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CNN Live Event/Special

Queen Elizabeth II, the Public Pay Tribute. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired September 14, 2022 - 10:30   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR They're trying to get as many people as possible through the hall in order to pay their respects to the queen.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, now lying in state. And the people -- the invited guests there may want to pay respects once the officials and the choir withdraw and then the doors will open, and you'll see a quite extraordinary scene, I think, 24-hour queues going past the coffin and a huge logistical challenge. Everyone has to go through airport-level security to go in there. They're allowed one small bag. And as you say, they could be queuing for up to 24 hours. The king and queen traveling back presumably to Clarence House, which is where they're still living at the moment because they haven't had the chance to move their stuff, if they are going to move to Buckingham Palace.

COOPER (voice over): And people have also been told not allowed to bring water inside the hall or to bring flowers inside the hall. This is --

FOSTER (voice over): Teddy bears.

COOPER (voice over): -- teddy bears, which is, yes, Paddington Bears, which we have seen a lot of.

And, Don, now the king, King Charles III, royal consort -- the queen consort, Camilla, coming toward your location at Buckingham Palace, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Yes, it is. I believe that they were going to go to Clarence House. Not exactly sure if they're coming to Buckingham Palace, but it is believed at the Clarence House. But there's about an hour-and-a-half break where they will prepare Westminster, and then start allowing the crowds of people in. Many people of the, Christiane and Richard, have made their way from the streets here and making their way to the line to get into Westminster.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There is now -- the government's queue traffic has now gone live online, which tells people how long the line is. And at the moment, the line is two miles long.

LEMON (voice over): Along at this shot. It's spectacular.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice over): Here they come down close to us, but they will turn presumably right on your screen -- now left on your screen into Clarence House.

Look, Don and Richard and everybody, we were saying that nobody does this better than the British. This time of pageantry is what this country is known for. But I can't help remembering -- of course, I don't remember, but in terms of the pictures and the history of what America went through when President Kennedy was assassinated and the tragedy and the grief and the incredibly choreographed, most beautiful funeral that was given in Washington (INAUDIBLE).

QUEST (voice over): They are coming behind us.

LEMON (voice over): They are coming behind there, right here.

AMANPOUR (voice over): So, that's interesting. They're going to Buckingham Palace?

QUEST (voice over): Yes.

LEMON: We see the royal standard on top of the car and the royal standard at the top of Buckingham Palace. So, this goes right behind us here. But it was said that they were going, at least according to the schedule, to Clarence House.

AMANPOUR (voice over): Well, I don't know. They're going around and around. Let's see.

LEMON (voice over): So, maybe they're coming here for the people, and who knows if they will go inside. But if they turn -- yes, they're turning in, they are going inside.

And behind them -- I'm not sure that is -- perhaps the members of the royal family. But we'll know in just moments exactly who is going there.

AMANPOUR (voice over): But I do just want to finish that thought, because Americans have gone through something similar, a massive trauma in not so many years ago. And, you know, the image of Prince Phillip was representing the queen at John Kennedy's funeral, walking alongside President Charles de Gaulle, and all the world leaders who came, President Kennedy lay in state in the Capitol on a catafalque built for Abraham Lincoln back in 1865, and then sort of a reflection of what we've seen of the queen's journey from her death, from Balmoral, to Edinburgh, now to London now to Westminster.

Robert Kennedy, when he was assassinated, they didn't know what to do about the mourners. So, what they decided, the family, was to put his body on a train and move from New York to Washington, where he was buried at Arlington Cemetery. And the images taken from inside that train of the people lined up to say goodbye to Bobby Kennedy were amazing. And that's what we have seen today here, that emotion.

LEMON (voice over): As we say, this is a split-screen moment. Now you see the crown there, which belonged to the queen, which is now the king's crown, King Charles III. We see it there. And then you saw moments ago the crowds on the screen, out in London, and then the motorcade for the king and the queen consort arriving at Buckingham Palace. I'm not exactly sure that it has a change in schedule. I want to get that clarified. But what is the significance, do you think, if they're coming here rather than going to Clarence House?

QUEST (voice over): Clarence House is where they live. Buckingham Palace is the seat of the monarch. Buckingham Palace is the office. If there's anything like receptions or lunches or things that need to now be down as the day moves on, it's going to be done at Buckingham Palace. That is the home of the monarch.

