeal, appealing a ruling on a special master in the Mar-a-Lago Trump investigation.



BURNETT: Just in, president Biden addressing the passing of Queen Elizabeth II at the start of a speech to the DNC just after he went to pay his respects at the British embassy.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just stopped by the British embassy to sign the condolence book in her honor. I had the opportunity to meet her before she passed. She was an incredibly gracious and decent woman. The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people of the United Kingdom and the commonwealth in their grief.


BURNETT: Starting with Harry Truman, Harry Truman, she met him. She met him and 13 different U.S. presidents in her life. President Biden of course the last of those. The sole president she did not meet was Lyndon Johnson.

Obviously, it was quite clear, love and respect for the queen was a rare bipartisan issue. Here are just a few examples from those who met with her.


BIDEN: She reminds me of my mother, in terms of the look of her and just the generosity. She was very gracious.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: She has embodied the spirit of dignity, duty and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart.

This dinner is a humbling reminder of the fleeting nature of presidencies and prime ministerships. Your majesty's reign has spanned about a dozen of each, and counting. That makes you both a living witness to the power of our alliance and a chief source of its resilience.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: Happily, I'm conscious of the honor that is on us tonight. I ask you to join me in a toast to her majesty, the Queen.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, David Gergen, who advised four of the presidents who met with the king, including Reagan and Clinton, and Van Jones, former special advisor to President Obama.

So, David, all four presidents you advised met with Queen Elizabeth II. I know you also met her once. I'm just struck by as we hear those sound bites, is there any other person on earth that the former President Trump and President Biden would feel the exact same way about and laud in the same way?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think so, Erin. She became more and more one of a type in this world, and thank goodness for it. Coming to these shores the last 24 hours, I must tell you, it's impossible to overstate the degree of affection, respect and just a sense of graciousness that she brought to her life and brought to her position as queen.

There was a time as one of your guests said back when Princess Diana just died, the monarchy came under a lot of assault. But Queen Elizabeth -- all of that has gone away. People here today don't want to hear, they don't want to hear anything about what happened in the past that's negative. They want to live in and experience and feel how important this woman has been.

I must tell you one of my favorite memories from days gone by was accompanying President Reagan in 1982, some 40 years ago, classic Reagan because he had sort of a classy style as you know. But we went to Versailles on a 10-day foreign trip, went to Versailles for a G-7 meeting. The president got up the next morning and flew to Rome to have lunch with the pope, where the president promptly fell asleep, of course.


But then we got back on Air Force One. We had breakfast in Versailles, lunch in Rome, and went from there in the afternoon to fly to the UK, took a helicopter in to Windsor. There the queen and Prince Phillip greeted us with open arms. They put out a wonderful meal and they just were so welcoming.

It was one of those events you felt that you really understood how the world might work. But it was also very interesting how they bonded. They loved to go off both the queen and the president loved horses, as you well know, and they loved to ride together. And they had great fun doing that.

And those relationships with other presidents, I think were part of not just her charm, but how much she raised the sights of this world. We're in a world that's so fractured in so many places, to have a queen to bring us together, we should all be thankful for that. I think that's where the British people are tonight.

BURNETT: And while I think it's important we're showing video of them horseback riding. It shows these weren't just cursory relationships, these were deep personal connections.

Van, President Obama flew to the queen's castle in 2016 to help her celebrate her 90th birthday, right? At this point you're in a very different generation. She would have come in young and would have been the same age as, say, Ronald Reagan and now here she is. He was so young compared to her.

Here's some of what he said after meeting with her.


OBAMA: The queen has been a source of inspiration for me, like so many people around the world. She is truly one of my favorite people. She's an astonishing person. And a real jewel to the world and not just to the United Kingdom.


BURNETT: Very genuine, Van.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. He even compared her at one point to his grandmother, which of course no higher praise from that from anyone but certainly not for President Obama who loved his grandmother so much, when stood in the bridge for him with his own mother had passed away. You know, the Obamas were just starstruck. You saw him struggling for words.

When do you ever hear President Obama struggling for words --

BURNETT: Right, struggle for words, exactly.

JONES: That's the impact of her. And some small person apparently, I never had the chance to meet her, but everybody says.

But this huge presence and this grace and this dignity and regal quality that's just really rare. And, you know, it's clear that there will never be another queen like that in that kind of a reign. And I think everybody around the world, people watching TVs, Republicans, Democrats, united tonight in remembering somebody who's been with us our whole lives.

BURNETT: Well, there are so few things that people can feel that way about, people with such very different points of view now and this highlights that.

I mentioned her sense of humor, David. It sort of stands out. The last president that the queen visited at the White House was George W. Bush. He made a bit of a gaffe when he was welcoming her and she responded to it a day later.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: The American people are proud to welcome your majesty back to the United States. A nation you've come to know very well. After all, you've dined with 10 U.S. presidents. You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 -- in 1976.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II, UNITED KINGDOM: Mr. President, I wondered whether I should start this toast saying when I was here in 1776.


BURNETT: David, we hear about her sense of humor again and again and again. And it seems all the more powerful because of the package in which it was contained, right? You don't look at her and think she's going to be throwing a joke out there like that, and yet she did.

GERGEN: Yes. I think it was a remarkable combination because she understood that a leader must be serious. There must be a serious undertaking and she was devoted to her country, to advancing her people. But at the same time her humor made her seem a little more light-hearted and she was more relatable.

You know, the various shows that have been built up on television now I think often capture some of that humor and the sarcastic occasional repertoire.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Well, thank you both so very much. I appreciate it.

GERGEN: Thank you. BURNETT: And I hope that you will all watch a special report "A Queen For the Ages" with Max Foster who has covered her for so many years. That is tonight on CNN at 10:00.

And next, the Department of Justice appealing a federal judge's decision to grant Trump's request for a special master. They said it was urgent and they have filed it. Details are next.



BURNETT: New tonight, the Justice Department appealing Judge Aileen Cannon's ruling that a special master be appointed to review the documents seized during the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago. The DOJ warning that her decision, which halted the FBI's ability to review the documents, could cause in their words irreparable harm. This is coming just one day before the deadline that the DOJ and team Trump have to name potential candidates for the special master role and propose rules and a timeline for the review as we are heading into the heat of the political season.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

So, Evan, so we knew they had this deadline but they had a big decision about whether to formally appeal it or not. They have done that, so what happens now?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, they are asking the judge to put a pause on her order, which was an injunction, essentially preventing the FBI from having access to the documents seized when they conducted the search at Mar-a-Lago just three weeks ago.

I'll read you just a part of what the Justice Department says is the harm that comes from that injunction. They say the injunction against using classified records in the criminal investigation could impede efforts to identify the existence of any additional classified records that are not being properly stored, which itself presents the potential for ongoing risk to national security.

One of the things they point out, Erin, is that, you know, those 48 folders that did not actually have any classified documents in them, they were empty. They said that they're still investigating to try to figure out where those documents are, whether they're missing, whether they were stolen, who might have had access to them. All of those things are part of what the FBI, which is part of the intelligence community, is still investigating.

As you pointed out, the two sides are supposed to present a list of names. Given the level of disagreement between these two sides it's unclear whether they're going to be able to agree on any of those names, Erin.

BURNETT: Yeah, right, of course that deadline coming and continuing with that process as an appeal is pending. Evan, thank you so much for your reporting and thanks to all of you

for joining us.

Our coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II continues now with "AC360."