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CNN Live Event/Special

Soon: Mourners To View Queen Lying In State; Mourners Enter Westminster Hall To Pay Respects To Queen; Mourners Who Just Saw Queen Speak Out; Queen Elizabeth II Lying In State At Westminster Hall. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired September 14, 2022 - 12:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: So many majestic scenes of London on this day of tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. This hour people who have been waiting for hours and frankly even days to pay their respects will be allowed inside Westminster Hall. That is where the Queen is now lying in state. I'm Erin Burnett along with Don Lemon as our live coverage continues, Don?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And Erin, the public viewing will continue nearly 24 hours a day until the Queen's coffin is moved again for her funeral that will happen on Monday. The royal family now preparing for the funeral after escorting the Queen's coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster, a public show of unity at this time of transition for the monarchy.

Let me get straight out to the crowds right outside of Westminster, and that's Isa Soares as where we can see the line of people moving into this historic hall. Isa, what are you seeing?

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: And Don, it's right now five o'clock here in London, 12pm Eastern. As you can see, just behind me, it's the first time I'm actually seeing the crowds right in front of the houses of parliament. Of course, they will start making their way shortly, inside, of course, Westminster Hall to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.

As you've been hearing throughout the day, this is airport like security, then being told to only bring one small bag with them. No flowers, no flags, and also to dress appropriately, Don, it is some important point the authorities here making, no political statements, no slogans, no banners, remember, just read, be respectful of the occasion.

And that moment, there'll be guide dogs. We've been told they're also no other animals allowed though, but there will be allowed for guide dogs and be moving at all the time. Very similar to what you and I saw actually when we were in Edinburgh how fast, how quickly that line moved. That seems what we're looking at right now. They seem to be doing in sections, moving people along, of course, I imagined that will move much quicker, Don, once things fully open at Westminster Hall. And as you've been hearing, this is the heart, the beating heart, of course of Westminster, and the significance the power of this moment. I'm sure many people will feel it in the same way that we saw St. John's Cathedral, the weight of history. And no doubt, people want to feel the emotion of course of paying their respects to the Queen, Don?

LEMON: All right. Isa, thank you very much. At Westminster and there is the inside of the - you see the Queen's coffin that are lying in state until the funeral, and then it will be moved. Once again, we're bringing now my colleague, Richard Quest. Richard, take us forward to the next few days?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: The next few days are going to be one of enormous in large numbers of people. Just to describe what you're seeing, you have there the various members of the British forces who are standing in vigil, one on each corner. There will be numerous rotations throughout the course of the day, between the different battalions that are doing that each row stand vigil for about 20 minutes on either side, on each corner of the catafalque.

LEMON: This movement in the military, is that an indication that they're opening up to public?

QUEST: My guess is it's an indication of a change in guard of some sorts, bearing in mind, what we're seeing here. As you've got the Blues and Royals, you've got the Yeoman and you've got the King's guard.

LEMON: Everything has been happening on time like clockwork that was supposed to be at five o'clock local time noon Eastern, that the doors were supposed to open to civilians, so to speak, to visit their late Queen (Inaudible) Queen Elizabeth II.

QUEST: The organization of this stone. I've been reading the various briefing notes about for example, the lying in state or laying in state. And for people who are lining up, Isa Soareswas talking about a second or two ago. There are toilets being provided. There is food being, you know, provide, no private aid there for people to get their wristbands. So that you don't have to wait in the queue if you have to go to the bathroom.

Because this is very different, very different from 20 odd years ago when I covered the Queen mothers. This is much more professional, right way down to the key tracker. That's telling people for example, I can tell you, the queue is now 2.8 miles long. And so, a much more refined, sophisticated operation.

LEMON: We'll continue to watch his live images coming in from Westminster Hall, where members of the public will be allowed in at any moment. So, as we start viewing the body, there's some activity there at the bottom left of your screen, which could be the beginnings of that.


QUEST: It was a change of guard. It was a change guard. LEMON: Change guard. So, we'll continue to watch this. My colleague, Erin Burnett, can - as a depth of this as well she can bring us the images and talk us through when they start to let the public in. Erin so, here is the beginning. This is the people's time now. This day is about the Queen. And now the people will be able to pay their respects to watch her lying in state and to say goodbye.