I think to listen to what Christiane was saying carefully, I think, Christiane, it is important, these traditions.


It is important that you have the state funerals of whichever leader it is, because it is the bedrock of your system of government, whatever it might be.

AMANPOUR (voice over): Also people. It's a community mourning. It's a nation now in grief. It brings people together as a unifying moment. Who knows how long it will last, but it is a moment of unity.

LEMON (voice over): But in comparison, as you said, the late John Kennedy, president of the United States, and you look at the crowds then and then you look at the crowds when Princess Diana died and so on and so forth, we must remember, though, these are different times. There are many more ways to view this, right, basically in your hand? And people may not feel that they necessarily need to. There are some who do show up at this place to view it because it's immediate and the pictures are much, much clearer.

AMANPOUR (voice over): Exactly. And to that point, Don, a while ago, there was an email from the government of London, the city of London, saying that all the public spaces for actual human beings to come and watch this today had been filled up along the route. So, they were directing everybody to Hyde Park to watch on jumbo screens. So, even though you can watch it on your mobile phone or whatever, so many people came here to watch this and will watch her coffin.

QUEST (voice over): For a good reason, because they want to be part of the community and the spirit that is taking place at this moment. That's why they come here.

LEMON (voice over): It is a spectacle, and I mean that in the most positive way. It is a spectacle to witness. And people will want to say, I was there when it happened.

AMANPOUR (voice over): And it's a spectacle designed for the people of this nation to bond with the monarchy again because they know they have to do that right now.

LEMON (voice over): And you can bet the new king and the prince of Wales and the new duchess of Wales -- or the princess of Wales, I should say, they are keenly aware of that at this moment.

So, coming up, huge lines of people waiting to view the queen's coffin are on the move. It's open about an hour-and-a-half here.

Plus, the queen's former press secretary is going to join us to break down what we have seen so far and what happens next.

There's much, much more of our coverage still ahead.



COOPER (voice over): An extraordinary event that we have witnessed over the last several hours here in London. And now crowds are on the move after hours of waiting patiently to pay respects to Queen Elizabeth II along the route. They are now queuing, a line stretching some two miles at this stage on a very bright and sunny day here in London, at least two miles long.

The queen now lying in state after a rare and truly remarkable a royal procession.

Bianca Nobilo is with some of the people is near the front of the queue to view the queen's coffin. They will be allowed in some time afternoon or 12:30. Bianca, what are you hearing from people?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is the final (INAUDIBLE), people who have been waiting for hours, sometimes days. And I have got a group of people here who have been waiting since how long, 5:00 A.M.?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 5:30, so, about 12.5 hours we've been waiting here.

NOBILO: Has it gone quickly? What's been the mood been like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been really good, actually. There's been loads of very friendly people around us, very willing to talk and make it almost a joyous celebration of the brilliant life of the woman, the queen left.

NOBILO: And how do you all feel now, now that you're getting closer to actually being able to go and pay your respects to the queen lying in state?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very sad. I'm a big royal family fan. And I feel really honored to be here today to pay my respects to the queen.

NOBILO: Anderson, these are the refrains that I've been hearing from people throughout the day, and the mood is -- it's very warm, it's friendly. The police, the volunteers are all trying to make sure people are in a good mood and keep them happy.

I sat in on a volunteer meeting earlier and they said, you have to remember how long these people have been queuing. So, let's keep everyone in good spirits.

Of course, there are security concerns. There's a heavy police presence, a military presence around me as well, Anderson. And also in that volunteer briefing, they were reminding people to stay vigilant, if they see anyone suspicious, any bags left unattended, anything that looks out of place, that they have to immediately report that.

So, this is being covered from all angles, but it definitely is such an important day, such an important place to be for these people who have queued for the longest. They've been the most committed because they were here and they're determined to be the first one to see the queen lying in state.

COOPER (voice over): Yes. Bianca, we'll come back to you shortly.

Clarissa Ward is farther back in this very long line. Clarissa, whereabouts are you and what are you hearing?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, this long line, Anderson, of people behind me, it actually goes all the way across the road onto the other side. Some of these people have been waiting since 9:00 in the morning. Many of them traveled from far away. I spoke to a woman earlier who left her house at 1:45 in the morning.


But they didn't want to miss this opportunity.

