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CNN Live Event/Special
Doctors Concerned For Queen Elizabeth's Health. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired September 08, 2022 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We are back with CNN's breaking news coverage of the health of Queen Elizabeth II, doctors expressing serious concern about Britain's longest reigning-monarch, a beloved figure around the world.
I'm Anderson Cooper.
Our correspondents are standing by at Buckingham Palace, where we could get word on the 96-year-old queen's condition at any moment.
At last word, she was under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. There, you see the gates. Most of her closest family members have gathered. Prince William, along with Prince Edward, and Prince Andrew, were the latest to arrive. We saw a photo of them together, as well as Prince Edward's wife, Sophie.
And we're watching to see when Prince Harry will join his family in Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Want to bring in CNN royal correspondent, Max Foster, at Buckingham Palace, along with CNN chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour, and Bianca Nobilo.
It looks like the rain has at least stopped for you all at Buckingham Palace.
Max, what are you hearing? Is there any news that you have heard?
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, we're not hearing anything. It's gone very quiet, which is quite eerie, I have to say, everyone just asking us what is going on.
And all we can tell you is that we had this statement saying the doctors are worried. And then everyone makes this mad dash up to Balmoral, Prince William driving his uncles and aunt, which is very unusual. It does feel as though they dropped everything and headed up there.
Certainly, William was very focused on his kids' first day of school. And Kate has stayed down here in Windsor to oversee that now, but he has had to rush up there. And we also know that Prince Harry has gone as well. My feeling is, and I'm speculating here, but Prince Harry, we don't think has arrived yet.
The photographers that captured this image haven't captured one of Prince Harry. So I wonder if they're waiting for Prince Harry to arrive, so they can all regroup together, get briefed. And then maybe, at that point, there may be a wider announcement, which we're braced for.
We don't know how Harry is getting there. I am asking his people. But, obviously, this is a very private moment. You don't want to pressure them too much to get too much information. You want to let the natural flow of events take place.
And we don't know what's happened, but people are fearing the worst. And that is, frankly, what happens in a vacuum of information.
COOPER: And, Max, do you know where Prince Harry was, where he would be coming from?
FOSTER: Yes, so he had an event in London tonight he was due to be at. He was staying in Windsor at his home that he rents from the queen. And the duchess remains there, as we understand it. So he came from London.
The others flew up to Aberdeen Airport, so the usual format would be going to Northolt Airport, which is on the outskirts of London, up to Aberdeen, and then an hour's drive. We haven't seen any movements of such up at Aberdeen for Prince Harry.
So I guess he could be driving. It will take him a lot longer. He's not really known for driving these distances, as he -- I'm sure he's taking some sort of jet. And I think that perhaps the government would have laid that on in this particular case because of this situation where the nation is in a state of flux and they want resolution to it.
And I think at the moment, Prince Harry is the missing part.
COOPER: Christiane, it is such, as Richard Quest was saying a short time ago, this strange kind of in-between moment where we don't know what the queen's exact condition is, and may not know until Prince Harry and -- gets there and whatever process takes place is going to take place before any kind of a statement is made.
And yet the people all around the world are watching and waiting and wondering.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Anderson, exactly.
What we know for sure is that there's a family emergency involving the queen. And we know that her doctors because of the statement they put out many hours ago now are concerned for her health, that she's under medical supervision, as the statement said, and that she was comfortable. That is what the statement said some six hours ago now. I recall we
all sort of started being aware of this around 12:30-ish local time, because there was a parliamentary session going on. And all of a sudden, we saw the prime minister, the leader of the opposition being given notes and move out, because this is always televised. And in our newsrooms and meeting rooms, we can see what's happening.
And they all left the Parliament, and then the state broadcaster went into rolling coverage, and so did everybody else. And so it's really is a waiting game right now. In the meantime, we have heard certainly from leaders around the world. President Biden has spoken to the British prime minister on a Zoom call that they were having about Ukraine with allies, and he expressed his concern for the welfare of the queen.
