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CNN Live Event/Special
Queen Elizabeth II Dies At The Age Of 96. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired September 08, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're looking live at Buckingham Palace where all day people have been to leave flowers, share memories or just to be part of history.
This is CNN's continuing live coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The queen saw 14 American presidents and 15 British prime ministers come and go. The latest, Liz Truss, who became prime minister just two days ago. Their meeting was captured in the final photographs of a monarch who is still working right to the very end.
Now, her family is in mourning as the world watches, saying farewell to a queen who is also a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother. Prince Charles, now King Charles III, is expected to address the British people in a matter of hours.
But this was the scene outside Buckingham Palace earlier, a rainbow spreading across the sky as crowds gathered shortly before the death of the queen was announced, the queen who dedicated her life to the service of her people so many years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF UNITED KINGDOM: I declare before you all that 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That was the occasion of her 21st birthday, a young woman who was not born to be queen, but went on to reign for remarkable 70 years and 214 days. It is the longest-serving monarch in British history. In fact, in all of recent history.
Here, with me tonight, CNN correspondent Bianca Nobilo, Nic Robertson, CNN international diplomatic editor is in Inverness, Scotland, CNN correspondent Scott McLean is at Windsor Castle, and Bonnie Greer, former department chair of the British Museum, is also here in London.
Let us all just try to make sense of what has happened today and what is to come. So, first, Bianca, you're out there near the palace, it is the longest-serving monarch, as we just said, how do you think the country is going to react over the next several days and weeks before her funeral, because she has been in office longer than most Britons had been alive?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I expect to see the stages of grief manifests. There was a sense of numbness and shock today as well as motion. I think that raw motion will likely bubble to the surface more in the days that we have ahead. Many people will be descending upon Buckingham Palace in trying to find outlets for their grief.
We have seen photographs of Brits all over the world from California to Australia going to camps or places which they associate with Britons to light candles and pay tribute to the queen because this is a global outpouring of sadness, grief, and respect for Britain's longest-serving monarch.
We've heard statements from heads of states and prime ministers from Australia, to Canada, to New Zealand, to India, and even just the people on the street. I was just walking up St. James's across from Buckingham Palace, and I was speaking to a man who had moved here from India and said, I feel like I've lost my grandmother. That was exactly the same sentiment that was echoed by Sir Mick Jagger on Twitter, saying that he felt the nation had lost a grandmother.
People feel that closeness, and as strange as it is because she is only a family member to the royal family, who are dealing with that personal loss, there is a different kind of personal lost that the public at large feel because this is a person that most of them have known their entire lives through television appearances, through portraits, through the currency they use, through her history, and through what she stands for. So, it will be felt quite profoundly on many levels, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And I want to say, because there is that noise in the background, we know that now, all the engineers, all the people who have to do the preparations, are out building the platforms for the press that will be used over the next several days and putting up the flagpoles that will line what is known as the mall out there, which has been the scene, historically, of so much world pageantry right outside and opposite the palace where you are.
Bonnie Greer, let me ask you, you are the former chair of the Department of the British Museum, you're a commentator, you're a journalist, you're also an American and you have met the queen. I want to know how you feel -- how you reflect on how she reached out across the seas, even to America, which clearly, as you all remember, shed (ph) the queen and her ancestors so many years ago.
BONNIE GREER, NOVELIST AND CRITIC, FORMER CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BRITISH MUSEUM: Well, she was -- first of all, I think she knew pretty instinctively what she had to do. You know, remember, she was not born to be the monarch. She was the eldest daughter of the second son. So, she -- suddenly, the family found themselves in the position that they were in, and I think she constantly kept her ear and her eye to the pulse of the country.
At the same time, the other thing I've noticed and I've lived through half my life, as you say, you know, former deputy chair of the British Museum and other organization, you get to see how the British people themselves have very cleverly invented this family for themselves. They are the last silent movie actors.
So, there's a symbiosis between particularly the monarch and the people where she's constantly, constantly gauging them, they're gauging her, to see who they are, see where she positions herself. It is quite ingenious.
If you remember, after Diana's death and I was in France at the time, I remember there are people on the air saying she had better come back down from Balmoral where she was. And, of course, she came down.
