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Doctors Publicly Express Concern for Health of United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II; Prince Charles and Prince William of U.K. Travel Suddenly to Visit Queen Elizabeth in Scotland. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 08, 2022 - 08:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I want to get now to Max Foster. He is in London with the very latest. Max, some information has been coming in here. What can you tell us?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think we just have to look at the language. The palace didn't have to put out statements from Balmoral. It's a private estate. But they felt the need to do so. They're normally very private about the Queen's medical condition. They see it as a private matter. But when there are major updates, they do let us know.

And what they've told us is that the doctors are concerned. And that's very, very strong language from the palace. You wouldn't normally hear anything like that, you wouldn't even hear any reference to the doctors, frankly. And she remains under medical supervision, so she's at the castle. No suggestion she's being taken to hospital. So medical experts will have to read into what that means. If someone is -- if the doctors are very concerned about her health, but she's under supervision, not being taken to hospital, I don't know what that means, but there is some concern about that.

She does remain comfortable, though, we're told, at Balmoral. Other optic here is that the prime minister is tweeting about it. So addressing the issue rather than trying to keep it private. It's also been announced that Prince of Wales, the Queen's heir, is traveling immediately to Balmoral in Scotland, and he is dropping all his plans. We are also, of course, trying to -- I just checked in with Kensington Palace to see what Prince William's movements are, because obviously he's been informed. We're told all the family, key family, have been informed. But Prince William will also I'm sure be expected to visit as well.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Max, remind us of the Queen's activities over the last week, where she was seen and not seen, and what concerns have arisen over the last few days about her health.

FOSTER: Well, she always goes to Scotland to Balmoral in the summer. And she always comes to Buckingham palace to appoint a new prime minister. And the concern recently was that she announced that she would not be returning from Balmoral to appoint the prime minister, so the outgoing and incoming prime ministers have to travel all the way to Balmoral to have the audience of the Queen.

She looked very frail. But she is 96 years old, and she was standing, so I wasn't too concerned about what I saw there. I did get concerned last night when I got a message to say there was a meeting of the privy council, which is this ancient institution, very fundamental to the British constitution. There was a meeting that the Queen was due to chair by Zoom from Balmoral, and that was a very important meeting because it was swearing in Liz Truss as the prime minister, but also into the privy council. It makes some core decisions, and the prime minister needs to be on that council. That meeting was canceled, so we were now in a situation where a major constitutional event was canceled even via Zoom. We didn't get any more updates after that.

But there was lots of rumors this morning about the Queen, often happens. I did start getting concerned when I started hearing rumors of a fall at Balmoral, but I'm told that those rumors of a fall are not to be believed. I just had a message as we're speaking from Kensington Palace saying the Duke of Cambridge is traveling to Balmoral. So we got the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William and Prince Charles, both traveling immediately, canceling everything, to Balmoral.

Let's just put this into context. The story today about Prince William was his kids' first day at school. So he's dropped his kids off at school, and he's headed straight up to Balmoral. It's a very concerning situation.

KEILAR: The sense is -- and from that photo, yesterday, where we saw her meeting with Liz Truss, she appeared happy. She does have some assistance with the cane, but at one point appeared to actually be lifting it there in one of those photos. The sense then, even though you're saying your sources are saying, no, don't believe that there was a fall, but there seems to be perhaps some sort of sense that something took a turn obviously between that moment and now.

FOSTER: It does feel like that. And it's interesting, isn't it, they addressed it. There wasn't a fall. The suggestion is it is more serious, I think. It's a very worrying situation for the nation. I have to say, I just had a moment to glance across all of the British TV networks, and they're all in rolling coverage. And what I would say, when there has been these scares before, we get a subtle nudge from the palace to calm things down, and we do because that's an indication that it's not serious. What the networks -- what the palace is doing is allowing this massive rolling story to develop, which is worrying in itself.

BERMAN: Let's just be transparent about what is happening and what is different this time. We have now been told that the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge, three generations now, going to Balmoral castle to be with the Queen in Scotland. In the case of William, he was breaking plans to be with his child the first day of school. So you have the family rushing to be with the Queen.


