Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96; Charles Becomes King; World Remembers Life and Legacy of Queen Elizabeth II; Commonwealth Nations Mourn Queen Elizabeth II; Australia Inching Toward Becoming a Republic; Prominent British Singers Pay Tribute to Queen Elizabeth. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 09, 2022 - 04:30   ET




QUEEN ELIZABETH II: 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.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, during her decades on the throne, Queen Elizabeth had one steadfast companion to share all of what were the ups and downs of the modern British royalty. That her was her late husband Prince Philip who she once called her constant strength and guide. She said his death last year left a huge void in her life. A feeling many Britons are sharing today. Max Foster looks back at what was their royal romance.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR (voice-over): It was a love affair that lasted more than seven decades. As Queen Elizabeth celebrated jubilee after jubilee and went on to become the longest- serving British monarch in history, Philip was always by her side.

A childhood companion to the Queen, Margaret Rhodes, was a bridesmaid at their wedding, and was in no doubt that it was a marriage based on love.

MARGARET RHODES, FRIEND OF QUEEN: I think she fell in love when she was 13. I mean, God, he was good-looking. You know, he was a sort of Viking god. She's never looked at anybody else, ever.

FOSTER (voice-over): The couple married in Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. And from that moment on, Prince Philip was an almost constant presence at the Queen's side.

If this companionship came at a personal price, it was one he was prepared to pay.

RHODES: Just to be there all the time behind her, and ready to sacrifice his live, he did it, too. He sacrificed his life, because I think he would've loved to have gone on in the Navy and really made a career out of that.

So, he -- he sacrificed, too, and so I think it's made for a wonderfully solid marriage.

FOSTER (voice-over): The Queen and Prince Philip met before the Second World War when he was a young naval cadet.

ROBERT HARDMAN, AUTHOR, "OUR QUEEN": And his No. 1 job from the go has been to, quote, "support the Queen." And it's just been one of the great royal romances, I think, of history. People talk about Victoria and Albert as a phrase, it trips off the tongue. And I have no doubt that in years to come, people will talk about Elizabeth and Philip in exactly the same way.


FOSTER (voice-over): Netflix hit series "The Crown" captivated viewers worldwide with its portrayal of the young couple's early romance, ensuring their place in popular culture for generations to come.

SMITH: I'll see you tomorrow.

FOSTER (voice-over): The shy teenager and the handsome prince. As parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, they would always remain by each other's side as long as they were together.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, Sean Lang is a senior lecturer in history at Anglia Ruskin University. He joins me now live from Cambridge in England. And there is nowhere where the Queen was revered more than the UAE, for example, where I'm usually based.

The leader there and prime minister there both releasing statements extending their sincere condolences to the family, suggesting that her majesty was a close friend of the UAE and beloved and respected leader. Her incredible lifetime of service and duty to the U.K. is unparalleled in our modern world.

And there are parts of the world where the royal family is perhaps loved more than others. And certainly, that is clear as we consider what that family will be and what they will represent under a new King Charles III. Before we talk about what is to come, let's just consider, if you will, the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.

SEAN LANG, SENIOR LECTURER IN HISTORY, ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY: Well, it could be many facetted really. Because what you just said is really important. Perhaps a lot of people in Britain don't realize just how international a figure she was. And that the very deep sense of connection and affection which you find absolutely everywhere within the United Kingdom is also felt around the world in Commonwealth countries, in European countries, in the United States. As you say, you know, in the Middle East. And I think a lot of people, a lot of British people might be surprised at just how strong that feeling is and that sort of sense of connection with her.

Now, that is unusual. I can't really think of not just any other monarch, but many statesmen and stateswomen who can match that. So, you got to get back to someone like President Kennedy I suppose before you get anything like that sort of international appeal.


And then the monarchy itself, which very clearly is an important part of her legacy. The way in which it's not just survived but changed and of course the two are linked. It survived because it's changed.

And it is light years away from the sort of monarchy that she inherited. And above all, I think that sense of stability which is brought above the political fray and that's absolutely key to the importance of the monarchy for our British people, within British life. And that's a very important legacy that she hands on.

ANDERSON: Given her appeal on the world stage mostly, what does her passing mean for this royal family and for Britain going forward?

LANG: It's the next phase, isn't it. King Charles inherits a family which has in fact been sort of reshaped. And of course, he obviously played a part in that reshaping over the last few years. There have been serious problems and indeed there remain some serious problems. But of course, what they've been doing has been narrowing it down to the direct line of succession through himself and Prince William and Prince George. That sort of line of success basically saying this is the royal family rather from the much wider one which was characteristic of much of the Queen's reign. So that's a change in emphasis and a change in sort of outlook as you go forward.