We know that the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, also has sent a message. Remember, Canada are part of the commonwealth. And also indeed the head of the United Nations, Guterres, has sent lots of comments.
So that is what we know at the moment, that people literally are just waiting. It sounds and looks perhaps a little ghoulish, because it is like a waiting game. But that's what we have to do, wait until we get any kind of official statement.
COOPER: Bianca Nobilo, it is unusual that the palace would put out any statement from the queen's doctors voicing concern about her health.
That is -- that's unusual. They wouldn't normally give that kind of detail unless it was something very serious.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, highly unusual, because matters regarding the queen's health are to be considered largely confidential.
In fact, the information that we have about her somewhat deteriorating health over the last year or so is that she suffers from episodic mobility issues. And we have seen over the last few months a stepping back from her ceremonial and civic obligations.
What appears to have caused more concern in people this week is that we know -- and it's been said on this program already -- that the prime minister switchover between Boris Johnson and Liz Truss happened in Balmoral because the queen wanted to remain there, and it was easier for her and more convenient.
But then, after appearing in good spirits, photographs being published with her smiling in her Balmoral tartan from Tuesday, when the prime minister has changed over, she was then unable to fulfill a key duty on Wednesday virtually, which was the convening of the Privy Council.
And then, of course, Thursday, today, so just a mere less than two days later, we get an announcement saying that her medics are concerned about her health and that she is comfortable. Now, that is language that we simply haven't heard before in relation to the monarch.
And the speed of that change from being upstanding and smiling with the new prime minister to what we have then heard today has caused a lot of concern, Anderson, and is entirely unprecedented.
AMANPOUR: Anderson, can I just read you just the latest comment?
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has said: "Thoughts and prayers are with Queen Elizabeth." She's praised the stabilizing role that the queen has played throughout the years. She represents the whole history of the Europe that is our common home.
This is a very important statement with our British friends, said von der Leyen. "And she has shown an immense amount of courage. She is a legend in my eyes."
So you can see that there is a -- now sort of a surge of international concern and thoughts for the well-being of the queen and thoughts on what exactly she has meant for these 70 years on the throne.
And I will just say also a little bit of reporting from a person within the royal circle saying that it was sort of known within the royal circles that the queen probably would not be coming back from Balmoral this year, hence all these things that she's been doing, including anointing the new prime minister, I think. She was staying there. That's her happy place. And that's where she wants to be.
FOSTER: That, as well, Anderson, "The Telegraph," which is very close to Liz Truss and her government, is reporting that Joe Biden had a conversation with her today. And he and Jill Biden said to Liz Truss they're thinking of Queen Elizabeth amid deep concerns over her health.
So, obviously, there's a real sense of gloom around the queen's prospects right now. She's sitting there in Balmoral. We're looking at the gates there. It's funny how often on these sort of big royal occasions we end up looking at gates.
But that really speaks to the fact that this is ultimately a family, a private family, although a very public family in what they do in terms of work. Ultimately, we wait for them to make decisions and inform us. It doesn't operate like a government. This is a private home. The queen owns that. It's not a public estate.
And so they are in there. And they're regrouping. And they come together as a family, which doesn't happen very often, actually, when you see all of the key members of the family together, only really happens at Christmas, sometimes at Easter.
For them to come together in this large estate, which is very private and very rustic, they will be gathering around and speaking about whatever it is they're going to announce. But they're clearly very concerned about something. And it is telling that they're waiting on Prince Harry, because Prince Harry has deliberately avoided these situations, where it's private family, particularly when Prince William's involved.
He's put those differences behind him to be there with the rest of the family. So there's something overriding all of those family machinations. They have come together as a family.
FOSTER: They have put their differences behind them, and they are preparing to make some sort of statement, I think. We just don't know what that statement is.
I have to say, I have just spoken to someone who's very connected in diplomatic quarters and the U.K. ambassadors as well. There's much talk amongst them right now about what may be announced. And they would probably find out shortly before us about any announcements.
COOPER: I want to bring in Zain Asher and Julia Chatterley here in New York.
