Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

World Leaders and Dignitaries Around the World Arrive in London for the Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 19, 2022 - 05:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Four days. Hundreds of thousands of mourners have paid their respects. And now, it is the chance of those gathered here, 2,000 of them, including heads of states, and getting an opportunity to say good-bye to Queen Elizabeth II. Let me hand this over to Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper, my colleagues, to continue our special coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In London right now, the final tributes to Queen Elizabeth II are about to begin. The world watching what may be the most grand royal funeral in modern history. Where leaders and other mourners have begun arriving at Westminster Abbey for the funeral service itself, President Biden will be among them.

Soon, the queen's coffin will be moved from Westminster Hall where she's been lying in state since Wednesday, visited by hundreds of thousands of loyal subjects. Britain's longest serving monarch on one last journey home, leading here, the grounds of Windsor Castle, where she'll be joined -- where she'll be laid to rest and then rejoined with her beloved father, her mother, her sister and her husband. I'm Anderson Cooper overlooking Windsor Castle with CNN's special live coverage.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Erin Burnett in London, overlooking the Palace of Westminster, where the royal procession gets under way this hour. Here is what will happen. The queen's coffin will be carried from Westminster Hall inside the palace. It will be placed on a state gun carriage that will head to Westminster Abbey for the funeral service with the royal family and members of the royal households walking behind.

King Charles will walk in the procession along with his siblings, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, and his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry who have been reunited as they grieve their beloved grandmother. Also walking this morning, Princess Anne's husband, the Vice Admiral, Sir Timothy Laurence and her son, Peter Phillips.

The queen's cousin, the Duke of Gloucester and her nephew, the Earl of Snowdon. Then cars will carry the royal wives, Camilla; the Queen Consort, Catherine; the Princess of Wales, Meghan; the Duchess of Sussex and Sophie; the Countess of Wessex. Then, once inside the Abbey, the eldest children of the Prince and Princess of Wales will make an appearance.

We will see Prince George and Princess Charlotte who will walk down the aisle behind the queen's coffin before the service begins. And then after the service, the royal procession will pick up again, and this time, moving past parliament square and other major landmarks here, including Whitehall and Number 10 Downing Street.

It will make a turn near the Horse Guards Parade and travel down the mall to Buckingham Palace, continuing on to the Wellington Arch, and there, the queen's coffin will be transferred to a hearse for that drive to Windsor Castle with the ceremony there to mark her departure. A royal salute and the playing of "God Save the King".

Once again, today, we're seeing those crowds, those hundreds of thousands Anderson talked about lining the streets of London to witness these extraordinary royal rituals. And of course, this is the final time that they will have a chance to pay their respects to the queen who served them for 70 years.

And when the queen's coffin arrives in Windsor, it will move up that long walk to the castle. The royals will rejoin the procession after their drive from London, they will go through the castle grounds and wind up at St. George's Chapel for a public service, and later, a very private burial, attended by the family, King Charles and other members of the queen's family.

And now, let's go to CNN's Clarissa Ward, she is here in London at Westminster Abbey where the mourners have been arriving for the funeral service and camping out here for days in many cases. Clarissa?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, that's right. Well, the doors opened two hours ago, and really, it's in the last half hour that we've seen some of those foreign dignitaries starting to arrive. Kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers from all over the world.

We have seen the French President Emmanuel Macron arriving with his wife, Brigitte, also the German President, Walter Steinmeier, as well as the Brazilian President, Bolsonaro, arriving. You also, Erin, probably just heard that bell tolling. That is the tenor bell that has been tolling every minute, and will continue to do so for a total of 96 minutes, those 96 minutes or 96 tolls commemorating the 96 years that Queen Elizabeth II lived.


We are waiting for U.S. President Joe Biden to arrive. We're expecting that to happen quite shortly. He is one of the few who will be arriving in his own vehicle. Many of the world leaders had been asked to congregate at a certain point and get on buses to attend and arrive at the funeral. As you can imagine, the extraordinary logistics of this sort of an event are really unprecedented.