And as you can see, now the line is actually starting to move. People are waving. How long have you been waiting? 11:00, that's not so bad. That's not so bad. Do you have any sense when you'll be able to get in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say like around 6:00.

WARD: Around 6:00. So, seven-hour wait, Anderson -- I would say four- hour wait. So, different people have been waiting different amounts of time, but all of them did not want to miss this moment, did not want to miss this opportunity to pay their respects and really, I think, to witness history.

Can I ask you, sir, what --


WARD: Okay, fair enough.

Can I ask you, madam, what brought you here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's just a wonderful lady and I just wanted to pay my respects.

WARD: A wonderful lady and you wanted to pay your respects. Where did you come from today?


WARD: Bristol. And have you been waiting a long time? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just 11:30 this morning.

WARD: And have you got food?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I have food, yes.

WARD: So, you can see the stewards are really trying to usher people through here. Like us, they're all wearing wristbands, and that basically show where they are in the line. They have numbers. Yes, you can see very proud waistband wearer here. How long have you been waiting?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since about 11:00.

WARD: 11:00, okay. So, most people, Anderson, are saying they've been waiting here since about 11:00, so a few hours, but not as bad as some people had feared. There were warnings that there could be overnight waits for people potentially, and the line is now starting to move.

Now, obviously, the official lying in state opening to the public doesn't start until 5:00 P.M., but what they're trying to do is basically funnel people through so that they're in position to constantly keep that line moving. They want to allow as many people to come through and pay their respects. When the queen mother lay in state, I believe 200,000 people passed through to pay their respects. And they're hoping to be able to allow even more people, estimates in the hundreds of thousands, right up to a million may try to come. Not everybody potentially will be able though because of the time constraints. This only lasts for four full days until the queen's funeral on Monday, Anderson

COOPER (voice over): Clarissa, we will check in with you, as you are out there with people at the wait is a long one.

Joining us now is Charles Anson, who has served as press secretary to Queen Elizabeth from 1990 to 1997. Charles, thank you so much for being with us.

I'm sorry for your country's loss and for your loss. You obviously knew her extraordinarily well. When you heard the news, what went through your mind?

CHARLES ANSON, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Well, I was abroad actually as it happened on that day in Greece, and, of course, a mixture of sadness of her dying after this very, very long reign, period of her reign, and also a sense of gratitude for the contribution that she had made in providing all that steadiness and sense of stillness in the middle of a very troubled and speedy world.

COOPER: A sense of stillness?

ANSON: Yes, sort of at the heart of it, a stillness about her, which was very comforting, I think, at the time of her death, but also a remarkable quality in a world where people tend to be quite excited and so on. I think the queen's presence, whether it's with her prime ministers or with other world leaders. So, it's this sort of sense of quiet experience about her.

And, of course, above the political frays, her take on what was happening in the world was without sort of a political tinge. It was more a human experience, really, at a very high level.

COOPER: And she was -- correct me -- tell me, she was aware of that, the importance of that stillness. She was aware of that as being an important part of her role?

ANSON: I think, yes, that sense of steadiness in an uncertain world. I think the monarchy can, at its best, provide that stillness and consistency and continuity. And I think her commitment to public duty and backed by her very, very strong Christian faith made for a very peaceful presence, and something which people enjoyed in this quite troubled world.

And the last time I saw her lying in state in Westminster Abbey, I was a student at Cambridge at that time when Winston Churchill died. And, of course, he was a great giant, a colossus on the world stage and very political, and also the queen's first prime minister.

COOPER: He greeted here when she first came back --

ANSON: That's quite correct. So, this day now, coming up for the queen's funeral, reminds me very much of Winston Churchill lying in state and a sense of history and sense of continuity, this mixture of a troubled world and the peaceful stillness of the queen's presence.


And at this time, I think it's something that people enjoy on a human level, as well as being glad of seeing these characteristics in the head of state.

COOPER: We've just seen this extraordinary procession, the likes of which, really, none of us have seen in our lifetimes. This is something I'm sure you were involved in the planning when you were working at the palace. Generations have been involved in the planning of this. How do you think it went? And the queen had a lot to say about decisions that were made in her own procession.

ANSON: I think that's right. I mean, the plans, of course, for a royal funeral are very much written down in detail from really the beginning of a reign. And in this rather uncertain world, that's even more important. And so this has been planned for a very long time.

