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CNN Live Event/Special

Buckingham Palace: Queen's Doctors are concerned for her Health; Press Association: Royals William, Andrew, Edward and Sophie arrive at Balmoral; Royal Family Rushes to Queen's Side, Doctors "Concerned" for her Health. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired September 08, 2022 - 12:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR & ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: All those constitutions and they all have to be debated and it all has to be worked through. These are well-rehearsed in place and we're involved with them as well where we find out what might happen if the worst case scenario plays out.

But they all have to be put in place. But none of that can happen until the family has been informed of the situation. And they are all gathering there. So they either had been informed already, and they've headed there or they're going to be informed when they get there.

We're just not sure because everything is held very private, the Prime Minister might find out what's going on at the most. But once the family has been informed, and Prince Charles gives his go ahead, then the rest of the palace staff will be told and it gets disseminated from there. So we're really in this holding pattern. And it really depends on how the family wants to play it?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Christiane it really was telling us as Richard Quest was pointing out, that on Tuesday, the Queen she was able to meet with the incoming British Prime Minister, and bid goodbye to the Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson. But it was done at Balmoral not where it's traditionally done at Buckingham Palace. Normally, the Queen would have come to Buckingham Palace to meet with an incoming Prime Minister.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes, I understand. But I think we should just give her a bit of a break. She's 96-years-old, why would she get on a plane, even if she was healthy, to come to London, when actually the younger people could go up and, and see her.

I mean, seriously, you know, 96-years-old, she has the right for them to come to see her in Balmoral. And I would just say that, you know, as we were saying that she has been the thread of everyone's life in this country and in the Commonwealth, and really in the fans of the British Monarchy all over the world for the last 70 years.

We are right now in a state of some political upheaval. We've just had a new Prime Minister, her 15th. And I would also just say that, you know, she's also a mother, she's a grandmother, she's a great grandmother, she's a family woman and now it's time for them to be having their moments.

And I have to say, this rain where heavens are opening, as Max said, and it's almost for me, it's always indicative of a moment when we're in this period where everybody's worried.

Everybody sort of feels sad, even though we haven't heard anything massively formal yet. And the rains are contributing to that, even as people stand outside Buckingham Palace to see to wait to really, you know, conduct their own small vigil for the moment there.

COOPER: Yes, Bianca Nobilo, it's important to point out and as Max and Christiane were talking about, I mean, she's the Head of State in 15 countries around the world in the British Commonwealth. There are people all over the world in the Commonwealth countries who are watching this with particular eye given the effect that will have on their countries as well.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Without question, the Queen has been attributed as somebody who has enabled the monarchy to flourish and continue around the globe and throughout the Commonwealth. Obviously, that's been buffeted slightly with certain countries coming out as Republic's but they often say that people might not be monarchist.

But they are Elizabethans, because they have so much profound respect and admiration for Elizabeth II as Head of State as Head of their Commonwealth countries and she has a door from the United Kingdom to my home country in New Zealand all around the world Anderson.

And this is a moment of extreme concern and consternation until people find out more details about what she might be facing the state that she might be in obviously, as Max is saying, we will wait until the families and form before we learn any more details than that. But she is the historical through line, a towering figure of history that is has been the common thread the constant in most people's lives around the world.

COOPER: Max, I understand and correct me if this is not correct, that the traditional ceremony, the changing the guard, which normally would have taken place tomorrow that has been cancelled?

FOSTER: There's a sign saying that, yes, that could be for any reason. We haven't been told. I asked the panelists about that they're not - they're gone quiet basically, I was telling Christiane, but this is what I did worry would happen, you know, they would normally guide us away from reporting certain things, they can come completely quiet.

So it's pretty gloomy atmosphere here. And Christiane says the weather really does reflect it. You know, this, I don't think anyone really knows how they'll feel about the Queen not being in public life until it happens. Christiane and I remember Diana, you know that moment when everyone was shocked by the way they felt when she had passed.

But I don't you know, the Queen is such a consistent or constant that Bianca says, and she's nurtured that. She's there in times of crisis in times of celebration. She's there in our living rooms during her Christmas message every year. She's there at these regular moments.