Then there's the whole issue of the sort of relationship between the monarch and issues. Political but with a small p. Because the Queen was very, very good at keeping her views to herself and maintaining the very strict constitutional propriety that says that the monarch should not get involved in the detail of politics certainly not publicly.

As prince, King Charles of course spoke often on particular issues. But of course, what you have to recognize is that he was ahead of the game in many of them, most notably in environmental concerns which are much more central than they were when he was first talking about them. So that is a change in emphasis inevitably because he's had so much longer at waiting for the throne unlike the Queen.

So, there will be changes. And of course, looking forward now that Prince William is the heir to the throne, that sort of millennial generation which he very much represents again will have a sort of voice at the heart of the monarchy in the way that I suppose it hasn't because it has been further out from the center.

ANDERSON: Sean Lang in Cambridge, England, thank you very much indeed for your perspective. As Britain mourns the Queen, so too do many people, perhaps not

everybody, but many people in the Commonwealth countries around the world. Ahead we'll go live to Australia, to India and to Kenya for you for reaction there to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kim Brunhuber with CNN's continuing coverage of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Around the world people are mourning the loss of the only British monarch many of them have ever known. New Zealand is one of 50 members of the Commonwealth of nations and people around the Commonwealth are honoring the Queen's memory.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a lot of respect for her, her service was great for the Commonwealth. And she made it so other people would join the Commonwealth as opposed to leaving. So, you know, what was the British Empire turned into a really good Commonwealth. So, she did a really good job.


BRUNHUBER: CNN has reporters stationed in several Commonwealth nations in reaction to the Queen's death. Angus Watson is in Sydney, Australia. Larry Madowo is in Nairobi, Kenya. And Vedica Sud is in Delhi, India. So, Angus, let's start with you even though there is a strong and growing movement to replace the English monarch as head of state in Australia. Australia is one of the original members of the Commonwealth and for many there the emotional ties with the monarchy and the Queen go deep.

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: That's right, Kim. The news of the Queen's passing this morning was met by shock and sadness across Australia. And tributes were led by the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese who lauded Queen Elizabeth and the dedication that she had to all Commonwealth countries including Australia, of course.

But it is a complicated relationship that Australia has with the British crown. In 1999, there was referendum here in Australia were Australians were asked to vote as to whether they would like to keep the British monarch as head of state here or whether an Australian should be put in that position. Overwhelmingly Australians voted to keep the Queen. However there has been lively political conversation ever since and there will be a lively political conversation now about whether it's time after the reign of Queen Elizabeth II to again talk about making an Australian the leader of this country here.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is of that opinion that Australia should be a Republic, but as I said, he did lead tributes this morning with a televised address. Here's some of what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANTONY ALBANESE, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: There is comfort to be found in her majesties own words, grief is the price we pay for love. This is a loss we feel deeply in Australia. Queen Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch most of have known and the only one to ever visit Australia.


WATSON: Now, Anthony Albanese there talking about Queen Elizabeth as the first British monarch to visit Australia. The first Australian head of state to step foot on these shores. She did so 16 times. That really underscored her commitment to Australia and Australians The first visit came in 1954 and she was greeted by some 70 percent of the population that came out across 57 towns and cities that she visited in order to get a glimpse of her majesty the Queen.

Now that life will be celebrated as well as mourned by Australians and those are mourning and celebration events have already continued. The Sydney Opera House behind me will be lit up in the next few hours to honor the life of Queen Elizabeth II -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, and I want to go to Larry now. I mean, it's almost impossible to discuss the monarchy in Africa without talking about the dark history of British colonialism.


So how is she being remembered there in that former British colony?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kim, the Queen's death is a consequential event across the African continent. I want to show you just two major Kenyan newspapers that are both reporting on death of Queen Elizabeth with multiple pages of coverage and pictures and tributes. And we've seen a lot of reaction to the Queen's death across the African continent.

It's a mixed bag. For instance, this is a fairytale that often told about a young Elizabeth who went up the tree top here in Kenya, a princess and came down a queen. That was back in 1952 when she learned that her dad had died and she was to be the sovereign, the British monarch. And she had more than 20 visits to the African countries where she had a great connection.