BURNETT: And it is, it is, you know, about the people having this time and having waited as you point out hours and days. As they will now and as you see there be allowed to come in to pay their final respects to the only Queen that - for those who are lined up at any of them have ever known. Julia Chatterley, you know, as you watch them lining up, one thing that we were talking about, obviously, you're here to do know people, who are there, who are choosing to go to get in that line to pay their respects.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is a moment whether you're royalists or not. This is the story that you say, look, I went past, and I saw the Queen in these final moments. And it's a story to tell my grandchildren. Actually, I was thinking about this watching the service earlier with the choir boys as well. And that story that they sung for the Queen in this moment that they will be telling, I think, for the rest of their lives. So, it is a poignant moment, however you feel about royalty, and however you feel this is what the country does first.

And the Zain, it's the first-time people have just come in to Westminster Hall. You see, these are the people who have waited 2.8- mile-long queue, as Richard just said, and here are the first. The British citizens who are coming in. I mean, it is amazing to see it that they have put so much time to wait to do this.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, it's not just about core saying goodbye to a Queen, who is beloved so much. It's also about this real spirit of togetherness, this real camaraderie among British citizens. People saying, look, I don't just want to watch this on TV. I'm going to come here. People who a lot of our reporters have been talking to, talking about spending the night, carrying their sleeping bags and their water bottles wanting to be part of this very real moment in history is British citizens, from all over the world. And the emotion of this moment or says, you see?

TRISHA GODDARD, BRITISH TELEVISION PRESENTER: Yes. The emotion of the moment. I just got to add their British people do love a cue. Cue you honestly, when you go to another country, you can't get past that. But at least you've got a nationality of people who don't mind queuing.

And look at them, each coming by, bowing. That man they're just blowing his (Inaudible) from his hands to her that you just see the deeply personal connection between - and this people here, never met her personally. I think it's safe to say, this isn't, but it is a deeply personal moment for them and the history. I think, yes.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, AUTHOR "ELIZABETH THE QUEEN": And speaking of the history, going back 70 years before that people had a chance to file past all the grandees, the members of parliament, all the fancy people, they all got priority. And this is an indication of how much it has been (Inaudible).

BURNETT: Look at that moment there, as you see that with the hats off, people there are taking that. Look you're going to see another one, I think.

ASHER: And it stands out to me. You look at, Zain, people dressed every which way, you look at every which way, the first people who came in, this is the diverse group of people, which in the context of this whole conversation is obviously significant. And look at this, listen, I think that longevity is only one of the things that made the Queen extremely special. Yes, she came from a background of immense privilege, but she also had that common touch.

At that capacity to unite people, it didn't matter whether she was talking to a duchess, or a doctor, or a mechanic or a shopkeeper, she made everybody feels special. I was born and raised in London. It is one of the most diverse cities in the world, not just in terms of race, but you're seeing people who don't even necessarily speak the same language, coming together, shared with this sort of shared sense of loss mourning, but with this very special bond. And that really speaks to the fact that even in death, the Queen still has this capacity to unite people from who walks of life.

CHATTERLEY: I think that's a great point, actually, about the respect that people are showing, again, irrespective of, of what you feel about monarchy or otherwise, it's respect for a woman that gave a life of service. And actually, that's perhaps what's blown me away about what we've seen over the past few days.

In terms of the response to King Charles III as well, because we have seen spontaneous kisses, children waving and looking excite a bit, they may have been happy that perhaps they weren't in school. And this (Inaudible) of God save the king too. So, I think the combination of these two things actually has been incredibly surprised.

GODDARD: Look at these images here that we're seeing because this is - these people have waited for 20-30 hours nights. And they're there and you see them crying. You see that moment. This isn't. But here's the thing. Here's the thing. I mean, the Queen, yes, but where it is Westminster, the center of democracy. There are so many images here.


When you walk into that building, as I am sure, many of us here have, you feel the weight of history anyway. It's a momentous occasion. I'm sure for many of these people the very first time that they've been. They're going there for the Queen and so on, as you said, we've said many times before, has been a constant. In all the turbulence of the politics that happened at Westminster, the Queen has been a constant throughout that. So, it's an interesting juxtaposition of the political upheaval, yet the Queen was steadfast representing Britain, no matter what happened.

SMITH: And the unify. Always her role was to unify, and she unified in life and she's unifying death. She's unifying the populace. She's unifying her family.