And we have a statement, Max, from the prime minister's office. This is all language that we have not heard before. This is all a process we have not seen before, concerning the health of the 96-year-old Queen. So, that is why, as you say, you've looked around and you see all the British media and rolling coverage right now. That's why you're looking around and seeing concerned faces where you are in London.

This is -- and we don't know what's going to happen. This could be an issue of not being able to fulfill duties, this could be a simple scare and things get better. But this is as of now something that we have not seen before, Max.

FOSTER: No. And let's look at the best case scenario here. It is that the Queen may be unable to carry out those duties because she's 96 years old. She's exhausted from the meetings. You have to get ready for the prime ministerial moments, particularly when the photographers are in. She's tired and she may not be able to carry out some of the basic duties. So I think that what would happen in that situation is that she would appoint her counselors of state. They are primarily Prince William and Prince Charles, and she would appoint them and issue letters of pattern, they're called, legal notices to give them particular duties, perhaps carving them up. So someone deals with parliament, someone deals with prime ministers, and you act on my behalf.

So that might be something that's happening here. It could be something much more broad, which is what we call a regency, which is where the Queen delegates all of her powers effectively to Prince Charles. But that's quite a complex process. There's a committee that oversees that. And it has to be agreed. Has that been done already? I'm not quite sure.

But we're told the Queen is comfortable. So no indication that it is more serious than that. But there is something serious going on here, and my worry about the health is just the language of the statement, the fact that her two immediate heirs, as you say, John, are heading up to Balmoral. We don't know the state of the Queen's health, frankly. We've only have been told she has mobility issues. What is the underlying cause of that mobility issue? That's something we may be told one day, but we were never told about Prince Philip, for example. So we may never know the underlying cause of her illness. But she was 96 years old and standing the other day, as you say. So she's in rude health considering her age.

KEILAR: Yes, but she is 96 years old, as you say.

I do want to bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta to the conversation. Obviously, Sanjay, we have limited information here. But it is unusual, as Max is telling us, for the palace to say that the Queen's doctors are concerned, but they have recommended she remain under medical supervision. Knowing her age, knowing some of the health issues, at least vaguely, that she has dealt with here recently, what would she potentially remain under supervision for? What are the realm of possibilities at her age?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a pretty long list. And it somewhat is dependent on there a bit of a judgment call here as well, Brianna. This is the Queen. She's 96. So if someone had any indication of a cardiovascular, heart-lung sort of problem, that would certainly warrant it. And that's usually the sort of thing that would trigger something like this.

But it depends on how the judgment of the physicians here. The way I read the statement, following further evaluation, first of all, that was the first line of the statement, so that sort of meant that there was a little bit of a crescendo to this. They had been evaluating, now they're further evaluating. In the beginning they thought, hey, it's a little concerning, but not enough to trigger this sort of statement. Upon further evaluation, though, there is now concern.

So what changed between the more initial evaluations and then this added evaluation? Again, we don't know, and it is speculative at this point. As Max was saying, it doesn't sound like there was some sort of specific event, like a fall or trauma or something. So that really at this age you have to think about things related to blood vessels, the heart, those sorts of things. I don't even want to speculate on all those things because it just puts it out there, and we don't know.

I will say this, that it's interesting that they released this statement, and at the same time we know in the past when she has gone to the hospital, even if they didn't give details about what the hospital visit was all about, they did tell you that she was going to the hospital. That is not the case here, it seems, at least from what I'm hearing from Max. And I think that's an important point. I don't know exactly that that means, but at least at this point it seems that the doctors have said whatever this is, we feel like we can best address it still, or at least adequately address it without going to the hospital. My guess is she has facilities that are quite extensive that are available to her without going to the hospital.


