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CNN Live Event/Special

Royal Family Escorts Queen's Coffin to Wellington Arch; Hundreds of Thousands Gather in London to Witness Funeral Procession of Queen Elizabeth II. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 19, 2022 - 08:00   ET



KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: It's so moving, I think, when you're looking at the royal navy soldiers, when you think that the Queen, she first met Prince Philip which she visited the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth where he was the today cadet. Then he went off to war and wrote to her throughout the war, and how much the war formed the Queen. She was just a young girl, evacuated to Windsor Castle, as you were saying. She served when she became 16 in the women's auxiliary service. And that's why veterans of Navy have always been so important to her.

And it was entering, the Queen Rania of Jordan, she was saying that the Queen was someone who always paid attention to every detail, that things weren't like they were because they happened that, because the Queen wished them to be that way. So really, as you've been saying, this is the culmination of decades of planning. The Queen was looking at the planning, thinking about the planning right up until not long before she passed away. And this is just how she would have wanted it. I think it's perfect, the precision, the respect, how the crowds are both sad but also celebrating her long reign.

And it really makes me think of all the wonderful, wonderful royal celebrations we've been to together. We've been to the royal weddings, haven't we, and the jubilees. And this is the final moment of her reign, such a great reign in which the British monarchy has been, I would say, the most popular it ever has been.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is interesting in this country that we have seen -- we saw Prince Charles and Diana in a carriage going down the Mall. If you have been alive over the last 50 years, you've grown up with the royal family. Their travails are things you have followed, their marriages, their deaths. And I think for people in this country certainly there is this sense of belonging to these people and sort of relationship to them even if they've never met them, or -- they are always there. It is --

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It's a constant challenge for them. They're always trying, particularly the Prince of Wales, as he is now, trying to balance his public and private life. They are a family and they are defined, like all families, by births, marriages, and deaths. And that's what connects us all to their story. But they're also professionals and they feel they have a right to a private life. I think one of the most poignant things today for me is watching young Prince George who is in one of the cars behind the coffin. So the Prince and Princess of Wales have always been very careful to protect him. And their whole thing, it's absolutely their priority in life is give their kids a sense of normality growing up, but they cannot deny what's coming to him. So they've made the decision to put him into the procession earlier and also into this parade. He's sitting in the car, and he's looking out and seeing full ceremonial. He's not going to see this again until his grandfather dies. And this is the Prince and Princess of Wales saying, look, you've got to start soaking this in. You can't deny it. And this will all be yours one day. He will have this one day. And I think that that is the transition we're looking at as well as the transition from Queen to King.

WILLIAMS: And there we are looking at Wellington Arch that commissioned to celebrate Britain's victory in the Napoleonic Wars. It's actually supposed to be a triumphal entrance to Buckingham Palace, but they abandoned it and took the statute of Wellington off the top. And this is the great moment where we'll see the Queen moving from the gun carriage into the hearse, and then on her journey to Windsor where we are.

COOPER: Don Lemon is joining our coverage. Don, you were here all last week, every step of the Queen's journey from Balmoral to London, and now on this day, her final journey to Windsor right now passing, about to pass Buckingham Palace.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You're right on, Anderson. Good morning to you. It is certainly interesting to watch this happen. As you know it, being in London you hear that death march, the march there -- you're heard it for days now, and with the muffled drums, either the official march along London, along the Mall, and throughout the city, or the bands just practicing with the muffled drums, the bells tolling as well. So we're watching this along the Mall and into Buckingham Palace and then to Wellington Arch, and then later for a private funeral at St. George's Cathedral.

But I want to bring in Trisha Goddard. You've been watching this. What do you make of the funeral? It's certainly beautiful.

TRISHA GODDARD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It is really beautiful. And I think for a Londoner as well, I think like most Londoners we take all this for granted. When you see it all together -- I've been running in just of those places we're seeing now. And I've grown up around them. But seeing this pomp and this circumstance actually makes me proud to be a Londoner, proud to be a Brit.


And one thing I've really noticed is that in America you're really used to having the stars and stripes out everywhere. We are not as used to that in the U.K. To see all the union jacks and to see all the royalty, it's something quite different. I think you would agree with me. You don't see as many flags. You don't see that pride in Britain. This has really restored the pride of Britain. It's brought people from all over the world to Britain. It's showing people what we do best, what Britain does like no other country can. And it actually makes me feel pretty proud, which is unusual for a Brit.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I agree with you, actually. It's the pride element of this amongst the sorrow and everything that she represents. Look at what we're watching here. It's the layers of service to a country, to a realm, whether it's the military, the people, that even after -- how many days is it now, 11, they're still lining the streets. This is a nation brought to a standstill in respect for a Queen that most of us really have only ever known. And I don't think we will ever see anything like this in our lifetime.

