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CNN Live Event/Special

Royal Procession Escorts Queen Elizabeth II's Coffin to Westminster. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired September 14, 2022 - 09:30   ET



KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: And that, I think, really was a symbol for her of her monarchy, throughout her life, throughout her reign. She wore it frequently. She practiced wearing it for her coronation.

It's so moving now to see it on the coffin as it goes down the Mall. I just seeing her on the Mall, she was saying this is the journey she's been on for her wedding, for her coronation.

For me, it's so poignant to see the queen's coffin going down the Mall. It was her moment when she had her greatest moment of freedom, I think, when World War II ended, the V-Day in Europe, her father allowed her and her sister to go out and celebrate with the crowds.

They stood out on the Mall, shouted "God save the king." No one recognized them. They had this incredible moment of freedom. And the queen later said that she felt nothing but a tide of happiness and relief as she walked down, post-war.

Really, reminding us of what we seen. She's seen World War II. And here she is, the end of this incredible 70 years of reign, being celebrated by this choreographed procession, reminding us that the queen was both head of the armed forces and, of course, served herself in World War II as a trainee ambulance driver.

It was always so important to represent the veterans and the soldiers. Such moving scenes.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: The king now, official head of the armed forces. He is wearing the full day ceremonial uniform with a rank of field marshal. He's carrying his field marshal baton. That was actually presented to him by the queen when he became field marshal, back in 2012.

So much symbolism here. But all of these military titles are so essential to what it is to be a member of the royal family.

And you'll notice that Prince Andrew isn't wearing military uniform. He's no longer a working royal. He was fired, effectively, by Her Majesty for his links to Epstein.

And that's why, today, he's been stripped -- he was stripped of all of his honorary military titles and isn't allowed to wear a military uniform on ceremonial moments.

Also, Princess Anne there, the king's sister. Now, she's played a surprisingly high-profile role throughout this process. She was at Balmoral, we do believe, for the last 24 hours of the queen's life.

We don't know who was there when the queen died, but we know that Princess Anne was there.

Most of them didn't get there in time. But Prince Charles might have done. He was in Scotland at the time. We'll probably never find out.

But Princess Anne was the one who was there, we think, in the last moments of the queen's life. A dear, dear daughter to the queen, a shared love of countryside and horses. They were incredibly close.

And Princess Anne described it as such a privilege to be able to escort the coffin through Scotland and down from Scotland to England into Buckingham Palace. So a deeply moving moment for her.

And I think, Kate, you were describing it as a very unusual moment here, to see a woman in full ceremonial procession.

WILLIAMS: Yes. Usually, this is the role of the male royals. That's what we saw in Princess Diana's funeral. You normally see it's the male royals.

But at this point, Princess Anne is taking this role, princess royal, really reflecting the queen's deep bond with her, the deep connection that Anne escorted the coffin all the way from Balmoral to Edinburgh.

And now she is walking behind the coffin now. Her mother had such a deep respect for her. And Anne, she's been colonel-in-chief as well.

Just looking here at the King's Troop, the Grenadier Guards, remembering that the queen's first-ever official engagement was as colonel-in-chief of the Grenadier Guards in 1942.

They've served 10 kings and four queens. They've been founded in 1656 to protect Charles II. And now they are guarding the queen's coffin.

And I just find those images so poignant. The crown going down, the crown that she will never wear again. The crown she wore for the last time in her reign. And this is its final journey.

FOSTER: Will be next worn by the king at his coronation.


WILLIAMS: Will be worn for the king at his coronation, the Imperial State Crown.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I should point out, every minute, you're hearing a gun fired in Hyde Park from the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, as the procession moves towards the palace of Westminster.

(BELL TOLLS) COOPER: There, you just heard the bell tolling from Big Ben.


COOPER: And there one of the minute guns firing.




RICHARD QUEST, CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: The procession makes its way up -- the procession makes its way up the Mall, left Buckingham Palace. There behind the coffin, the Prince of Wales, the princess royal, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Duke of Sussex, and of course, the king.