And not only did she come down, she had her back to the mall where you can see all the people as she talked about being a grandmother and a mother. That is absolutely spot-on in terms of understanding the people who she owed her office to. We can call it hereditary, but actually, it is the will of the British people, and this is what the will.
AMANPOUR: That is a really important point which we will get into slightly later about what now for the monarchy and what will the will of the people be. I was really, you know, just struck by how you describe her and the family as the last of the silent movie stars.
And, of course, you know, this is not just about a sort of, you know, a parochial British issue, they have been cultural phenomenon, whether it's the Netflix drama, the crown, whether it is films, the queen, whether it is a play, the audience, whatever it might be.
We're going to be right back, but first to Nic Robertson. Nic, you're not far from Balmoral, you're there in Scotland, that is where the queen died. Tell us and tell our viewers how much Balmoral resonated and a little bit of where it started in her love life, if you like.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, Balmoral really came to be a place that meant a huge amount to the queen. Of course, the queen has had large estates in England, at Windsor, (INAUDIBLE), but it seemed to be in Scotland that -- the Balmoral estate is this wild, rugged, beautiful Scottish countryside mountains, a river that is rich or was once upon a time rich with salmon, the River Dee, and this was somewhere where she could enjoy the country pursuits that she enjoyed, that her family enjoyed like stalking, like fishing, like going up with the horses or driving the Land Rover or just walking on the mountains. So, this was somewhere that she felt relaxed in.
The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, said she had been privileged to be able to see that closeup, close at hand, and for her, for the first minister of Scotland, she felt that there would be some solace for the royal family in knowing that the queen was in a place that gave her happiness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLA STURGEON, FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND: And by all accounts, her majesty was rarely happier than when she was here in Scotland at her beloved Balmoral, a fact I have been privileged to observe personally. I hope it will be a source of comfort to her family that she spent her final days in a place that she loved so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: It was the queen's great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, who first set the tradition for royal family to visit and spent time there. It was a castle that was given to her by her husband, Prince Albert.
The queen enjoyed country pursuits.
I mentioned there, for example, the fact that the River Dee and many of the rivers in Scotland have depleting stocks of salmon. The queen was one of the early adopters of catch and release. She cared about the countryside. She wanted to see the species there, the animals, the fish thrive. This was somewhere that she had a passion for and that so much of her life, as you say, important events there unfolded.
AMANPOUR: Yeah, and when you mentioned that about the salmon fishing, it sounds maybe a small anecdote, but actually, the family was very ahead of its time in the issue of the environment, of the natural world, and so it is good to remind us of that.
Scott McLean, you are at Windsor Castle, which is said to have been the queen's favorite, favorite home, and you've been talking to people all day. What are they saying about, you know, her loss and their grief?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, yeah, I was here before the news broke and, obviously, after it as well, and the crowds just sort of slowly started to swell here. People dropping flowers just at the gate of the castle here.
Within a couple of hours, though, they're asking people to drop them further away from the castle just outside of another gate of the property, and I think in part because of how many people were coming. It seems like every other person that you came across had a bouquet of flowers with them.
What really struck me, Christiane, is how much genuine emotion people are expressing for a woman that many of them had never met before, or if they had met them, it was sort of a passing, you know, hi, hello, that kind of thing. Brits, to begin with, aren't really well-known for showing emotion, especially publicly.
And I was also struck by some of the handwritten cards and notes that were left outside of the castle gates. You know, some people wrote entire letters, just about what this woman meant to them. Some of the words that kept popping up in those letters and when I spoke to people as well is, duty and service. This is a woman who went about her duty to her country and did her service to her country quietly and right up until the very last moment.
Christiane, you know, I lived in this country for a few years. Now, one of the things that I noticed right off the bat, especially coming from North America, is that people are not necessarily flag flyers here. You don't see houses with the union jack on them. And so, Brits are not necessarily overtly patriotic. Yet, when it comes to the monarchy, the queen is a unifying force.
You have the jubilee, 70 years on the throne, you have other royal events and people break up the bunting and break up the flags in ways that you just don't see in other parts of society, and that is again what we saw today and the sense that I got from other people.
You know, I asked a lot of countless people what the queen really meant to them. One of the answers that I got most often was, she was everything, and not just for people personally but really for this country as well, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: As you speak, I think there is some unbelieve statistic, like 80% of the British people alive today have only known her and no other leader. I think that is the stat that we've been reporting which is pretty amazing.