We expect to see her when she's not there I think it's going to - we're going to - it's going to be a struggle on top of the fact that she's not performing in public life anymore.


FOSTER: And I think that inevitably whatever's happened here, we're not going to be seeing as much of her.

COOPER: And the latest - Max the latest you had heard on the whereabouts of the other members of the immediate family, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla they are - is that correct that they are already at Balmoral as well as the Queen's daughter, Princess Anne.

FOSTER: Yes. So the three of them are there and Edward, Amanda and Sophie I think are on their way there in the car, they land at the airport in Aberdeen, but it takes about an hour to get there. Harry is traveling separately; I've just been told that Meghan is not going to be going there. Even though initially that was what we were told by that office.

And Harry's cheering separately, I think Harry's going to ride last. So he needs to be in the Palace. Of course, these are the only members of the family and friends that we've been told about the, you know, the significant senior members really of the Royal Family, they have to tell us about them.

But there'll be many others heading into the Palace, I'm sure as well. You can see there the members of the public gathering. I mean, this is something that, you know, the Queen doesn't like to worry people and people are worried.

And this is, you know, one of the most worrying aspects of this. This story is being allowed to carry on, and we are speculating about what might happen. And normally they just do not allow that to get to that extent and people are worried.

AMANPOUR: And Max, the state broadcaster, the BBC has been enrolling coverage as well, right?

FOSTER: The Chief Anchor is wearing a black tie. What do you make of it?

AMANPOUR: Well, it's significant because there are plans in place for these kinds of situations. And it's significant. And I think when the state broadcaster is enrolling coverage; it means that it's taking this moment extremely seriously.

I mean, look, we just obviously are staying away from the D word. But you know, she's 96-years-old, she has been retreating from public life. Officially, she said it a few months ago, right? That she was not going to be delivering or conducting many of her public duties. She delegated a lot to her son and heir, Prince Charles, and it was even, you know, we were lucky to see her I think on the 70th Jubilee, the Platinum Jubilee. She only came out a couple of times, she was probably meant to take more and more of the ceremonies around her 70th anniversary.

FOSTER: The turning point, I think was you know what; she couldn't open up new parliamentary session.


FOSTER: And there are core duties that any monarch needs to carry out opening parliament, appointing a Prime Minister signing laws. She's been signing laws. She couldn't open parliament. And now she really suffered as a result of appointing a prime minister.

COOPER: That's an important point.

FOSTER: You were hearing that speech earlier on?

COOPER: That's an important point you were making that Prince Charles, you're saying and has been taking over more duties over the last several years or the last several months, as the Queen has been stepping back?

FOSTER: Well, yes, and that's been happening over time. And they've signaled that so she stopped international travel, for example, and Charles does all of that. But what, you know, the turning point really was certain core constitutional responsibilities that only she can do. So opening, a new session of parliament literally can't open without the Queen.

She is part of Parliament along with the Lords in the Commons. So when she didn't, couldn't go and open parliament, she had to sign this specific law to allow Prince Charles to do it instead of her. And that is her not being able to perform that function.

And that is very worrying, because we are a parliamentary democracy, a constitutional monarchy, and if she can't open parliament that democracy can't continue. So that was really worrying and serious. And I was referencing the speech you were playing earlier on her 21st birthday.

And this is her defining speech, and even she refers back to it, where she makes a lifelong commitment to her subjects, which is why Christiane and I always tell you that she's never going to abdicate. She won't abdicate. This is a lifelong commitment and she reiterated it didn't she at the Jubilee this year.

COOPER: Christiane, it is extraordinary. 70 years, has now been marked with Queen Elizabeth on the throne. Obviously, you talked about the longest serving monarch but just an extraordinary presence in the lives of everyone in Great Britain, everyone around the world links her - when she is England. England it is her.

AMANPOUR: Yes, England, the United Kingdom is her and actually you make a very important point right, Bianca and Max, because there are many here who are concerned that not just with the passing of this monarch when it happens, but because of Brexit because of also sorts of other issues around the Kingdom.


AMANPOUR: There may be a split up of this kingdom; you know that the Scotland wants to have another referendum. You know, there's Ireland, Northern Ireland, you know, there's all of this stuff has been bubbling and percolating.