And as you say, the queen's input, that wonderful idea of having the coffin coming back from Scotland to London, it's sort of a wonderful touch.

COOPER: Was that her idea?

ANSON: I think it was certainly her idea, and then taken up and encouraged and embellished, of course, by the experts.

COOPER: It was extraordinary to see. I've never seen anything quite like it.

ANSON: Yes. And you really sort of felt it and saw it. And in some ways, the mystery around a royal funeral is partly what you don't see but can imagine. But I thought that was an imaginative gesture that didn't detract at all from the dignity of the movement of the queen's coffin to London. It added greatly to it.

COOPER: It was one of the most extraordinary moments to be at Buckingham Palace last night, and to see the royal hearse arrive and the lights from within, and not only the lights from the palace but also the light from people's cell phone cameras, which is not something one can really plan for or predict, it just added to the kind of -- there was a magic and electricity to that moment.

ANSON: Yes, that's right.

FOSTER: But also the rain and that bright sunlight when the public come out.

ANSON: Yes, that's right. And I think that mixture of the dignity and quietness of monarchy with this sort of great flourish and gesture of the coffin lit coming into London by road, you think it might have sort of seem a bit odd. But, actually, it was wonderful pageantry and it had its own dignity. And, of course, for the crowds, it was marvelous to see a sight rather than just a car or a hearse passing by as human experience.

COOPER: You know the challenges of this better than anybody. How does one keep, for King Charles III, and anybody who comes after him, in a world that is less and less still, that is increasingly, constantly flowing with information, and an overload of information, how do you maintain that mystery of the monarchy, that stillness of the monarchy in an age where tweeting and instagraming and all the like?

ANSON: Well, I think you maintain it because you have a concept as monarch of what the monarch, what the sovereign can do. And, of course, you'd not engage in political life and speechmaking and so on. But there's something about the presence of a head of state and that stillness, which I think people find very comforting in a very sort of highly driven way that we all live in our days.

FOSTER: We've talked about over the last couple of days about the low point in the modern monarchy, which was Diana's death and the queen's response. You were one of her key advisers at the time.

ANSON: Yes. I had actually stood down after seven years earlier in 1997, so I wasn't actually in the palace at that stage, but, of course, remember it very fully, and particularly the queen's broadcast on her return to London on the eve of the funeral, which, again, was a moment when the monarchy changed gear in a way, I mean, the sort of quietness of a constitutional monarch, and the queen's decision, I think some advice from the prime minister, was to show a sort of personal side. And she did show that side in her tribute to Diana.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: And it wasn't just so moving that she talked as a grandmother and she praised Diana's gifts and, really, as you say, really won over a quite hostile public. And in that moment when she bowed her head to Diana's funeral procession, the only time I believe we've seen her bow her head to anyone in public, paying such respect to Diana, really, it was an incredibly moving moment.

ANSON: No, I quite agree.

FOSTER: Diana (INAUDIBLE) as well you were there.


ANSON: Yes, I was.

FOSTER: This was the famous -- a horrible year that the queen described, with the family breaking up, the divorces. Was it --

ANSON: Fire at Windsor.

COOPER: Fire at Windsor, yes.

FOSTER: Yes. But that phrase -- you were involved in that speech, presumably?

ANSON: Yes, I was, but I wish I had been an inventor of that phrase, Anna Serebelus (ph). It came from one of her former private secretaries.

FOSTER: But you've seen it come together today and with all that unity without (INAUDIBLE), but was that heartening to you after all of that?

ANSON: Well, I think that phrase sort of took hold in people's minds. And, of course, they interpreted it as the queen sort of voicing some sort of sorrow about her own situation, which was far from the truth. She was talking about the unsettled states of the world. The queen is very unself-absorbed, was very unself-absorbed as a person. She was talking about the atmosphere in which we were living in 1992, and, of course, in a very difficult year not only for the monarchy but for the government with a very slim majority.

And, of course, with the symbolism of Windsor Castle being on fire, I mean, the most ancient building in this country, one with the most history, there was something symbolic about it, which was quite hard to take on.

WILLIAMS: On her silver anniversary as well that the castle goes on fire.

ANSON: Yes, that's right.

COOPER: Thank you so much for your time. It's really such a pleasure to talk to you. We wish you the best.

We are getting closer to the public viewing of the queen's coffin. Our live coverage continues. Stay with us.