But people also point out that after that 1952 visit here in Kenya, over the next eight years the British colonial government brutally cracked down on the Mau Mau rebellion against colonialization. In fact, they herded more than a million Africans, Kenyans, into concentration camps where they were tortured and dehumanized and some -- many were killed. There has never been a full accounting of that. And that's part of the criticism of the atrocities that were committed in her name. That many Africans feel that she never fully acknowledged or apologized for.

But you see for instance a statement from the South African opposition party that's highly critical. I want to read some of that for you. The Economic Freedom Fighters statement says: We do not mourn the

death of Elizabeth, because to us her death is a reminder of a very tragic period in this country and Africa's history. During her 70 year reign as Queen, she never once acknowledged the atrocities that her family inflicted on native people that Britain invaded across the world. If there is really life and justice after death, may Elizabeth and her ancestors get what they deserve.

Some people have criticized this statement and many of the people were criticizing at. But on the other side, people who are critical of Queen Elizabeth and the British colonial enterprise say when is it ever a good time to address that difficult legacy and colonialization.

But you also see many African presidents and prime ministers paying glowing tributes to the monarch. For instance, this one President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, who said in a tweet: My family and I, and the more than 200 million Nigerians, have learned with immense sadness of the passing of Queen Elizabeth, and the end of her unique and wonderful 70-year reign. She was the only British sovereign known to 90 percent of our population.

And some people supported him and many people also criticized the Nigerian president for ignoring again the dark past of colonialism in Nigeria. But you see a lot of people on social media, in black and brown are finding common ground in the opposition to the atrocities committed by the British colonial empire in their countries.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, and Vedika, similarly fraught relationship between the monarchy and India. So, take us through Queen Elizabeth's relationship with the country and how she is being remembered there now.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Kim, I'd agree with both the other correspondents here. It's a complicated history even for India and the British empire really given the bloody partition that India and Pakistan witnessed way back in 1947.

Now Queen Elizabeth made three state visits to India, but the first of the three was the most significant and here's why. It's because it came straight after she ascended the throne after her father died. He was the last emperor of India. So, 1961 she visited India. She was the chief guest along with her husband for the Republic Day parade and then two more state visits after. But it's been fraught really because of the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives during the India/Pakistan partition.

You know, families still speak of it. India just commemorated its 75th independence day and we spoke to people who had run from the Pakistan side into India and from the India side to Pakistan and they still remember the massacres that took place and they feel that the British empire had a huge role to play.

But coming back to the statements that are being made, the tributes that have been paid here from India, in terms of the media, the newspapers have been reporting her death. The "Hindustan Times" has come out this morning and said, "world mourns as Britain loses its longest reigning monarch." And you also have "The Indian Express" that has come out and said, "Elizabeth the Queen who moved the changing the world for decades." And that "The Times of India" that said, "Elizabethan age ends, Charles is king at 73."

Now the Indian Prime Minister has also paid his tribute. He did write a couple statements on Twitter where he paid tribute to the Queen. He mentioned that he had visited the U.K. twice where he had met the Queen in person. She'd also shown him a gift that the Mahatma had given him -- Mahatma Gandhi had given her rather for her wedding and that's something she shared with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he mentioned in a tweet. He goes on to talk about how she will always be remembered as a stalwart of our times.


So rich tribute being paid by the Indian Prime Minister to Queen Elizabeth after her death. But of course, it remains to be a complicated history between Britain and India -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, interesting perspectives from around the world there. Angus Watson, Larry Madowo, Vedika Sud, thank you all so much, appreciate it.

And we'll be right back.


ANDERSON: Well, some of British music's most notable figures are paying tribute to the Queen.

Mick Jagger tweeting: For my whole life Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II has always been there. I remember her as a beautiful young lady, to the much beloved grandmother of the nation. My deepest sympathies are with the royal family.

Paul McCartney tweeting: God bless Queen Elizabeth, may she rest in peace. Long live the King.

And singer Harry Styles honoring the Queen during a concert in New York on Thursday.



HARRY STYLES, SINGER: Please join me in a round of applause for 70 years of service.


ANDERSON: Well, she was born in 1926 in the wake of the first world war. A period when the world was experiencing extreme hardship. She grew up during the second world war, witnessing how conflict can tear nations apart. She defined a modern era for Britain, as its empire collapsed. It was not always easy, but through it all Queen Elizabeth II was steadfast in her commitment to serving this country, it's people in those around the world where she was head of the state. And for that, reason there is a profound sense of loss. For so many,

as they anticipate a new era under her son King Charles III.

I'm Becky Anderson, from outside of Buckingham Palace, thank you for joining me here on the CNN NEWSROOM. CNN special coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth continues after this.