Now, Bianca, I do think it is interesting that you say the British people, Scots, are not used to or not known for their outpouring of emotion, but I think that changed a little bit with the royal family and the death of Princess Diana.
And we watched the pictures of all those flowers being laid. Of course, there were mountains of them laid for Princess Diana. I think that was the -- perhaps the first amazing display of national grief that this country had seen in that way. And so, it is transmitting now to the queen as well, Bianca.
We see the photo of Queen Elizabeth II meeting with the new prime minister, Liz Truss, just a couple of days ago. Here is what she said after the queen's death was announced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Liz Truss, Bianca, will always have that moment. She will be the last recorded official meeting with the queen, who conducted the last bit of her royal protocol by appointing Liz Truss prime minister two days ago now. It was on Tuesday.
[23:14:55] So, Bianca, Charles, formerly the Prince of Wales, becomes king as he ascends the throne. It is a role, of course, he's been preparing for all his life. He is in his early 70s. What can the British people, perhaps even the world, expect from this transition, from the person of King Charles taking over from the much beloved person of his mother?
NOBILO: Firstly, Christiane, I would say that it is a peculiar irony that Prime Minister Liz Truss was the last official to meet with Queen Elizabeth II when in her youth she was in favor of abolishing the monarchy. She's obviously transformed her political beliefs now and is a true conservative in favor the monarchy. But that journey that she's been on and the admiration she now has for the queen, I think, just speaks to how Queen Elizabeth II had the ability to win people over with her dedication to duty and service.
In terms of what the British public can expect from King Charles III, we have some idea. He has a very impressive work ethic. He is somebody that wanted to make something of the role of Prince of Wales. He did not want to wait to become king to try and make a difference or have a very clear agenda that he was trying to pursue.
But because of that, he did flirt with the line between being apolitical which demonically is expected to be and wanting to champion the causes that were important to him, particularly on issues like the environment. So, he took more of an activist approach. Obviously, that would have to die down now and sits because that isn't the role of the monarch.
Another difference which touches on something you just mentioned, about the modernization of the monarchy and the increased comfort that they feel and talking about their feelings sometimes, we've seen that with Prince Harry and Prince William, is that one of the main differences between King Charles III and Queen Elizabeth II is that King Charles throughout his life is definitely seen as more human.
He has been at point more controversial, he's had his difficulties, he had points of unpopularity certainly around drama with Princess Diana and with his own personal life, whereas the queen is considered to be far more above the fray and beyond reproach to some extent. For King Charles III, that isn't the case. So, I think we might see the progression of a more humanized monarch going forward, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: It is really fascinating. We will and I guess in the days to come will talk about, you know, some of the -- some of the real family troubles that existed and, you know, the way that that actually, like so many families, did also take place in the royal family of this nation.
Bonnie, Queen Elizabeth II, as we said, was the sovereign of 15 countries, the commonwealth. Obviously, she presided over the end of the empire and the beginning of the commonwealth. What do you think her death will mean to that community of nations, far and wide, outside the United Kingdom?
GREER: I think, Christiane, it depends on the country. It depends -- we know Australia is preparing for independence. Jamaica is talking about it. It will depend on them. I think, already, we have seen with Charles, he is a man of his time, he will try to hold the commonwealth together because that is part of the legacy of his family. That is what the British people want as well.
However, he will at the same time bend to the will of the commonwealth and try to keep some kind of alliance together, probably in the shape of the E.U. in the sense that he is not their king anymore, but they are now part of a family of nations who will come together for a particular purpose.
Remember, people are laughing at him 50 years ago when he talked about talking to his plants and all of the things that he did environmentally. And now, he is spot on. So, it is going to be, again, as I say, the silent -- this family of great silent actors, The British people will tell them what they need, and they will deliver it. That is how they survived.
The other thing is that the queen's first prime minister was Sir Winston Churchill, born 1875. Her last prime minister was Liz Struss, born 1975. So, this arc of her own sort of magic in a sense is very much a part of this country in many ways.
AMANPOUR: Indeed. That is incredible, the way you put it, that century of time that is a lapse between those prime ministers and their birth. Bonnie, thank you.
Nic, up in Scotland, obviously, the formalities really kick into high gear starting tomorrow.