But interestingly, today we heard from not just Former Prime Minister's here so Tony Blair, the Labour Prime Minister, David Cameron, the conservative, both putting out statements as well as the current Prime Minister Liz Truss. But also the First Minister of Scotland, she put out you know, a statement today as well saying very, very concerned about the health and the welfare of the Queen.

So she transcends all that kind of earthly political partisanship. She really does transcend that because, frankly, constitutionally, she's not allowed to be political, nor is Prince Charles. But by doing that, she sort of cocoons this country in a sort of bubble that to pretty much to this day has prevented it from spinning off into over partisan divide, right Bianca? I mean, you cover politics in Westminster. It is bad, but it's not as bad as other places and some point to the Queen as, as the unifying glue.

NOBILO: Without question, as you outline, Christiane Britain has been buffeted and challenged by trying to redefine its place in the global order. Brexit was a huge part of that, but also with the political turbulence that we've seen over the last years, and with these frictions emerging within the union of the United Kingdom.

And everyone's always looking to the Queen for a hint of what she might think politically, but she is inscrutable because that is a core part of her constitutional role. And it is unimaginable almost to think without Queen Elizabeth II as the sovereign of the United Kingdom, what would truly define it on the world stage? It is the key association of anywhere.

AMANPOUR: I mean, it's brand Britain, isn't it? Brand United Kingdom is the monarchy and the Queen.

FOSTER: It has been a few defining moments where she's stepped up that other people haven't been able to do and one of them, you know, where she's proved her worth. President Trump's visit to the UK, you know, there's huge political disruptions and ramifications around that. And there was all the chaos in the Boris Johnson, government.

And she - he came here and I was told by someone that, you know, the only woman he looks up to only person he looks up to in the world was the Queen and he came here and he really enjoyed his visit, as if Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, you know, this is something that Prime Ministers can't do.

And this was, I mean, this was an extraordinary moment, seeing two of them, go into the back garden and do that, you know, on a guard. And he was, you know, there was - there was an event that Windsor Castle where he got a bit lost. I think, you know, to be fair to Donald Trump. He was waiting for the Queen's lead, you know, how often do you see him taking the lead from anyone and she welcomed him. He adored the visit, and that was very important for the United Kingdom.

AMANPOUR: He asked the way - she has waged his desire and his love of palm.

COOPER: The life that she has had at Balmoral with her family is really remarkable. I was reading some details Max, Princess Eugenie, the Queen's granddaughter talks about Balmoral is a lovely base for granny and grandpa, please have room to breathe.

And Ron, correct me if I'm wrong, that there were family barbecues where the late Duke of Edinburgh were Prince Philip would actually do the barbecuing. And is it true the Queen Elizabeth would actually do the dishes?

FOSTER: Yes ad she drove the Land Rover until quite recently. It's where - it's a rugged life out there. I mean, it's not what you would imagine. And let's say Meghan didn't take to it too well. I don't think Diana particularly liked it up there either.

It's hunting, shooting and fishing going out for hours, up on the Moors driving Land Rovers. The Queen loved it. And Prince Philip loved it. And they - yes, they would have barbecues and once a year the Prime Minister goes and stays there. It's the highlight of the Prime Minister's year. And it's their - I don't know, it's their escape, isn't it?

AMANPOUR: --Shangri La basically a cool chilly - but nonetheless, a Shangri La. And Max I think if I'm not mistaken, it was Balmoral that was the scene for the very first public documentary on the family, right?


AMANPOUR: Didn't Prince Phillip organize that as a way to humanize the Royal Family. And it was the first that the country in the world had seen of the Royals at play, so to speak.

FOSTER: And it was only allowed - it was played twice, and it's vanished. Because as brilliant as the Queen has been with media, I think that's our acceptance that you can allow the media in too far and show too much and take too much of the mystery of magic away.

COOPER: Well, I think that's such an important point Max that you make, and we're seeing now more. So we're seeing vehicles arriving. So this occurred just a short time ago two SUVs and a third going at a relatively high speed into Balmoral and then a fourth that occurred about five minutes ago we're not sure who was in that?