Talking about the royals who are assembled there, the immediate family, waiting for Prince Harry, despite the divisions that exists between him and Prince William, very public divisions. They are -- they are now waiting for this last member of the immediate family to come.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Whoever you are, your personal grievances, your gripes, your issues with this family are irrelevant at this moment. It's a moment for unity. It's a moment for family. It's a very private moment.
It just happens to be so public, because that's royalty. I think, to get back to the image -- and you have been talking about it a number of times now -- of the four members of the royal family together.
COOPER: Yes, let's put that photo there.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, for me, that -- there's two things there.
That point about the unity of bringing these members together, even Andrew, no longer a front-line member of the royal family, of course, but he's there in that moment, but also strength, because you are looking at a future heir to the throne driving the wheel there.
What we hear from Prince William in the future, what we hear from Prince Charles in the immediacy of this, whatever the outcome and -- or whatever we hear, that, for me is a very important moment for him taking control of the situation.
COOPER: It's very possible this is not a coincidence, this image of them all being -- I mean, they had four vehicles rushing in this convoy.
They got off a private jet. They could have all taken separate vehicles. They -- Prince William, I know, certainly has security who would normally drive for him. He chose to be seen driving vehicle. They chose to all be in the vehicle together.
CHATTERLEY: I think there are very few coincidences where this family is concerned, particularly with images in moments like this. And I think it is important, want to show strength, but, again, but the families coming together.
COOPER: And that's it's Prince William driving.
CHATTERLEY: Absolutely. A future heir to the throne is driving the rest of the family.
And, of course, we're going to perhaps see a contrasting shot when Prince Harry arrives, and we will see how and when that takes place. And, of course, there will be comments upon that. But I go back to the point that I made. Whatever happened with Andrew, whatever the concerns and the family tensions with Harry, it's not about them.
And it's not about that at this moment. It's all about family and all being together.
COOPER: Yes, there's -- the two vehicles in the video you saw were from what that still photo -- where that still image is from.
COOPER: There were two of those black vehicles. And then there were two other SUVs also following.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And, honestly, this is -- just look at those photos.
And it really underscores just the gravity of the situation. If the worst were to happen, this is the moment where everything changes. I was born and raised in the U.K. I'm originally from Nigeria, which, as you know, is a former British colony.
And one thing that I was thinking of just watching these images in this video is that the queen is really the last of the sort of old- school royals. She took over and she took to the reins at a time when Britain was that much more powerful, so much more powerful in the real sort of empirical sense of the word.
Obviously, the power sort of waned after the Second World War, but she would have presided over the country at a time when Britain's sort of empirical implements actually began to wane. And you think that must have weighed heavily on her. That must have been a decisive factor in how she governed, that she had the responsibility to really hold the monarchy together in the way she governed and the way that she sort of taught the royals to change with the times.
This is a huge event. This is a huge moment that we are witnessing, again, not just for the U.K., not just for Britain, but for people watching all around the world.
COOPER: Well, the transition of Britain from a colonial power to commonwealth countries, a huge transformation for -- a shrinking of Britain, a transformation in British society that this queen was overseeing.
ASHER: Yes, would have overseen.
And it happened in rapid succession. I mean, you had India declaring independence in 1947. That was obviously before Queen Elizabeth took over the helm of the royal family, but in rapid succession after that, you had African nation upon African nation declaring independence throughout the 1950s and throughout the 1960s.
And you would have imagined that would, of course, weigh heavily on her in the way that she governed, in the way that she did her job and fulfilled her duties.
CHATTERLEY: Well, culturally, politically, there has been vast amounts of change in a 70-year reign, as you would anticipate.
But we look to her. We still look to her as the bastion and, as I said, the face of British culture, history, wherever you are in the world. And I think your point, actually, that this, either way feels like a pivotal moment for us, we have never been in this situation before.
Let's be clear, and to the point that so many of us -- she's the only queen we have ever known. I think, even for the royal family beyond this moment, things will be different, whether they feel different to us now. And, of course, of course, they do. This royal family is very different from the family that she continues even now to reign over.