They make their way past Clarence House, heading up towards Horse Guards Parade, where they will turn right. And of course, where King Charles will, in future, take the salute on the king's official birthday, as it will be, when there's the Trooping of the Color.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Extraordinary to see, as you can, in those phenomenal photos and views that the queen's coffin passed, as we were all talking about the Imperial Crown, the state crown on her coffin, and the legacy that she has continued and that will continue.

She passed the statue of Queen Victoria, the last great queen of this kingdom, the United Kingdom.

And one can only again just sort of assimilate all the history that has come throughout this queen's reign.

Of course, Queen Victoria, who reigned over the massive, huge British Empire on which it was said the sun never sets. And now, in these intervening years, of course, it has weakened. It has got smaller.

But there's a commonwealth of voluntary nations. And we can talk a lot about that, because a lot of them have also sought independence while still wanting to remain in the commonwealth.

And this coffin ends up in Westminster, lying in state, which is not an obligation, a public lying in state, we're told by historians, for instance, Queen Victoria did not want to publicly lie in state. And this will be public.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: We're now about 14 minutes in it. As Richard Quest pointed out, it's a 38-minute walk.

But just as we look, because the coffin is beautiful. Every bit of it picked out by the late queen, Her Majesty, Elizabeth II. The coffin is draped with a royal standard, which is placed on an Imperial State Crown on a velvet cushion and a wreath of flowers. The flowers on the wreath include, again, picked out by the queen,

white roses, a spray of white roses, white dahlias, a selection of foliage including pine from the gardens of Balmoral, lavender and rosemary from the gardens at Windsor.

And of course, the coffin is on top of a gun carriage of the queen -- or the kings, I should say, Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

I think it's important to point out as well, as we have been talking about the members of the family who are taking part in this, the immediate members.

Prince Harry and Prince Andrew cannot wear their official military uniform. But they are wearing their --


LEMON: -- medals and badges.

AMANPOUR: And they were, as we know, the two members of the current royals who actually served on the front lines.

LEMON: They were in combat.

AMANPOUR: Well, yes, indeed. Prince Andrew during the Falkland's War in the early '80s and Prince Harry in Afghanistan after 9/11.

QUEST: The procession continues its way up the Mall.

This is a route the queen will have taken, did take, many times, on horseback for the Trooping of the Color. Every major ceremonial event involves a procession up the Mall, but none as sad as today.

LEMON: There's a beautiful coffin.

And, Richard, as you and I were talking as this is going on, we mentioned the drums being muffled.

QUEST: So the band of the Royal Marines, which was leading forth, you also have the band of the Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream Guards.

The drums are muffled, which is an indication, of course, of mourning and is the way in which the royal standard adorns the coffin and, atop, the Imperial State Crown.

LEMON: So this walk, this procession will take about 38 minutes to get to Westminster, where there will be a service, where we expect to see and hear?

QUEST: That statue, I believe, is the -- it was put up after her death. And the statue of the queen mother, who also was lay in state, of course, in Westminster Hall. But this is a much greater.


AMANPOUR: Listening to historians talking about the significance of the eventual lying in state, that this is, "A," a visible declaration to the people of what's actually happening.

And now we know that the city is planning for long, long queues, miles and miles of people to be able to go 24/7 over a period of four days to pay their respects. A visible passing of this moment.

And then there will be the symbols of monarchy on her coffin. There'll be -- you know, the crown, the orb, the scepter will be placed on her coffin.

LEMON: I need to get to CNN's Matthew Chance right now, who is near where the procession is now with the coffin.

Matthew, what is it like witnessing? What is going on?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi. You've come to me at this exact moment. Yes, you've come to me just as the Life Guard filed past us in what is an extremely solemn procession here. The band playing that funeral music.

I can tell you, the atmosphere in the crowd has shifted from one of sort of respectful celebration in the minutes before this, in the hours before this.