COOPER: But as you say family members are rushing to get up there from different parts of Great Britain. But it's such an important point that you make that the Queen is not somebody who is taking selfies. She's not somebody who has been Instagramming every thought she ever had.

And yet, you know, it is a whole new generation of people who, whenever she does is no longer on the throne. Prince Charles obviously is the heir than Prince William's but if there's a different level of expectation for that, that citizens in Great Britain have people around the world have people in public life and the Queen was always, you know, one step back from that when after Princess Diana died, I remember being there covering that funeral.

And there was this outrage for the Queen to do more. But she did things at the pace that she thought appropriate.

AMANPOUR: I mean, it was a misstep, it was a misstep. She did not have her finger on the pulse of the people there. And actually it was Tony Blair, I think, wasn't it, who sort of persuaded her and went up to Balmoral and talked to her she was Prime Minister then about reacting to the people grieves.

Nobody had seen anything like it in this country. The parasitism of grief that was unleashed after the death of Princess Diana surprised everybody clearly the Queen as well. And her first reactions were, everybody says correctly to protect the boys.

Diana's boys were up there in Balmoral, but she omitted to understand what the people were feeling. And they not only felt grief, but they felt blame. They pointed the finger at the Royal Family for making Diana's live, essentially hell. I mean, I'm paraphrasing but that's what was happening.

And she had to come back and she had to look at all the flowers and pay respects. You know, out here and that sort of change the tone, right?

COOPER: Max, excuse me, Max, I understand you have new reporting about who was in those SUVs that we just saw going in a few minutes ago?

FOSTER: Well, we're hearing from PA who I know got a reporter up there and PA took the picture as well as Truss meeting the Queen the other day. So these are the official Land Rovers and we're told that Prince William's in one of them and the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Essex, that's Prince Edward and Sophie.

So the Senior Royals are there. I think we're just waiting on Prince Harry. He's traveling separately. I'm not quite sure how he's going to get there. But I think the only option is Aberdeen Airport, isn't it?

AMANPOUR: Yes, we're driving.

FOSTER: He is not going to be driving. If he is driving it'll be a while longer until we get an update. But we're waiting for this. You know, we need them all to be together before we're going to get an update from the Palace. I am expecting one. We've been told to be on guard for one, as it were, the timings here are very, you know, they're defined by the family. COOPER: So they want to make sure before there's any kind of an announcement, they want to make sure that all of her children and Prince William and Harry are present.

FOSTER: Well, I think that, you know, either they've been informed, and they've gone up to Balmoral, or they've gone up to Balmoral to be informed. But the family needs to be comfortable for any announcements to be made. And it all stays pretty much within the family until that point. So without them all being there, I think it would just be a bit frowned upon, I think. Do you not think if announcement was made when Harry was traveling? I think that'll be uncomfortable.

AMANPOUR: I mean, look, I just don't know. But I do know also that they have to clearly Prince Charles, who is in any event standing in for her for many, many things. Is the senior member of the Royal Family right now after his mother? Well, we'll have to be presumably being the person who makes the statement has written something about whatever it might be.

NOBILO: I think at a time like this to where it pertains to the monarch. What is most important is the sense of calm and process and deliberate action, nothing chaotic. It needs to follow a certain protocol, and it will be done in the right way.

FOSTER: I think if we heard from Prince Charles that would be the most significant announcement.

COOPER: Any announcement Max that is made. Do you - is it your understanding it would be made by Prince Charles or would it be a just a statement?

FOSTER: I mean, how far do we go in terms of speculating about what's happened? I mean, it's very difficult. I mean, in terms of--

COOPER: Well, I don't want to speculate about what happened.


COOPER: I'm just asking you about the process of how and when the announcement is made?

FOSTER: Well, the process would be - the process will be different depends whether it was a regency or as Christiane described it the D word.


FOSTER: So a very clear process if it's the D word. And the focus will very quickly come on to the gates you're looking at there were announcements will be made, and emails will be sent. And yes, there'll be a public address pre-recorded by the Prince of Wales who would then be King.