And I think that's a somber feeling most of all.
COOPER: A moment ago, we saw some of the crowds outside Buckingham Palace as people there in London are gathering and, now the gates outside Balmoral Castle, where the queen, the family is awaiting Prince Harry's arrival, we understand, the possibility that we will learn more about the queen's condition once he gets there.
More of our special coverage after this.
COOPER: There is deep concern hanging over Buckingham Palace and all of Britain this hour, as we await an update on Queen Elizabeth, the 96-year-old monarch put under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle in Scotland by her doctors concerned about her condition.
The queen's eldest son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, is one of the first family members to be by her side, to rush to Balmoral. His son Prince William seen here driving a car through the gates of Balmoral Castle, carrying in the vehicle Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and Edward's wife, Sophie.
Prince Harry reportedly is traveling to Balmoral from London, where he was for an event this evening, separated -- separate -- he's traveling to Balmoral separate from the other royals. Another car has just arrived at the castle. We do not know who was inside that vehicle. We will try to find out.
The belief by Max Foster and others was that any -- before any announcement was made about the queen's condition, that all the immediate family members would be there, Prince Harry among them, and that that is what perhaps they were waiting on.
Here in the United States, the White House says the President Biden and first lady Jill Biden are thinking of the queen and her family right now.
I want to bring in CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
Kaitlan, what are you learning about the president, President Biden, being updated about Queen Elizabeth?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, the White House is following the developments with the queen very closely.
They say President Biden has been briefed on these latest concerns that you're hearing from the royal family when it comes to her health, as you are seeing her family gather by her side. He was updated earlier this morning. The White House just told us he is constantly being updated on the latest developments on what's happening.
He actually had a previously scheduled phone call with the new British prime minister, Liz Truss, earlier today with other world leaders to talk about Ukraine, Anderson. But, during that call, the White House says he conveyed his concerns and his thoughts about the queen to the new prime minister, saying that he and the first lady are thinking of her.
Obviously, Anderson, he also met with the queen since taking office. That was last summer. It was the last time that they spoke, according to the press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, what she just told us in the Briefing Room moment ago. That was when the queen had hosted them for that private tea that she did with President Biden and first lady Jill Biden.
There weren't a lot of cameras around. They were kept at a distance. They had this private tea, where President Biden later said she was very generous, that she reminded him of his mother, that she had asked about President Xi, President Putin, keeping an update on what was happening on the world stage Anderson.
She also hosted that reception for G7 leaders at the time. So they did meet since he took office. And the White House says that they are being kept updated on what's going on with our health.
COOPER: Kaitlan, I want to bring Kate Williams, CNN royal commentator and historian, into the conversation.
Kate, I mean, it is remarkable. And we have been talking about this throughout the last several hours, 70 years on the throne. She has seen 14 U.S. presidents come and go, 15 British prime ministers, seven popes. Her relationship with President Obama was said to be particularly close.
KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Yes, Anderson.
I mean, the queen has seen one of her most important jobs as the special relationship between Britain and the United States. It's very important to her to do the state visits, to go to the United States and welcome the president back.
And she's very fond of many of the presidents she met JFK. The only one she hasn't met is Lyndon Johnson. But President Obama and Mrs. Obama were real favorites with the queen. They visited her at Windsor Castle. She loved their sense of humor. She really did get on incredibly well with them. And they really, I think, struck up a real rapport.
And, just as Kaitlan was saying, last year, when she was at the G7, she was meeting Joe Biden in marvelous health in Cornwall. And, really, it -- she really reminds us she's seen the span of British history from 1952 right into the new millennium, up until 2022.
But she's also seen the span of history across the world. And that includes a span of U.S. history visiting as a young princess. And Truman was entranced by her, and all the presidents since. I mean, it is such a huge reign. She's seen so much. She's -- such a historic reign, it's really hard to get encapsulate it.