And I'll just finish by saying, Erin, we are now seeing another fairly sizable motorcade arriving, pulling up behind me to the 13th century Westminster Abbey. This appears to be U.S. President Joe Biden arriving at Westminster Abbey for the queen's funeral, Erin.

BURNETT: And as we watch that arrival, Clarissa, seeing that obviously right across from where we are, President Joe Biden arriving, of course, he was the one who said he would be attending this funeral before anyone else, before his own staff even knew he would say it. I'm here now with Christiane Amanpour, Richard Quest, and of course, our chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

Kaitlan, he did go out early and say, of course, I will be there. Because this meant so much to him and his meetings and relationship with her meant so much to him.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And I think he also really wanted to honor what he finds most endearing about her, which is her commitment to public service. And it's interesting that he is the final U.S. President really closing the chapter on this relationship, the one here at her funeral because, of course, she met during her reign, 13 sitting U.S. Presidents, 14 in total, and President Biden has had this interesting relationship with her.

He is this very proud Irish American. And when he first met the queen back in 1982 -- as you see President Biden and first lady Jill Biden, walking up the steps there. You know, he'd said -- he recalls in his memoir that his mother told him not to bow to the queen. And for that to come full circle to yesterday where he's signing this condolence book, he's paying his respects to her and he's talking about what he admired most about her.

Which he said was her dignity, and the way she made other people feel was a really notable moment, I thought, for this president. Just given she is someone who -- and she ruled for almost as long as he's been alive. And he talked about how when he met her, there are very few people you meet as U.S. President, he said. And the ones that stand out are the ones who live up to their reputations. And he said that she lived up to her reputation.

BURNETT: It is incredible. And Christiane, as you know, you hear Kaitlan give that context which is so important about how he feels. To see them today, it is -- he, of course, was born before she was queen. And yet, there they are, and this moment does mean so much to him, and of course, he is there with Jill Biden, as you see.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Indeed. And of course , the most important international relationship Britain has is with the United States, the Trans-Atlantic relationship --

BURNETT: Right --

AMANPOUR: Is huge, otherwise known as the special relationship. And the queen is considered to have been a big part of forging that. No, she's not an elected leader, but it actually has taken an American -- a senior American commentator to point out that, yes, she's a queen, but she has conferred legitimacy on the process of this constitutional monarchy mixed up with elected government, unlike some of the other leaders who are not invited. For instance, you note that President Biden, you know, was born just

before she became queen, a few years before. But she was also on the throne when Stalin was in power in the Soviet Union.

BURNETT: Right --

AMANPOUR: And we know that Russia is not invited --

BURNETT: Not invited --

AMANPOUR: Because of what's going on right now, and the differences between the two nations that this queen presided over a population and a commonwealth and an era of conferred legitimacy. And that's a really important thing that people and leaders need to be able to rule. And you know, her own son, King Charles, in his very first speech to the people, praised her for not just a life well lived, as he said, but a promise with destiny kept.


AMANPOUR: And it's an important one as the president said. President Biden, her complete and utter devotion to public service, which she first outlined when she was 21 years old, whether my life be short or long, I promise to you that it will be devoted to your service. And that is exactly what happened.

BURNETT: Exactly. Until the two days before she died, that last photo with the new Prime Minister of the U.K. Richard, as we see President Biden, the U.S. President entering here at Westminster Abbey, what are we seeing in terms of the protocol? This is obviously very carefully orchestrated.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: We are now an hour away from the start of the service. And this is the hour when if you will, the most important mourners and congregants arrive including the president of the United States. They will be -- they're being escorted by vergers and members of the chapel and the chapter of Westminster to their various seats.

And where they sit, of course, depends on in a sense how important you are. But in terms of world leaders, you've got to make sure that people are sitting next to people that they can sit next to. That you don't have enemies --


QUEST: Sitting next to each other. And so there's a hefty dose of protocol in all of this. In addition to which in the next hour, we will see members of the royal family leave Buckingham Palace. We will see the king leave. And the idea here is that, they will all proceed to Westminster Hall, where they will prepare for the procession which will follow.

