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CNN Live Event/Special

Queen Elizabeth Dies at 96; Charles Becomes King; Crowds Gather to mourn Death of Queen Elizabeth II. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired September 09, 2022 - 04:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson live at Buckingham Palace in London with CNN's special coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

In Britain there is tremendous sadness over the Queen's sudden death which is also being felt by countless people across the commonwealth. Because for the first time in seven decades, the U.K. and 14 other realms are without their monarch.

In Sydney, Australia church bells rang out 96 times, once for each year of Queen Elizabeth's life. And 96 rounds were fired by members of the New Zealand army along the waterfront of the capital Wellington. Also marking the passing of her majesty.

And here at Buckingham Palace, people have been coming to pay their respects, to share their memories, and just to be part of what is a moment in time. The Queen died at her beloved Balmoral retreat in Scotland, mourners have been dropping off flowers there at the gates.

Well, in the coming hours we're expecting to hear from her oldest son the new king, Charles III, who will address this nation. It's too soon to know the date of his coronation. Reporters are though closely monitoring the next steps as the nation now goes in to a period of mourning.

Nic Robertson is live in Inverness in Scotland. Nina Dos Santos is outside number 10 Downing Street. And Anna Stewart is here behind me at Buckingham Palace where crowds are beginning to grow as they come to pay their respects.

Nic, let start with the in Scotland where the Queen passed away peacefully yesterday peacefully after 70 years of service, 70 years of highs, Nic, and of course many lows.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, and Balmoral was perhaps the place where she could recover from some of those worries. Balmoral, of course, the place where her two grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry, learned of the news of the death of their mother, tragic news. And this was a place where they could be away from the world and, if you will, kept away from the pain that the nation was beginning to suffer. But of course, it was coming back to London that the Queen brought the family back into engaging with the country's sorrow and passion and loss over princess Diana. And of course, won the support of the nation because she understood the nation's suffering and her family shared it as well.

So, you know, Balmoral has played a huge role in the lives of the royals and the Queen as well. A very family figure here in Scotland. She was too ill to attend the Highland games in Braemar just down the road from Balmoral. Prince, now King Charles of course -- then Prince Charles stepped into attend those Highland games.

But the Queen, a very familiar visitor spending much of her summers here in Scotland and of course this is where her family came over the past -- over the past day or so and gathered for the awful news that was shared with the nation last night.

We've been talking to people here in Inverness this morning about how they feel about the passing of the Queen. Everyone, everyone, people think of Scotland as a nation that wants to go separate from the United Kingdom, that wants its independence. But these are people here in this city this morning that we've spoke to, every man and woman all said that they were saddened that they missed already the Queen, that they were at a loss.


This is what they told us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was always told by my parents that sometimes when you're with someone that some people die of a broken heart. So, I think it has a lot do with obviously the Duke of Edinburgh passing away as well this year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're from Canada and she was our Queen too and it's going to be devastating. It's just like losing your mum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a very sad occasion. It will be a big change for everyone. But, you know, life just goes on.


ROBERTSON: People we were talking to here, literally coming out to start their job, whether they were bakers or street cleaners or construction workers, or tourists on holiday here, getting their head around the news that the whole country is getting its around, that the royal family is wrapping it sorrow around at the moment. But this very much feels like a country awakening to that mourning and Scotland no different in this regard than the rest of the country.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Scotland. Thank you, Nic. Let's get to you Anna Stewart who is just in front of the gates here at Buckingham Palace and she's been speaking to some of those who have come here to pay their respects and share their memories and their thoughts. Anna, what have you been hearing? ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: It is a huge depth of feeling for this

loss here, Becky. And it's interesting, a number of people have told me that it feels like a member of their family have passed, a grandmother, someone they knew and loved. For some people the Queen marked important periods of their life and they remember each jubilee, they remember terrible tragic moments like the death of the Queen mother or Prince Philip and they remember going through these moments with the Queen.

And there's also definitely a sense of the end of an era. The end of a period of stability. Of course, the vast majority of people in the U.K. and around the world have never known another British monarch. And I just want to show you here, we've moved away from the gates of Buckingham Palace. The police have moved us away just to allow more people to be able to lay flowers and messages down by the gates of Buckingham Palace and I expect that we'll see plenty of this in the days to come. And one royal fan who I've met here today, Minerva -- well let's bring you over to Minerva. And Minerva, I know that you've been staring now at the balcony of Buckingham Palace and you've been here for so many events and it must feel quite haunting to know that you'll never see her majesty there again.