But there are certain things, more intensive care that she would need in a hospital, and things that assist with breathing, things that assist with maintaining your blood pressure, heart rate, and things like that. So whether they're not doing that because she doesn't need it, whether they're not doing it because they're choosing not to do that, we don't know. But these are the sorts of conversations that I imagine are happening right now among medical professionals, how best to address this going forward.

BERMAN: And just to be clear, we don't know what her current medical condition is. All we know is that doctors say they are concerned about it, and that the Queen will remain under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle. Medical supervision, Sanjay. Again, without knowing really any details about her condition, what will doctors be looking for as they are monitoring her.

GUPTA: When we talk about medical supervision, it is what it sounds like, but I think it's sort of a degree of attention now. So this is sort of around the clock, somebody who is monitoring her just all the time now, as in the past maybe they were coming in to check on her from time to time. But when you're doing medical supervision, again, if you look at the basics, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, things like that, somebody who is monitoring that very closely, are there dips in blood pressure, are there significant fluctuations in her neurological state, things like that. So you just want to have somebody there or maybe a team of people there who are just constantly assessing the Queen. That is typically what medical supervision means. It's not a sort of routine or even frequent checks. This is sort of more round the clock supervision now.

And to be frank, this is the kind of thing that people will typically go to the hospital for. She is the Queen. So she can get a lot of those services at home. But if that supervision reveals that there are things starting to happen that can only best be addressed in the hospital, then we would likely hear that. If that is the route they choose to go. They may say, look, hospital is not on the table, we're not taking her to the hospital for whatever reason. So we have to balance that possibility as well in all of this.

KEILAR: I want to bring in, Sanjay, Trisha Goddard, journalist and former British talk show host. Trisha, just your reaction to this news, following further evaluation the Queen's doctors are concerned for her health and they have recommended she remains under medical supervision as we see Prince Charles and Prince William, her two immediate heirs, traveling to Balmoral in Scotland where she is.

TRISHA GODDARD, JOURNALIST AND FORMER BRITISH TALK SHOW HOST: It is shocking but in the surprising. I know her aides around her constantly said this is a question of age and not illness. She had COVID earlier this year.

It bears thinking about that 20 years ago, her mother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, passed away at the age of 101, but the difference is the Queen has been working nonstop. She is an absolute workhorse. She has worked as much as possible, whereas the Queen Mother didn't have that sort of frenetic life.

I think it is going to be quite shocking for Brits because, it is like that lovely grandmother you've got. She's getting older, but when things start happening naturally after all, you're still quite, oh, my God, I can't believe it. And you have to remember, Britain's in quite a lot of turmoil at the moment. We just changed prime ministers. A new cabinet has been sworn in. People are freaking out, rightly so, about energy bills and what have you.

It is going to be, I think, actually a little bit -- quite a lot destabilizing for the country to feel this is happening. I have to say, news networks have kind of been preparing this for quite some time. But our hopes and our prayers, I'm sure of all the viewers hopes and prayers are with the Queen and her family at this time.

BERMAN: Go ahead, Brianna.

KEILAR: I was just going to say, Trisha, when you talk about how much a part of the fabric of British life she is, coronated at 27, and she is now 96.

GODDARD: Absolutely, and very much been in the forefront of what is going on with the royal family. She is also the peacemaker of the royal family. There has been so much speculation about Prince Harry, and I wouldn't be surprised, by the way, if he doesn't make his way to Balmoral, because they did have a very warm relationship. They do have a very warm relationship. The Queen is very close with everybody in her family, the men in her family who served, actively served. And that includes Prince Andrew and Prince Harry, who served like her dear papa did. So I think Prince Harry, I wouldn't be surprised if you hear later on in the day that Prince Harry is making his way to Balmoral as well.


She is very much like all -- I'm going to stick my neck out here -- like many, many, many women, the linchpin of that family that holds the generations together. And Brits feel why she's at the head of the family that it is a steady ship.

So, like I said, a pretty scary time for many Brits.