CHATTERLEY: And, you know, also stands out to me about these images, actually, how many people are wearing black? I mean, I can speak as a Brit over the past weekend, it's not appropriate to wear, right, to wear anything else. And actually, maybe this will change as we see more and more people come in. But these are clearly people who've already been waiting hours (cross talk) it's what feels appropriate, actually, so many of these people actually have done soon.

ASHER: I think what's interesting as you've got, yes, a family, for children, grown children, mourning a mother, you've also got a nation mourning its mother in a much more figurative sense. One of my favorite quotes from the Queen is, I cannot lead you into battle, but I can do something else. I can give you my heart. And boy, did she do that?

You know, there's only going to be a select sort of special group of people that are invited to the funeral on Monday. But this is the real congregation. You know, these people might not have titles, they might not be lords and ladies, they might not be Dukes and Duchesses. They might not be foreign dignitaries. But that doesn't mean that, you know, their reverence, and their love for the Queen is any less diminished.

BURNETT: No, no. It is, Julia, I think when you talk about as a Brit, feeling that wearing anything other than black would be inappropriate. I think that touches on what many watching around the world, see, but may not fully understand, right? Which is that what would be the equivalent in the United States of something that would bring, you know, this number of people on all walks of life to come in, and that is what makes this so distinctive, so different?

CHATTERLEY: You know, it's interesting, actually, to find some kind of parallel and it's not the same, because obviously, we've had her for so long and so many years. When Senator John McCain died, I actually got on a plane and went for his funeral just as a citizen because I wanted to be there in D.C. for that and to express some kind of form of condolence to the country and the loss of someone who, I think was so important to the country. At that moment, it's a completely different parallel, but I do think, whoever you are, wherever you are, wherever you are in the world, we know this woman and we've seen what respect the things.

BURNETT: Lots of these people who have waited so long, it is truly moving. And it's impossible to see this and not, and not feel the emotion but they are showing so beautifully. As we continue watching the public viewing inside Westminster Hall, we're going to speak with Queen Elizabeth's former communications director who knew her so well. That's coming up after this.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: And we're going to show you live pictures now outside Westminster Hall, all eyes are on that hall right there. That's where people are now filing past the cockpit of Queen Elizabeth as she lies in state. These are the citizens who look to the Queen for strength and leadership over for more than 70 years now, mourning her death and bowing their heads in honor, live pictures from inside Westminster.

We're going to get to someone who is been speaking to some of the people outside Westminster at the exit where people are leaving after viewing the Queen. Bianca Nobilo, you're with someone who just paid their respects. What are you hearing?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: I have here Grace with me. And Grace has just been inside Westminster Hall. And we actually spoke before you went in today because you've been queuing for days. Tell viewers around the world what it was like to be in there with a Queen lying in state.

GRACE GOTHARD, PASSED BY QUEEN'S COFFIN IN WESTMINSTER HALL: Oh, this is really, really emotional. It's so sad. It reminds me of when my mom died in Ghana. And then you owe the family has to go around, and then pay our respects and say farewell to her. So, I was really, really - I couldn't contain my emotion. Emotion is something natural, you can fake it. So, you have to come out, like we see in the day that I was taught to cry.

NOBILO: And what does it actually look like? How many people were in there?

GOTHARD: The whole chairs have been taken away. So, we were in single five. So, there's nobody sitting down or anything. It just apart from the security and those who were in the parliament. So, the coffin is just the whole flow, the coffin is just there. So, you walk through, and you pass, and you bow, and then you come out.

NOBILO: To how much time did you get to spend in now after waiting for two days?

GOTHARD: Because the queue inside, no, you don't spend the time, you pass and then you see, you bow and then you pay your respects. And you go another three days.

NOBILO: And what were you thinking of, Grace, in those moments that you had with the Queen in the same room?

GOTHARD: As I said, I was hard. It's so sad to, not to see her again.


NOBILO: Thank you so much for joining us. Have a good evening. Back to you.

LEMON: All right. Bianca, thank you very much. With us now the former director of real communications at Buckingham Palace, Sally Osman. She was honored by Queen Elizabeth for her service to the monarchy and the royal household. Richard Quest, our senior international editor at large also joins us as well.

So, you served as director of communications of Royal Communications for the palace. This was during Prince Harry's wedding, that's when you and I met for the first time. Help us understand what goes into planning an enormous event like this? This is a huge undertaking.