We know that now King Charles and the Queen Consort will be returning to London from Balmoral. What can we expect to see over the next few days, and particularly, when does the public get to see the queen's coffin? When is the queen herself lie in state? Just some of the events that expect to be covering over the next several hours and day.
ROBERTSON: I think we're a little bit cautious about giving exact times and details because these are things that can still change, that King Charles can change, that the queen had been perhaps adapting from previous plans, even in the last -- potentially in the last few weeks of her life.
But there are some very key events. Some of the major parts will be that the queen will be expected to remain in Balmoral for a few days, and then expected to be taken to Edinburgh, and then expected after a few more days to then be taken to London where she will be expected to lie in state. So, perhaps, we're looking at about a week away from now before the public at large can come and pay their respects since she lies in state.
Tomorrow -- of course, each day is going to be full with events, but tomorrow is an important one. As you say, can Charles and the queen consort come back to London? Can Charles expect to meet with Liz Truss, the prime minister? The king is expected to give a televised statement to the nation tomorrow. Everyone, of course, we'll be waiting and looking for that.
We are expecting sometime tomorrow for bells of churches across the country to ring out, of gun salutes in royal parks. Members of Parliament are expected to be able to go to Parliament tomorrow and speak about their thoughts about the queen. There will be a prayer service expected as well at St. Paul's Cathedral. That is all tomorrow.
Each day is expected to bring other events. There will be, likely, the meeting of the accession council which will give that formal accession of King Charles to the throne. Of course, he is king automatically, but this is a procedural process, and there will be a proclamation after that. All of these things are going to come in the coming fortnight or so.
AMANPOUR: As you outlined all of that, again, you know, it is the way the royal family keeps itself at the heart and center of the people. This thing will play out over several days, as you said, perhaps even a couple of weeks before the state funeral. We don't know.
But in the meantime, they keep the people engaged by this meticulous rehearsal and choreography that will last many days and will be its own form somber, but its own form of pomp in the very British royal- style.
Thank you to all of you. We will be back later. Bianca and Scott there, Nic and Bonnie, thanks a lot. And more reaction is coming in tonight from around the world, Britain and the world, more on the death of the longest-serving monarch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: We continue to be inspired by the kindness of strangers and draw comfort that, even on the darkest nights, there is hope in the new dawn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: In memory of Queen Elizabeth II's remarkable life, President Biden has ordered the flags of the White House and all federal buildings to be flown at half-staff until her burial. And tonight, Queen Elizabeth II is being mourned all around the world. Here is CNN's Erica Hill.
JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: The last days of the queen's life captured who she was in so many ways. Working to the very end on the behalf of the people she loved. ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In her final public act just two days ago, Britain's longest-serving monarch welcomed the new British prime minister.
TRUSS: Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her.
HILL (voice-over): Crowds gathering in the U.K., many with flowers in hand.
UNKNOWN: It was very emotional, so I want to pay some respect to the queen.
UNKNOWN: I was called Thalia (ph) Elizabeth because I was born in the year of the coronation. So, she has been the only queen I've ever known and I can't believe it has happened so quickly.
HILL (voice-over): As the world paused in honor of a life dedicated to service. Moments of silence at the New York stock exchange and the U.N. Security Council. U.S. flags ordered to half-staff until the queen is laid to rest.
President Biden and the first lady among the many world leaders reflecting on her steadying presence, but also remembering how she charmed us with her wit, moved us with her kindness, and generously shared with us her wisdom.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: In a complicated world, her steady grace and resolve brought comfort and strength to us all. She was one of my favorite people in the world, and I will miss her so.
HILL (voice-over): The Eiffel Tower sparkling lights, dark Thursday night in tribute.
The Empire State Building, set to shine in purple and silver. Tel Aviv City Hall, a brightly lit union jack.
UNKNOWN: It is really sad that the queen died because she did actually quite a lot.
HILL (voice-over): Elton John and Mick Jagger among the rock stars honoring the queen, along with sports greats. NASA, even Paddington Bear, who famously joined the queen for her platinum jubilee last spring.
PADDINGTON BEAR: Thank you for everything.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: That is very kind.
HILL (voice-over): Gratitude for a woman whose dedication to service and duty guided her and the nation for decades.
TRUSS: Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed. She was the very spirit of Great Britain, and that spirit will endure.