The president now being escorted by senior members of the household military staff to his seat in the Abbey, passing the choir. It will be the choir of the Abbey along with the choir of Westminster, so, it will be.

BURNETT: Well, it is incredible. Usually two or three state visits a year. You now have hundreds in one day when you talk the protocol and the organization, it is absolutely incredible to think about what went into this when people say, oh, it took over a week. It is --


BURNETT: Incredible that it only took the time --


That it took. It is unbelievable Anderson, just to see them actually arrive and to watch this protocol, this is the first time we will ever see a state funeral like this live broadcast. And to actually, all of us around the world, to see it and it could be half the world's population that tune in to watch this.

COOPER: Yes, we, of course, have seen events like this throughout the history of great -- of this country. But to see it in our time, to see it for this queen, is extraordinary. President Biden and the first lady being ushered now to their seats. I'm here with Max Foster and Kate Williams. Some of the people entering in front of the president, you were saying are people who have been awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest of British military honors.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so I think the president arrived a little late, but the order is staying as it was. So, war heroes, winners of the major military honors were walking down the aisle, and he joined the back of that procession. And now, we're seeing the beginning of various processions that will walk down the aisle.

COOPER: Then, let's just talk about what lies ahead for viewers who are watching around the world. The royal procession will actually leave from the Palace of Westminster where the queen has been lying in state to Westminster Abbey. That probably -- when does that start to happen?

FOSTER: So, that will be just before the top of the hour. It will arrive just around the corner there. But at the moment, we're seeing the heads of states seated, and then we're seeing senior clergy seated. And then the members of the royal family walking in the press room -- in the procession, will arrive at Westminster Hall.

So, they will arrive at half past with the coffin. The coffin will be obviously brought in at the end. And there will be various, you know, bearer parties as well. The gun carriage carrying the late queen will also have a wreath of flowers which the king has chosen. We can talk about that when we see that.

And the coffin will -- you know, just before the top of the hour, go down the aisle and that will be the beginning of this service, which the palace is very clean to -- keen to emphasize that this is a service for the queen's remarkable reign and life-time of service as head of state, nation and commonwealth. And this is the first of three parts really today.

This is the international part, then you'll have the royal part, I'd call it, the service in Windsor, and then the family part, which is the private burial at the end of the day.

COOPER: We're going to see a number of regiments from the British military during this procession, bringing the queen's body to Westminster Abbey. It was important for the queen to have this service at Westminster.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, Westminster Abbey, this is the first -- this is the first funeral for a monarch that we've seen since 1760. And the queen, she's had so many wonderful times here. She was married here in 1947, that great post-war wedding. She was crowned here in 1953 where it currently holds 2,000 people, and for the coronation, they got in 8,200.

So, they really got in extra people. And really, all these people here today, commemorating the greatness, the 70 years of the queen's reign. She vowed when she was just 21 to dedicate her life in service, and so she has. These world leaders, and you were just seeing the faith leaders -- and just as Max was saying, there's been a -- not -- it's not just the great and the good.

There are also many ordinary people there, people who've won honors from the queen and the George Cross, our highest order of bravery in battle.


You just saw ahead of President Biden, Johnson Beharry, who won it during the Iraq war, the first living soldier in half a century to receive it. And also, the George Cross for Courage Outside of Battle was awarded by the queen to the National Health Service in July, 2021. So, we have many heroes, the National Health Service including the nurse May Parsons, who gave the first COVID vaccine.

And really looking at Westminster Abbey here, founded in the 11th -- founded in the 11th century. You know, it's such a great place. And the majesty of the Abbey is so significant.

FOSTER: This is the first minister of Wales arriving. The next person due to arrive is the Prime Minister Liz Truss.

COOPER: Obviously new to the job, this is now what? Her second week, I think. If --

FOSTER: The first minister of Scotland there.