SALLY OSMAN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF ROYAL COMMUNICATIONS AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE: It's a huge undertaking. There are hundreds and hundreds of people who are involved and have been involved for many, many years. Not least, the ceremonial, people in-charge and ceremonial Lord Chamberlain's office in terms of the palace, but also the police, the transport people around London to make sure London keeps moving. Hundreds and hundreds of local authorities across the country have been involved.

Let alone the commonwealth and every single realm, every single member of the commonwealth. They've all been across these plans. They've been very well honed. But of course, you never quite know when something's going to happen, how it's going to happen. We didn't know whether it would happen, whether the Queen would die in Scotland, whether she died Sandringham, whether she died Windsor, whether she died here at Buckingham Palace. So, there are lots of contingency plans, but they are very, very well known. And that's why you see them being executed so immaculately. The military obviously played a huge role in this too.

LEMON: But not to be disrespectful, Richard, as you and I have spoken over the last couple of days. And Sally, you know, I think we'll agree with this. It's inevitable. Everyone has to pass but they plan this. It is inevitable for the planning and the planning for quite some time.

QUEST: Oh, yes. Well, we had Charles Allison saying that she - that they don't start it about 30 years ago, when they suddenly realized that the Queen was getting out of it, and that they hadn't actually put it in place. How much - can I just ask Sally, how much - we constantly say the Queen was involved in every aspect of this. But how does that happen in reality?

OSMAN: Well, she wouldn't have been involved in every aspect of, you know, every second. I mean, there were certain things and we saw it as the coffin left Balmoral, the very, very personal touches of the reef, you know, the sweet peas the dailies which reflected the wreath, that the duke was on the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin. Things like her piper, piping her out of Balmoral.

You know, those are the --- the gamesman as well carrying the coffin out, there's a - we didn't see it, but they were deeply, deeply personal touches that would have come from the Queen, but she would basically allow her staff, her professional staff to get on with the planning. And out of respect, we would always try and do it when she wasn't in residence.

LEMON: Even with the hearse, right, with the open sort of windows and the light, we are told that she also had a hand in that because she wanted the people to be able to see her in death. OSMAN: Well, you know, she lived by the adage of seeing is believing, right, right to the very end. Just as the Duke also had a big hand in the planning of his own funeral, which couldn't happen exactly the way it was planned because of COVID. But actually, it happened in a much more appropriate way that you would have loved. And I think the Queen would be immensely proud of the way that the ceremonials have been executed here.

LEMON: You have been emphasizing the importance of ensuring the public understands the purpose and the value of the market. Is that goal being reached you think in what you have seen so far?

OSMAN: Oh, I think so. In the very smooth transition, you know, the Prince of Wales as was now our king has been. He's led a life of service and of duty, transitioning to this role where he has to undertake different kinds of responsibilities. It is different for him, but he is a man of immense, his values run very deep. His purpose is very clear. Every member of the monarchy is in service to the people.

QUEST: Is there a problem in that, unlike the Queen, who to a large extent, was a blank sheet of paper to most of us? We didn't know her views on anything. Is there a problem with Charles who has this reputation of being a meddler, but also, we know his views on key issues? How do you square that circle in a constitutional molecule?

OSMAN: Because now he doesn't - he won't get as involved as he has been in some issues. But the word metal I think, is very unfair. When some of his letters were published a few years ago, it showed that he wasn't meddling at all. He was asking the right questions. The Queen was very good at asking the right questions.

You know, when she went to the London School of Economics at one point around the time of the economic crisis, and sort of said, why did nobody see this coming? You know, she asked the right questions, which doesn't mean to say, she has a view one way or the other. She just asked the right questions. So, Prince Charles isn't that, you know, that guy as well, but he's led a very different life. She became queen at 25. He's now become king at 73


LEMON: Well, she met the moment. And it is going to be up to him to meet the moment as well. Some people may view that as political, but that's what they're supposed to do, right, as the head of state?

OSMAN: As he has said, in every address he's made thus far. He's very clear, but he knows where the constitutional parameters are. As he said on in a documentary not so long ago, that, you know, he's not stupid. He does know where the boundaries are, and he will observe them - he will observe them.

LEMON: Sally, it's such a pleasure to see you again.

OSMAN: Thank you very much. LEMON: Thank you for coming. Thank you. And just ahead, we're going to continue to bring you moving scenes the public paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth and hear more about what their experience was like. We'll be right back.