MINERVA, ROYAL FAN: I can't explain to you how I feel. I feel as though someone close in my family has passed. That's how close I hold the royal family in my heart. I've traveled for many years, I've done what I can to get a glimpse of the royal family especially the Queen. I've never managed to get close to her, but I've always been at a distance where I could take good photos of her on the balcony waving on her birthdays or on the jubilees. In the events I used to come and camp here and seeing the car, waving. It hasn't sunk in from yesterday. I just feel like I'm in a daze, like I'm going to wake up. It's just -- I've lived all my life through knowing the Queen. I mean, I'm 60 years old now and she was -- 70 years. I mean, sorry, I just can't talk. My griefs taking over me.

STEWART: For our audience, you and I have been here for so many different events. And it's always amazing how many people come together to be here. Why is it so important for people to pay their respects here at a royal residence even though her majesty, of course, died in Scotland. Why are people here today?

MINERVA: Because this is the heart of the royal family. This is where we know the royal family. For many years I've always come here. I mean, I've been to Windsor too, but this is the birth to me of the royal family. It's just the home of it, you know, I'm so sorry. But I just was so -- I don't know what's the matter with me.

STEWART: Thank you for expressing -- thanks for expressing your grief. We're so sorry for your loss.

MINERVA: My heart is broken, you know.

STEWART: I think you speak for a nation.

MINERVA: We're going to miss her. She brought so many of us together. I've made so many friends on these gatherings. She gave her word that she was going to serve us to the end and she did. She served us to the end. I mean, I'm proud to say I'm British. I really am. I'm so sorry.

STEWART: Minerva, thank you so much for speaking to us.

MINERVA: Thank you.


STEWART: I'll speak to you soon. Becky, this is the depth of feeling and people are so grateful as you can hear there that the Queen gave her whole life to public duty. That speech she gave on her 21st birthday, whether her life be short or long, she would dedicated to the public, to the U.K., to the commonwealth and she did just that and people here hugely grateful and hugely sad for her loss.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Anna, thank you.

Well, Elizabeth Norton is a historian and archaeologist and the author of several books on the monarchy. Joining us today. Minerva just one of many, many people here today who are, you know, expressing how they feel. Talking about how they feel like they've lost a mum or a grandmother. I think it was Tony Blair who said, we only just lost a monarchy, we've lost a matriarch. And King Charles III -- as he is now known, her son -- must now unite this country at a moment of great unease. He's been primed for this all of his life, but this is a different era. Isn't it? The Queen -- Queen Elizabeth II defined what we now come to consider as the modern era for Britain.

ELIZABETH NORTON, AUTHOR, "ENGLAND'S QUEENS: THE BIOGRAPHY": She did. And I think that he has a very difficult task ahead of him because she is so era defining. And particularly in the last few decades when she has become the grandmother of the nation if you like. And she has become hugely popular. She's always been very, very popular, but in the past few decades, the Queen is undoubtedly everybody's favorite member of the royal family. And King Charles is going to have to step into some very big shoes and is going to be a challenge. Because people really can't conceive a Britain without the Queen. She almost personifies the nation.

ANDERSON: But there are been times over those 70 years when people here and in nations where she was and still is a head of state, times when people have said they can conceive of a time without the monarchy. There have been some pretty low times for the British royal family.

NORTON: There has indeed. I mean, I think you can't have 70 years without some low points. But there have been some very low points particularly the 1990s. Which is always --

ANDERSON: The death of Princess Diana of course in 1997.

NORTON: Absolutely. The death of Princess Diana, the divorces of the Queen's children which hits her hard personally. But of course, her father came to the throne through a divorce scandal when his brother wanted to marry a twice divorced woman, Wallis Simpson. So, these hit the Queen very hard. And her popularity just plummeted undoubtedly so particularly in the weeks following -- the days following Princess Diana's death, and she was at a low point of popularity and people were thinking, well, you know, perhaps does the monarchy work for us.

ANDERSON: There'll be people listening to this who will be republicans in countries where the monarchy is still the head of state, who you know, may consider a time certainly without a royal family. And it's up to this royal family now to kind of put a new marker down to a certain extent. Do you believe that will be through the now King Charles III or through for example his sons -- the heir to the throne now of course is Prince William -- or indeed through for example Meghan and Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex? How is this going to play out now?

NORTON: So, King Charles has obviously served a very long apprenticeship and his popularity has ebbed and flowed. And it certainly has never been at the level that his mother's has been. So, he does have a hard task ahead of him. He is perhaps not as charismatic as certainly the Queen was when she came to the throne. Which is another difficulty for him. I think he needs to look towards the future and present himself as forward looking. And I think part of that is of course Prince William, also Prince William's children who of course started a new school this week.

I think Harry and Meghan is a difficulty that that he's going to have to work through and hopefully work through as a family in the next few weeks. Because actually what role are they going to play? Because Harry is now the son of the reigning monarch. You would expect him to play a very big role. But of course, he has left his royal duties behind. So, I think it remains to be seen just how they can find a place for him.

ANDERSON: As a historian, when you look back through the Queen's life, what do you believe, what would you mark out as the defining moments?