HILL (on camera): Christiane, the president and first lady also stopping by the British Embassy in Washington on Thursday evening to pay their respects and sign a condolence book. The president telling the staff the queen was a -- quote -- "great lady," and he and the first lady were delighted that they got to meet her. Back to you.
AMANPOUR: Erica, thank you so much. And those snapshots that you revealed really make it so poignant as you see so many parts of the world paying tribute all over on all those moments of silence as well. Thank you.
Seventy years as queen, seven decades of change in history. We will look at Queen Elizabeth II's record on the world stage right after this.
AMANPOUR: Queen Elizabeth II spent 70 of the 96 years of her extraordinary life on the throne of the United Kingdom. Born in a world few alive today would recognize, she saw her country and the world changed dramatically through wars and a shifting global landscape. And for many, she stood for stability on the world stage.
Joining me now to discuss is Ian Bremmer. He is president of the Eurasian Group. Ian, welcome to the program. You know, we're going to get into the specific details in a minute, but first, you point out that Queen Elizabeth II has ruled for nearly a third of America's entire existence, and she was a beacon of stability in a time of real upheaval.
So, when you look ahead and you try to measure the extent of the loss and what it might mean as an institution for the U.K. and beyond, what are you calculating now?
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: President Biden said today that she really defined an era and it was a lovely thing to say, but, of course, the reality is that Queen Elizabeth II defines much more than an era. I mean, she goes from a period of Great Britain on a global stage to Britain no longer even as a power inside Europe.
She has gone through decolonization. She had gone through a period of just massive upheaval on a global stage. I mean, through the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and now, of course, with the U.K. in by far the worst geopolitical and economic position of the G7 advanced industrial economy for so many reasons we can talk about.
In that period of time, she was a singularly political and cultural unifier for the United Kingdom. I mean, for Scotland, for Wales, for England, for North Ireland, for all four of those nations, not to mention for a lot of the commonwealth that the monarch still presides over but frankly will be much more challenging to do with a much less popular King Charles.
AMANPOUR: So, look, I think it is really interesting, you know, how you lay that out, particularly you call her not just a cultural and a social and a figurehead but a political force. I mean, of course, we know that formerly, they're not political. She's a constitutional monarch. She doesn't get her hands involved at all in any governmental politics. So, explain to me because it's true, but explain how her presence was also political.
BREMMER: Well, let me give you one example that is very critical because, of course, so many of us that look at the United Kingdom wonder if it is still going to even exist as a country in 10 years- time given the challenges with Scotland, the challenges with Northern Ireland, and the impact that Brexit had.
You have may remember, Christiane, I expect you do, that in 2014, just before the referendum on Scottish independence --
BREMMER: -- the queen urged people to think very carefully about their future. That was a cautious but it was a highly unusual intervention in a public debate and was seemed to make a difference precisely because of her popularity above politics, if you will, inside Scotland itself.
If King Charles had been there at the time, it would've been a very different story. Look, Scotland is not about to have a referendum tomorrow, it's not the time, but as we look forward over the coming years, this is going to be a much more challenging issue.
And we can talk about commonwealth countries like Australia where the prime minister himself has a labor party that has a pro-republican stance.
That is going to move towards a much more popular and much higher priority issue with the departure or the absence of Queen Elizabeth II. And so, I think this is going to have much more ramifications than just suddenly this very popular (INAUDIBLE).
AMANPOUR: Yeah. And just to be clear, when you say the kingdom itself is in danger, we know that the majority of Brexit voters said at one point they were willing to see the kingdom disintegrate as a price to get Brexit done. We don't whether that still holds, but that is definitely what they said.
But I want to ask you because we have a war in Europe right now and, you now, she obviously spanned the whole era between the Second World War where fascism might have dominated over democracy and international law, and now we have that happening and the danger of that in Europe, obviously, on the battlefield of Ukraine. Just talk a little bit about whether it's Britain or what the real stakes that are on the table right now in our world order.
BREMMER: Of course, Queen Elizabeth II was actually part of that fight, she was a mechanic during World War II. She was part of the fight against fascism. You know, it is just extraordinary. It is staggering to think about the span of her lifetime and what she saw and who she was there with. You think about Truman, you think about Stalin as leaders, and Churchill, of course, at the time when she first became queen.