BERMAN: Look, generations of Britons have known no other monarch. She just met with her 15th prime minister this week. Her first was Winston Churchill. And this week we have seen the picture of her meeting with Liz Truss, which is why you can hear the new prime minister, I think, Liz Truss, talking today, saying the whole country is deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace, and my thoughts and the thoughts of the people across our United Kingdom are with her majesty and her family. This is a picture from just this week, the 15th prime minister.


BERMAN: So it sounds like what you're saying, Trisha, again this is something the country has been prepared for, monitoring and aware of the queen's age, and her health. But still something that no doubt will be something very much at the forefront of their minds for now.

GODDARD: Oh, absolutely. And the commonwealth, remember the commonwealth as well. There has been quite a lot of turbulence, if you like, among the commonwealth. One of the things the Queen and indeed Prince Charles and I'd say Prince William have recognized is that things evolve and things change with the commonwealth. And the queen's been really supportive of that.

So I think you'll find not just in Britain, but all of the countries involved. I mean, even Australia with their Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who's self-proclaimed Republican they made it clear, this isn't about the queen, this is about the monarchy.

So, Australia as all commonwealth countries holds the queen very, very dear, whether they want to be a republic or not, they see as separate. It is going to reverberate around the world.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Max Foster has some new information from London.

Max, what can you tell us? MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the queen is the

supreme governor of the Church of England and the other person she keeps in close contact with is the archbishop of Canterbury. And he just sent a message saying my prayers and the prayers of people across the Church of England and the nation are with her majesty the queen today. May God's presence strengthen and comfort her majesty, her family, and those caring for her at Balmoral, to again emphasize the concern here that the Archbishop of Canterbury is going public with a statement where he's praying for the queen.

BERMAN: That is a remarkable statement now. You have the three pillars of society really all commenting. You have the church, you have the government, and you have the monarchy, the royal family itself, with Prince William and Prince Charles both going there.

It is a royal family, Max. But it is also a family. And all families manage health decisions and the health of their elderly patriarchs or matriarchs. Do we know how this family has been making decisions in talking about the queen's health?

FOSTER: The queen's -- well, there's two sides to it. As you know, it is a family, it is also an institution, when it comes to the institution, it is Prince Charles and Prince William who make key decisions along with the queen. So all of those big decisions around prince Andrew, about the Sussexes leaving, for example, were effectively held in committee. She was also passing on the baton to some extent allowing Charles and William to maybe the key decisions.

Behind the scenes, it was always Prince Phillip who made the big family decisions. It was always part of the deal if you like. I'm behind you in public, but in private, I make the big decisions about family moments, and about, you know, palaces and the grounds, for example. He ran all of the estates, for example.

Prince Philip wasn't there, and that was seen as one of the reasons why perhaps along the decision making around the Sussexes went a bit awry behind the scenes because Prince Philip wasn't really in charge at that time.

Now, I think, you know, frankly since Prince Philip died, the queen has been a lonely figure. She lost the key professional and personal adviser. And so behind the scenes I think she does speak to Charles. She doesn't get on as well with Charles as she does with Prince Edward, for example.

But she'll be speaking to the whole family really about decisions, about family matters. But the public face is obviously Prince Charles and Prince William and they have to balance that very personal, you know, that personal pressure of dealing with the queen's health with a public expectation to be informed and to be kept up to date.

She is such a towering figure. We all look to the queen in moments of crisis, and in moments of celebration. And she's not there in our presence, she hasn't been recently, it has been very difficult to manage. But Prince William, Prince Charles are going to have to think how to manage the optics around this. And frankly they're not doing anything to allay concerns to the public right now, which is why we are so concerned about the state of the queen's health.


KEILAR: That really puts things into context, Max, as you were describing before, that as she has been up in years, there have been health concerns, there is speculation when she does, you know, seem to have a health issue and you have the palace tamping that down. And they're not tamping that down. That is a difference. You certainly know the rhythms of the palace and how they respond and relate to reporters and this is a very different situation here.

I do want to bring in CNN chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour.

Big news coming out of Britain, Christiane, as we have learned that the queen there, doctors are monitoring obviously her medical progress, she's at Balmoral. But you have Prince Charles, Prince William, the duchess of Cornwall, all heading to Balmoral where she is.