Certainly, people have started to visibly stiffen. I'm seeing people, you know, standing to attention, holding up their cell phones to record this moment.

Because, you know, there are people here, many people here, everybody here, perhaps understands what an historic moment this is and that they are part of it. They want to record it for posterity.

Of course, the queen held in such esteem by people, not just across Britain, across the world.

I spoke to somebody coming in from Jamaica earlier. And he was like, you know, we loved her. I loved her, he said. And that's why he's come to pay his respects.

People have come down every corner of the United Kingdom as well to be part of this historic moment.

LEMON: OK, Matthew, thank you.

So we have described -- I was going to say, we've described and it's time to --




FOSTER: So the king's Life Guard are about to turn into the Front Yard Horse Guards. You'll hear a royal salute as they do that. They're about to turn to the left as you see it. I'm currently looking at the king and Princess Anne and Prince William

and Prince Harry behind. It's such a profound image, seeing them together.

This is, you know, the monarchy, as we know it, the royal family, but not the monarchy. We've got Prince Andrew there. He's not part of the monarchy. Prince Harry is there. He's not part of the monarchy.

But Princess Anne, who has played this much more senior role now. She's a fascinating part of this and given a really prominent role, when normally a woman wouldn't be in a procession. Of course, we're in more modern times.

All the other women are spouses, which is why they're traveling in the car behind. The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, in the car behind, and the queen consort.

They're about to turn there into Horse Guards. There's a trumpeter there, but the trumpeter won't sound. This is a tradition for, you know, deaths as opposed to marriages or births.

There will be a royal salute as the coffin passes, as well.

And you'll see various other military units gathered around there, as you will around Parliament Square, as we get closer to Westminster Hall.

The drums have been draped and muffled. This is a unique thing that they do for ceremonial events, isn't it? They muffle the drums, give it a particular sound.

It's basically sack cloth isn't it?


WILLIAMS: Yes, they muffle the drum using sack cloth to give the sound to reminders that although there's music, which is a funeral, this is a moment of sad reflection, as well.

And there really seeing the royal family walking in this sad, final walk behind their mother, really reminding us of when we saw the procession behind Princess Diana.

This long procession behind the queen and the king's lifeguard about to give this salute, who once guarded Charles II, after he was restored to the throne.

And really, with Elizabeth was their colonel-in-chief. Reminding us that this is her last act as colonel-in-chief. They are now the king's Life Guard. They were the queen's. They're now they're the king's.

And all the crowds here out watching this moving celebration.

There we are with the royal ladies coming out of Buckingham Palace here, moving behind --

FOSTER: The queen consort and the Princess of Wales in the front car. We would expect there at the top of the hierarchy, effectively.


FOSTER: The line of secession, defined by the line of secession.

Whatever you say about the monarchy, as much as they want to modernize, there's a line of secession and it can't be changed.

Big Ben tolling the bell in Elizabeth Tower. This is Elizabeth Tower, named after --

WILLIAMS: Renamed in 2012, wasn't it?

FOSTER: And we -- also, upgraded, upholstered, effectively, that had scaffolding on it. That was black until recently. Originally, but it was blue and they brought it back to the blue.

COOPER: So in the first vehicle is the queen consort, Camilla and Kate. We haven't seen Meghan, but she would probably be, well, obviously, in one --


FOSTER: I think we would expect the Countess of Wessex, who has taken a more senior role, Prince Edward's wife. She's probably in the second car.

COOPER: That's Sophie?


FOSTER: And then, potentially, the Duchess of Sussex.

The difficulty here, of course, is balancing state -- if this is a family affair, Meghan and Harry would be guaranteed a very high position, because they're very close to queen. But it's a state event, as well.

So this is where the queen wanted them, really, in the procession. They didn't have official roles.

COOPER: You also talked about the muffling of the drums. We should point out that some flights from London Heathrow Airport are actually being disrupted over the last hour and through the next hour as well,

I'm told it's to ensure silence over central London as the ceremonial procession moves from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.