I think that the challenge today of the end of a 30-year peace dividend on the European continent, a new cold war with elements of hot war between Europe and Russia, and 27 European Union countries unanimously agreeing to accept Ukraine as a member, in other words, embracing the idea that war in Ukraine is a European war.
BREMMER: This is a radical change in how we think about economic growth and the critical necessity of the European spending under security and also relying on the Americans for the transatlantic alliance and for NATO.
Liz Truss has been thrust into a country that has been governed in a shambolic way for the past years with all of the scandals and with massive international challenges. And she started off with this enormous fiscal package to try to get the British economy and citizens to rebound. And all of that has been completely overtaken by what will be weeks of rolling coverage on the queen's death.
I think this is alternate course. There is going to be unity with the coronation with the morning in the U.K., but this is going to be a very, hard thing for Prime Minister Truss to govern through.
AMANPOUR: It really will be. And as you say, without that unifying figure of the queen, it is going to be even more difficult. It really raises the stakes and that her absence coincides with.
Ian Bremmer, thank you so much. A new prime minister, a war in Europe, record inflation, and now a new king, we will look at this time of change for the U.K. in more detail right after this.
AMANPOUR: A remarkable two days in the United Kingdom, a new prime minister, the loss of a cherished queen, and her son is now King Charles III. So, what will his reign look like and what is the relationship with the new prime minister going to be?
Joining me now is the journalist Bidisha Mamata. Thanks for joining us. I know you have been looking into these questions and covering this for a long time. So, what do we expect? What can we expect after, you know, 70 years to have a change of the God, to have a new king at a time, particularly, that is so fraud right now?
BIDISHA MAMATA, JOURNALIST: A new king, a new prime minister at a time when every single one of the headlines in the front pages tells you something about social inequality, about the cost of living crisis, about inflation. You turned the page to the international news and it tells you something about war, about division, about the refugee crisis, about so many things happening in the world.
And what those together tell you, as the queen knew so well, is that what happens nationally and what happens internationally are profoundly interrelated.
There's a new prime minister. There's a new monarch. That is the way the world. It's the system. But here in Britain, we call this an omnishambles, lots of bad things happening at the same time and a huge amount of doubt.
What you see on the streets of London are not people weeping and wailing with shock. You see them giving a sober reflection because I think we all understand it is the end of an era, not just because we like the queen, but politically, too.
AMANPOUR: Indeed. And as you are talking about the headlines, we were showing the pictures of, you know, newspapers from the United States, obviously here in Britain as well, all have, you know, her reign and her image on the front. "The Washington Post" pointing out that she was a pillar of duty and devotion.
So, now that we have a King Charles II and he will be making his speech, his first speech to the nation, later on Friday, on Friday evening here in London, I wonder, he is 70 plus, he has made some rather popular interventions on some important issues that young people care about, the climate is just one of them, what do you make, though, of an increasingly diverse Britain, an increasingly -- I mean, there's a young, young population as well. How will society play out for the majority of the people in this new era of King Charles?
MAMATA: Well, your own footage has been so incredibly eloquent, particularly in central London. You see how racially diverse the crowds, particularly the young people are, when they are laying their roses and flowers in remembrance.
Young people today expect celebrities, including royalty, to be activists, to have a point of view, to fight for a better world. And Prince Charles, King Charles, he was very quirky. He was a frontrunner in talking about past unfashionable things like the environment and town planning and building a world we could all live in.
I actually think that the 10 and 11-year-olds of today would quite like this slightly odd, very sincere, sober, 19th century character. You can't say that he has not served his apprenticeship. You can't say that he doesn't love his mother. You can't say that he has waited in the wings and he has learned the ropes because he has been standing shoulder to shoulder by her for decades now.
AMANPOUR: That is a really important look and really interesting take on what we might expect from Prince Charles. Bidisha Mamata, thank you so much. Indeed, King Charles. Much more of our special coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth when we come back.
AMANPOUR: President Joe Biden speaking about Queen Elizabeth II today after stopping at the British Embassy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just stopped by the British Embassy to sign a condolence book in her honor. I had the opportunity to meet her before she passed. She was an incredibly gracious and decent women. And the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in their grief.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A woman of constancy, a woman of faith. Stay with us. Queen Elizabeth II has passed away at the age of 96. We'll have more of our special coverage live here from London after this.