If it's Regency, it's not clear, I think the Prime Minister would be very involved in that and perhaps would make any announcements, it would basically mean that the Queen is incapacitated. And there's a committee of people including the leader of the House of Commons, and also the senior judges in this country where they'd sit around and decide whether or not Regency was required. And then regency will be declared and the Prince of Wales would adopt all of the Queen's responsibilities. All of them apart from one which was - which will be changing the line of succession he wouldn't be able to do that.

COOPER: Well, at this point what we know Princes William, Andrew and Edward have reportedly arrived now at Balmoral Castle. We saw a number of their SUVs, pulling in quite quickly through those gates that were pre-opened for their arrival that occurred probably about five to 10 minutes ago.

We replayed it now several times more of our special coverage ahead of the monitor the Queen's health and any updates from Buckingham Palace, stay with us.



COOPER: There is great concern in Britain and around the world right now after doctors put 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth under medical supervision, members of the Royal Family have now rushed to be by her side at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

We saw according to local report from the PA, a number of members of the Royal Family arriving since a short time ago. The latest reporting is that Prince Harry is on his way unclear when he may be able to get there. Anna Stewart is outside Buckingham Palace for us where she has been talking to people gathering outside the gates in this pouring rain.

Anna joins us now by phone. What do you been hearing from people this morning in the U.S. this late afternoon in Great Britain?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is late afternoon and work is over. So increasingly, we're seeing more and more people gathering here outside the gates of Buckingham Palace. And we've been seeing this now for the last few hours.

And the mood is of course incredibly somber people are just staring at the palace waiting to see whether an easel is bought out for - and speaking to some of the people here. They're here really for their respect to the Queen and many of them were involved in the Pattern Jubilee Celebrations when they all came here for that.

And I think what's so surprising is how touched and how respectful people are? Even non royal hands, I would say because in some ways the Queen transcends just the Royal Family, people have such love and respect for someone who has given her whole life to public duty.

And I think that's why people are here. Certainly some tears already. Just on the news that her majesty is not well, it's under medical supervision. And I think a lot of concern, particularly after the news that the Queen's children and grandchildren have all gone up to Balmoral.

And of course, it's been rather quiet in terms of statements from the Palace in the last couple of hours. So there's definitely a sort of mood of anticipation people staring through the gates of Buckingham Palace waiting for an update. And of course hoping, hoping for some good news. But setting the mood here is very somber.

COOPER: Anna most of the people you've been talking to - are they British? Are there many tourists there? Did people know the situation or know that the statements that have been made thus far today about doctors being concerned for her health?

STEWART: You know, it's an interesting mix, really. I would say it was primarily tourists a couple of hours ago and increasingly now British people are also joining the force and everyone here knows the news. Everyone here is asking each other have they had an update?

I just heard someone say question whether or not Meghan the Duchess of Sussex has gone to Balmoral?

Everyone is glued to their phones, as well as glued to the gates of Buckingham Palace, just awaiting any kind of update at this stage. But yes, what was I'd say primarily tourists is increasingly becoming people from the UK and actually not just from London, I met some people that have already traveled especially for this.

Lots of people wondering what happens next, if the worst news comes and wondering whether they want to stay here for the coming days, but the media - very somber very sad. Everyone wanting more information, I think at this stage.

COOPER: Anna Stewart I appreciate it. Thank you so much. I want to bring in Kate Williams, CNN Royal Commentator, along with Journalists in Royal Biographer Sally Bedell Smith and Former British Television Presenter Tricia Goddard.

Sally let me start with you. The Queen has rained for 70 years, she's the only monarch that most Britons have ever known anything more than 80 percent of the population there have never known another monarch and never been alive during another reign.

Talk about the significance of this moment. Whatever the condition of the Queen, whatever announcement is made, just the significance of her stepping back to the degree she has from public life?

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: Well, I think people have been very tolerant of the fact that she has needed to slow down. I think she has very sensibly deputized Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Edward, to stand in for her.

And, you know, but I think this is - this is a moment that everybody has been dreading. And the gravity of it, I think is underscored by the fact that so many members of her family have been summoned to Balmoral. And it's very serious and we don't know specifically what her ailment is?