So they're really limiting flights, even, over central London, so as to not interrupt the sound of it.

FOSTER: But also to allow people to grieve and pay their respects without being distracted.

Army helicopters got similar instructions not to interrupt with the crowd. WILLIAMS: It's very significant, how quiet London is. It's normally

such a noisy city. And here it is, complete silence apart from this procession.

COOPER: Where are they now?

FOSTER: This is Horse Guard. So this is a really central military point where they gather for inspections.


FOSTER: And every year, for the queen's official birthday, a parade in front of her and receive colors.

Prince William there behind his father.

COOPER: Prince Harry's not allowed to wear military uniform in this procession. He is wearing a number of medals.

FOSTER: So this is complex. There's been a lot of talk about this. The uniforms that members of the royal family are wearing, they are honorary titles. They didn't serve in these particular units.

Prince Harry, of course, served on the front lines, served for 10 years. Incredible sort of military record. But after you've left the military, you can't wear a uniform.

He hasn't got an honorary uniform to wear. So that's why he's in mourning dress. But we should remember that he was serving on the front lines. And that's why his medals there are reflected on his chest.


COOPER: Just extraordinary that -- you know, again, it bears saying, there's not many people in the crowd who were here for Princess Diana's funeral and very well remember standing along -- I remember, as a young reporter, out in the crowds, watching the funeral procession go by.

And to see the history repeating of Harry and --


FOSTER: Queen consort and the Princess of Wales coming out of their cars at Westminster to take their positions for a short service that will take place.

There's a countess of Wessex there.

COOPER: Sophie. That's Edward's wife.

FOSTER: Yes. And the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, with Sophie. So that's interesting. She's been given a real prominent position in this procession, Meghan, which is a real tribute to her from the king, I think. (MUSIC)

COOPER: Obviously -- I mean, the royal family is obviously aware of the public interest and the public concern over what's occurred, sending messages in small ways, throughout the last several days of the place that Meghan is invited to this, in a place of honor, in the procession as well.


WILLIAMS: Yes. All the queen's choice. Everything that she planned out exactly where everyone would be. This was her decision, her desire. And these plans were really being reviewed really right up until the final moment.

FOSTER: This is the , which will take them all to Whitehall. We were allowed to put a camera at the roof of this. It's always the closest we get to the coffin.

So this is quite a moment that will live long in history with a really clear view of the Imperial State Crown a Queen Elizabeth's coffin.

COOPER: Let's just watch.







QUEST: The royal funeral procession now turns out of the arch of Horse Guards, and makes its way down Whitehall, which, of course, is the seat and center of government.


QUEST: The procession will make its way to Parliament Square, about any second now. You're watching it pass the Senate House, where every year, until only last year, the queen would lead the nation in Remembrance Sunday, for those who fell in battle.


QUEST: Big Ben, one chime every minute.

And then at Westminster Hall, so the coffin is taken inside, where it will be put on a caterfalt (ph), Christiane, where there will be several hours before members of the general public begin the lying in state.

AMANPOUR: Right. I think that starts early in the evening, our time, at about 5:00 our time, when the public are allowed in.

And you'll see not just the crown, but we're told the scepter and orb as well, which are the symbols of the monarchy.

And, interestingly, for many reasons -- and as we see the king and his brother and sister passing the Senate hall, which meant a lot to the queen, because of her context with World War II.

And on every November 11th, thereabouts, which is Armistice Day, which is all the politician of all the parties, members of the royal family, members of the commonwealth, everybody goes to put their wreath inside Westminster Hall, which is an awesome place.

Even architects even say the architecture is absolutely spectacular, the way it was built.

But also, it speaks to the heart of this very strange fusion between monarchy and government in this country, obviously. Because Westminster is the heart of government, where laws are made and passed. And yet, that's also a major part of government.

We understand that Westminster Hall is where the trial of King Charles I, happened. He was eventually beheaded.