You have the Archbishop of Canterbury responding here, the prime minister responding.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Look, it does seem that the inevitable that the country is being prepared for for so long now with her gradual withdraw and quote stepping back from public life is on the table right now. As max said, the queen has been the central focus of this country for 70 years.

Remember, it was just a few months ago, beginning of June of this year, that she celebrated her 70th anniversary on the throne. It is the longest reign of any monarch in history. If you don't include the King Louis of France who made king when he was 4 years old. She has actually reigned substantively and substantially constitutionally for 70 years.

So the entire country and the world is used to this woman being at the head of this country. We face right now in this country maximum crisis as you know with the cost of living, the inflation, the new prime minister, the upheaval in politics, the energy crisis, strikes. People are in a state of anxiety right now. And so, the queen who always had this effect of bond and of healing wounds and being sort of the uniter, people will be looking closely to watch what is going on in Balmoral.

It seems inevitable, she's 96 years old, that she has stepped out of the public limelight and public duties for a long time now and that was announced, although she does certain things, as we have been saying, as Max pointed out, she did, of course, receive the incoming prime minister and had that -- what is called the kissing of the hand or the kissing of the ring, but it is not really. It is a handshake. But it signifies the formality with which any prime minister is appointed.

And I believe, if I'm not wrong, Liz Truss is her 15th prime minister. And she has had, you know, dealt with so much in such minute public detail for 70 years that whatever happens now, the whole of this country will be, whether they believe in the monarchy or not, will be looking to any further health updates because she matters very profoundly in a maternalistic way to this country, not to mention she is the constitutional monarch, she reigns, although there is a democracy here, she does not have political power. She never has had.

She's not allowed to get involved in politics and this has been really the emblem of the United Kingdom, of Great Britain for 70 years, the monarchy is the emblem, the brand of Great Britain.

BERMAN: You bring up a good point, Christiane, her role is to bring the country together. The nation, the kingdom has looked to her for stability at times when things are unsettled. Now, it is the country that needs to rally around her or is rallying around her. It will be interesting to see the reaction. It will be interesting to see the outpouring, even as the kingdom has been preparing for her advancing years for some time.

AMANPOUR: Indeed. And look, I'll be very frank, I think many, many people, journalists included, wondered whether she would actually survive to actually celebrate with the people her 70th jubilee, her 70th anniversary as queen. And you remember that she only appeared, if I'm not mistaken, once on the balcony in that fantastic green outfit.

She did an amazing little video with Paddington bear to signify the beginning of the concert that was happening outside Buckingham palace, one of the major events of the jubilee celebration, and she tapped on a china cup, tea cup, the opening bars to the queen's song, the band queen, which then opened up that concert. It was an amazing thing.

So just to say -- I'm saying that because she's not only had this royal impact, this above the fray, this, you know, you're not allowed to touch the queen, you can -- you practically have to walk backwards when in her presence.


But she also has that populist and popular touch that can allow her to meet with James Bond, and pretend to jump out of a helicopter during the opening of the 2012 London Olympics or to do this thing with Paddington bear from the palace, to open the celebrations for her, for her jubilee.

So she is really a person -- a woman of the people, despite her incredibly removed persona. She has done her best to be a woman of the people, and let's not forget she has always said that her main -- her main purpose, her main mission, what drives her, is a sense of duty -- duty, duty, duty above everything else. And that is what drove her and that is what signified her reign and her time which continues on the throne.

BERMAN: Christiane, stand by if you will. Let me bring people up to speed on the breaking news and what has been set in motion.

It was a statement from Buckingham Palace that reads: Following further evaluation this morning, the queen's doctors are concerned for her majesty's health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision. The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are headed to Balmoral Castle in Scotland where the queen is. We've learned that Prince William is headed there as well, so her two immediate heirs on the way.

The British prime minister as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury all expressing their concerns and their thoughts.

Our live breaking news coverage continues right after this.