COOPER: We are watching Westminster Abbey as VIPs arriving for the queen's funeral amid unprecedented, of course, security there and across London. We're also awaiting the first glimpse of the royal family on this somber day. We're covering every moment. Stay with us. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BURNETT: These are live pictures from Westminster Abbey, where dignitaries are taking their places for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. That begins at the top of the hour. And we expect to see some members of the British royal family leave Buckingham Palace very soon, ahead of the procession that will escort the queen's coffin from Westminster Hall to the Abbey.

And as we await for those first glimpses of the royal family, let's go back to Clarissa Ward because she is there at Westminster Abbey following the arrivals. And Clarissa, I know you have now seen the leaders of the U.K., the political leaders of the U.K. past and present arriving.

WARD: That's right, Erin. We've seen several former prime ministers, David Cameron, Boris Johnson, John Major, Tony Blair, all arriving really in the past five minutes. And we expect shortly to see the current Prime Minister Liz Truss, the queen's 15th and final prime minister. She is expected to arrive shortly. She will be giving the lesson at the beginning of the service.

And then, of course, we will expect to see members of the royal family beginning to arrive. You can hear the tenor bell continuing to toll. It will toll a total of 96 times over 96 minutes to commemorate the 96 years that Queen Elizabeth II lived, Erin.

BURNETT: And now, let's go to Nina dos Santos at Buckingham Palace, Clarissa is at Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace of course, is where the royal members of the family, some of them, at least, are about to leave for the funeral. And we're going to see that procession from there to Westminster Abbey. Nina, what is happening there? Obviously we are, you know, momentarily awaiting seeing them.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Erin. Well, I was just looking to check and the royal standard is still flying high over Buckingham Palace, meaning that the king, the monarch is in residence. We're expecting over the next 10 minutes or so, members of the royal family to start departing from the gates of Buckingham Palace.

First, we're likely to see in motor cars, siblings of King Charles, also grandchildren of the late Queen Elizabeth II. They will head towards Westminster Hall and also some of them to the Abbey. Then, a few minutes later, we're expecting King Charles III himself to depart probably with his two sons, his heir Prince William and also Prince Harry as well.

And they will head over to Westminster Hall to witness the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II being taken down from the catafalque where it's been lying in state for the last few days by Grenadier Guards, and then mounted on to that gun carriage thousands of people here desperate to get a glimpse of the royals on the way out, but also the procession that will pass by here a couple of hours after. BURNETT: All right, Nina, thank you very much. As we watch these

arrivals, and yesterday right by Buckingham Palace, you know, I saw someone camped out for two nights just for that glimpse, to try to get that glimpse. And just moments from now, the queen's coffin will be carried out of Westminster Hall, the royal procession then to Westminster Abbey will begin. It is all coming up and we'll be right back in just a moment.



COOPER: And welcome back to our continuing coverage of the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II. And more world leaders, dignitaries arriving. You see Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now arriving at Westminster Abbey. Just moments ago, we saw Britain's new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, also arriving.

People from all around the world gathering to say good-bye to Queen Elizabeth. We've also now seen on the mall, some members of the royal family, we're not sure exactly who are being driven in a small convoy of vehicles to scattered applause along the route, heading towards Westminster Abbey as well. This gathering has really -- I mean, it is extraordinary to see so many world leaders, dignitaries all in one place.

FOSTER: These are the realm prime ministers. So, Ardern of New Zealand there. So these are all the countries around the world that have the queen or had the queen as head of state, now have the king as head of its state. So, these are very senior figures in this moment. They will also be invited as well to St. Georges later on for the more streamlined service, I think, of the internment if we can call it that.

And then after them, we'll have members of foreign royal families. So they'll be starting to come through as well. And while this is happening, the spouses of the senior royals will also be traveling to the Abbey, whilst the senior royals will be going to the hall to take part in the procession that will arrive there at the Abbey very soon, and then it will be quite profound.

We were talking, Anderson, about, you know, how one of the unique aspects of a state funeral is that the coffin is towed, not by horses, but by about a 100 sailors. So that's going to be quite an extraordinary sight.