It's where the coronation banquet for Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VII, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, who herself was also beheaded. It has so much resonance.


And I think one last point we were making before, this is voluntary.


AMANPOUR: It's not by law or even tradition, that the queen must be lying publicly or the monarch in state. Queen Victoria chose not to. She chose to lie in state in private.

LEMON: One can't help but notice, Big Ben, as Ernest Hemingway said the bell tolls, "Today, the bell is tolling for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which means, when someone dies, it's one person's death is a death to all mankind.

But soon we'll go inside the services here and we'll take part in this as we watch the coffin make its way to Westminster Hall, Richard.

QUEST: It goes past Downing Street, the seat of the prime minister. And you have the guards now passing the Senate house.

Once it gets to Parliament Square, it will make its way into Westminster, and there a party will place the coffin and place is on the caterfalt (ph) in Westminster.

LEMON: It says the coffin is going to arrive on the north doors of Westminster and is then carried in the process by the Bearer Party, the Queen's Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, from the gun garage, and then placed on the caterfalt (ph), as you said, in Westminster.

And there will be a short service. Then it will be led by the archbishop of Canterbury -- our Clarissa Ward interviewed him on the streets there -- accompanied by the dean of Westminster.

And then the service is expected to end. And the captain of the Queen's Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards will assist the senior sergeant and -- (INAUDIBLE) -- the royal standard they'll stand on the steps at the caterfalt (ph) at the south end.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And everything you two are saying, describing about the precision to this goes to the heart of what this country does better than any other country in the world, right? Nobody.

And we say this every time there is a royal event and a ceremony. But this shows it in full technicolor, in full military precision, because it is the military that has planned all of this, along with queen's aides and family and the like.

But no other country does this, which is one of the great selling points, if I might put it that way on this day, of this realm. That's why people come from all over the world to see this thing, which still is part fairyland, part real and part modern as well.

LEMON: Yes. But let's be honest, the biggest part of our audience are probably in the United States of America, and they have questions about this, about the pomp and circumstance, about the costs of all this, about the monarchy as well.

QUEST: I think Americans, when they look at the royal family, they see a soap opera, they see a drama.

LEMON: Pageantry.

QUEST: They see the pageantry.

But the significance of what we are showing now, this week and the weeks ahead, is that the monarch as a constitutional realm.


QUEST: The monarch is at the center of it all. It's not some sort of puffery around it.

Just to say, you'll see now the entering of Parliament Square as they will make their way around toward the house of parliament, the seat of government. What a fascinating juxtaposition.

AMANPOUR; And perhaps today is not the day to talk about those bells as they're tolling, Don, whether they also toll for the monarchy. It is solid right now.

But there's no doubt that, no matter how much goodwill he has, King Charles does not have the esteem of Queen Elizabeth II. Just doesn't.

I mean, she -- as Tina Brown, who we know is a really well-known author and journalist, has written a book.

And she has said of Queen Elizabeth, "She was the last well-behaved person in our or coarsening transactional world amid the clamor of ubiquitous narcissism, whose refusal to expose her views or justify her choices was soothing."

And people react to that. They project whatever they thought, on her, because she was pretty silent on those matters.

LEMON: One of the best pieces I've read in all of this -- I want to get Anderson Cooper.

Because, Anderson, I understand it's passing in close proximity to where you guys are.


COOPER: And the procession is very close now to Westminster, to within sight of the location of where we are right now.

I'm here with Max Foster. Kate Williams as well.

It just -- it -- you were looking at the schedule that was done about a year ago. And this was done to the tee, to the minute.

FOSTER: Yes, literally, to the minute. The most recent plan I saw signed off on last year, which is incredible.

I've also just been given some details about the music here.


There's some clapping here. A lovely moment, isn't it.


FOSTER: A very different atmosphere isn't it, from Diana's?

COOPER: It is.

FOSTER: I hear Big Ben.

The music we've been hearing was chosen by the queen.