NORTON: There are so many. Of course, it's seven decades. I think we look at her right back at the start of her accession when she is walking down the airplane steps, she's left Britain as a princess and come back from Kenya as a Queen.


She looks very alone. But there's something about her and certainly Winston Churchill her first Prime Minister noted this. He was very concerned about the Queen becoming Queen. He thought she was too young, too shy, too inexperienced. And he very quickly changed his mind. So, I think this iconic young Queen is something that we'll keep coming back to once we think about her legacy. Because of course we're used to seeing the elderly Queen, but actually I think we're going to start looking backwards more into her past and the early years of her reign.

ANDERSON: 15 British Prime Ministers, 14 U.S. presidents, as I understand it, seven popes. This is quite a record. And Queen Elizabeth II who passed away peacefully at Balmoral yesterday, on Thursday afternoon. Elizabeth Norton, thank you very much indeed.

Our special coverage continues after this short break with a look at the Queen's last public appearance. Plus, reaction to her passing from the new British Prime Minister.

That after this.


CROWD, SINGING: God save the Queen. Long live Victoria ...



ANDERSON: We have this just into CNN. A statement from Buckingham Palace. King Charles III has asked for a period of royal mourning to be observed from today until seven days after the Queen's funeral. Royal residencies will close until after the funeral. Royal salutes will be fired today in Hyde Park.


LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We're all devastated by the news that we have just heard from Balmoral. The death of her majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world. Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign.


ANDERSON: Well, the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at number 10 Downing Street on Thursday. Truss met with the Queen on Tuesday of this week in the drawing room at Balmoral. It was the last time her majesty was seen in public. And you can see in these pictures that she does look frail caring a walking stick, but she greeted the new Conservative Party leader with a wide smile. Truss is the 15th Prime Minister appointed by Queen Elizabeth.

Let's bring in CNN's Nina dos Santos live this hour outside 10 Downing Street. Nina, what can we expect to hear from the new Prime Minister now and going forward?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a period to bring the country together and of course remember the country up until recently has been galvanized by wars inside the Conservative Party that has brought Liz Truss to power after a 52 week long leadership contest, that this is not the moment to revisit any of that. This is the moment that the country is expecting leadership from government and also there's a very somber mood here in Downing Street as you can expect.

As we've seen the last few minutes, new members of the Liz Truss's new government and cabinet arriving in a very somber mood as you'd expect, all dressed in black. No words for the press here as you'd expect. Just quiet poignant to the moments. And of course, the union flag above Downing Street and all official buildings is flying at half-mast as you'd expect and will be for the next several days as the whole country and the government observes that period of mourning that you just mentioned Buckingham Palace has announced.

And the business of government is essentially suspended for the moment except for the bare essentials. And what we're expecting is Parliament to have a special session later on today where lawmakers both from the House of Commons but also the House of Lords will have a chance from midday for ten hours thereafter to pay their tribute to this long- serving and hugely impactful monarch of the Elizabethan era -- as Liz Truss mentioned yesterday evening.

We know that Liz Truss, the Prime Minister, has already now spoken to the new king, King Charles III yesterday evening, and it's expected that later on perhaps even today as soon practically possibly she will have an opportunity to have her first audience with the monarch that she will have to develop her relationship with over the next two years that is remaining of her tenure here at number 10 Downing Street before an election has to be called. Those weekly audiences, such a crucial part of how this country is governed between head of government and also head of state -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Nina dos Santos Is outside 10 Downing Street in London. Nina, thank you very much indeed.

Well, leaders in the Middle East reacting to the Queen's passing. Jordan's Queen Rania said that the late monarch embodied the traits of a faithful and devoted sovereign.

Saudi Arabia's king called her a model of leadership that will be immortalized in history. Also said, his country appreciated her efforts to strengthen their bilateral relationship.

In Iraq, the Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi tweeted that Queen Elizabeth was respected and cherished the world over. And he also extended his condolences to King Charles.

And Mohammed bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, I extend my sincere condolences to the family of Queen Elizabeth II and the people of the U.K.


Her majesty was a close friend of the UAE and a beloved and respected leader whose long reign was characterized by dignity, compassion and tireless commitment to serving her community. The leader of the UAE.

Well, our coverage of Queen Elizabeth's death continues after a short break.

Just ahead, the Queen and Prince Philip, it's an incredible love story that endured all of the pressures and demands of the modern monarchy. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson with our continuing coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. We are here outside Buckingham Palace. King Charles III has asked for a period of royal mourning to be observed from today until seven days after the Queen's funeral. A funeral date has not yet been confirmed.

For many Britons, the death of Queen Elizabeth is deeply personal, like losing a member of one's own family. For 70 years she toiled tirelessly on the commonwealth's behalf and she will be sorely missed by many. Her life as monarch was the fulfillment of a promise, she made on her 21st birthday five years before becoming Queen. Have a listen.


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