COOPER: I recall there were images of then-first lady Michelle Obama and the queen where I think they were touching, and it caused some kerfuffle, I think, in Great Britain, because it's unusual to see people actually touching the queen, but perhaps a sign of their closeness.
WILLIAMS: It is a sign of that closeness.
Yes, you don't normally touch the queen. There have been leaders of state in the past who have, and it has been a break of protocol. But with Mrs. Obama, it was completely different. It was a natural warmth. They really got on well.
And President Obama has -- he said how much he gets on with the queen. They were such a great friendship. And what's, I think -- what I think American presidents, along with U.K. prime ministers, what they have most liked about meeting the queen is the fact that she keeps whatever you say secret. Whatever you tell to her, she keeps it secret. You can confide of hide anything in her. And, of course, we know political life is full of leaks. You never know what you can say and what you can't. So, you can have a joke with her, you can have an intimate chat with her, but you can also talk to her about matters of state.
And she has seen everything. So she is a wonderful person to really act as a sounding board. And I think that she sees it really as an important role of hers, not just to welcome a new prime minister, but also to be there when a new president comes to pay a visit as well.
It's something that she sees as a key role of the monarch. And when you think of all the presidents she's met, all the significant presidents in history who are no longer with us, and she is still there, it is incredible.
COOPER: Yes, Kate Williams, thank you so much.
We will also check in with Kaitlan Collins throughout the day, back here in New York with Zain Asher, Julia Chatterley.
I also want to go bring in CNN international correspondent Scott McLean. He's outside Windsor Castle.
Scott, you have been talking to some of the people who've been gathering there waiting for news on the queen.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Anderson, there's so little information at this point that people are really grasping for any information that might be new.
What's remarkable is that, earlier today, an employee who works inside the chapel at the castle actually came up to me asking what was going on, because even amongst the employees who work here, there has been so little information. And so people are obviously hoping for good news.
It was a downpouring earlier, really matching the mood of the country. But now the sun has come out. So, obviously, people are hoping for good news.
I just want to take you around and talk to a couple of people.
This is Kate. She actually lives here in Windsor.
And I just wonder what you thought, what your first reaction was when you heard the news that the queen is under medical supervision.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I think it's pretty sad, like, when anyone kind of gets in that position. Like, you wouldn't want that to happen to your own family member.
But I am not, like, the biggest fan of the queen or just, like, the monarchy in general. So I wasn't, like, that upset or overwhelmed by it. It was just something that happens, I guess.
MCLEAN: You're not the biggest fan of the monarchy? I wonder why.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mainly to do with, like, British, like, colonial history, things like that, a lot of things that have gone on which have been quite shady, even, like, recently with, like, Prince Andrew and everything.
So, yes, I'm not really their biggest fan.
MCLEAN: Fair enough. It was nice talking to you.
There's a couple of Americans over here as well who are on holiday here from Cleveland.
And I just wonder, what did you guys think when you first heard the news that the queen is under medical supervision?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we were surprised. Here we are on a holiday and then, all of a sudden, all this hubbub comes, which is kind of different dynamic for your typical tourism day.
MCLEAN: I wonder what your perception is of the queen more generally.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's an amazing woman, I mean, if you think what she has seen in her lifetime and what she's dealt with nationally, globally, family, and she's kept a level head.
And she's 96 years old and has been going strong until now. That's impressive.
MCLEAN: Yes, for sure.
Anderson, I just have to tell you before we wrap up here that I have lived here in this country for a couple of years now, and the thing that I found very odd is that there really is no sort of national day for the union. Of course, there's national days for Scotland and England and Northern Ireland and Wales.
But people often don't celebrate especially the English one. But what really brings people together in this country is the queen and the monarchy. Obviously, not everyone is a fan, but, by and large, suddenly, when you have something the platinum jubilee, people are proud to wave the flag, people are very proud to be British, something that's uniting that not a lot of -- not a lot of other things really do in this country.
Scott McLean, appreciate it. We will check in with you again.
We could get news on the queen at any time. Stay right here. We're going to take a quick break. More ahead.