LEMON: I want to get now to CNN's Nina Dos Santos. She's at Buckingham Palace as they are making their way there, the Queen's cortege making its way to Buckingham Palace and what is a circular part of Queen Victoria Memorial. What are you seeing there, Nina?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: We're seeing the procession come right past us at Queen's Garden. It's facing now almost Buckingham Palace. And the gates at Buckingham Palace are very unusually left open. We saw earlier, Don, hundreds of staff file out, obviously in traditional mourning clothes of black, file out, wait outside. They've been standing there for about 45 minutes waiting to bow to the Queen. Remember that she had about 491 staff in her various palaces, many of them deeply committed to her because of her very, very long service. And they will be hoping to pay their respects in first person, Don.

We're also expecting the King's Guard to give a royal salute from inside the forecourt of Buckingham Palace as her coffin, of course, passes during this historic moment. Obviously, it will be making its way to Constitution Hill. I'll just pause for a minute, because this is the moment when the King's Guard is expected to bow to the coffin as we see it moving past Buckingham Palace. Those gates open, and the staff also likely to themselves bow to their employer, the late Queen, but also, more importantly their sovereign for 70 years.

We're expecting the procession then to head up Constitution Hill to Apsley Way. As we've been telling our viewers, the procession is expected to arrive imminently in Wellington Arch. Wellington Arch is an important place because it's named after a great military and war hero of the 1800s, the early Victorian times, the Duke of Wellington. It faces a monumental building called Apsley House, fondly known to many of us Londoners as number one London. But you can see there the staff lined up to pay their respects. It's a very, very moving moment here. I call you, Don, the crowd is absolutely silent. I've seen some people stand on their toes to get a better shot. At the same time other people have bowed in front of the coffin.

LEMON: As we watch this happen and when they talk a pause, we will as well. What is it like to be there?

DOS SANTOS: It's a huge moment. As a born and bred Londoner, I can tell you as a child I grew up not very far from Buckingham Palace. And I remember with my sister and my mother when we'd drive by, we'd see always have a look out and see whether the royal standard was flying, to see whether the Queen was in. The Queen felt like a grandmother to a nation here, and it's incredibly, I feel incredibly privileged firsthand to be able to witness this, as so many people among the crowds here probably do as well.

But you've got to remember this is a huge security operation. I'm looking at the crowds as we speak. And literally every meter or two you have a member of the army and a member of the police force. You have medics in the crowds on hand because people have been standing by for hours in case they faint or there's any kind of medical emergency to make sure they get help immediately so that these processions go as smoothly as possible. There's a real sense today that this is an historic moment, one where the eyes of the world, more than 4 billion people are looking at the United Kingdom. It is going to be one of the most televised events that we've ever been part of, you, me, Don, Anderson, all of us.

And just a fact for you here, when the Queen was born in 1926, there were half the number of people on the planet at that time as the amount of people who are estimated to be watching this event here on screens around the world and also outside Buckingham Palace. Don?


LEMON: Sally, we have seen the Queen Consort, we have seen the Princess of Wales, also obviously also the King, Charles III, heavy is the head that wears the crown. He is quite aware of the moment and what is ahead for him. I said earlier there was going to be a private service, actually a smaller service then what happened at Westminster Abbey, and the Queen did that because she wanted to get more people, right, at her funeral. Someone probably said, you're probably going to need a bigger place, ma'am.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, AUTHOR, "ELIZABETH THE QUEEN": Yes, and that was very deliberate. And she well remembers her own father's service at St. George's. So this is something that is going to have two parts, the Westminster Abbey part and the smaller, in a way more somber committal.

LEMON: As we're looking at Buckingham Palace, we're in the used to seeing it this way. Usually, it's a wedding or something a little bit more festive. But not today, Sally.

SMITH: Well, Buckingham Palace is mainly an office building. It's not much of a residence. And none of them who lived there have particularly enjoyed it. I remember when George VI became king and they had to move over there, and the young Princess Elizabeth said, do you think we can build a tunnel underneath so we can go back and forth. Pretty soon she came to love it and treasure the collections and the history. It is an incredibly historic place filled with memories as well as great paintings and pieces of furniture. And certainly, she has memories of -- or had memories of World War II when the King gave a thanksgiving reception for soldiers. It is just a, it is the symbol really of the monarchy.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: That's exactly right, it's a symbol. When you think of Balmoral as being a spiritual home or a summer retreat, Buckingham Palace is really the corporate headquarters. That is the administrative focal point. It is a symbol for the firm, for the monarchy itself. It is a symbol and a place of -- where people gather around for moments of national mourning, national rejoicing as well. It's the focal point for the Queen's jubilee. It's 400 years of British history. That is what we're seeing when we think about Buckingham Palace.

SMITH: And also, the balcony, which is an iconic place where we see -- most recently we saw the Queen celebrating her jubilee. We saw the end of World War II celebrated on V.E. Day and V.J. Day. We've seen the Buckingham Palace balcony for weddings, for her wedding, for all of the weddings. So it's the center of administrative work and it's the center, it's a place where they live, where they've entertained heads of state. But it's also a very core administrative center for the monarchy.

LEMON: I find it very interesting that we are, especially on this side, Americans are getting a lesson in history.


LEMON: What the Mall is, not the mall, Buckingham Palace, right, Wellington Arch. You're seeing all the great symbols of London, the River Thames, the Tower Bridge as well as Big Ben, all of this playing a role in the --

ASHER: Absolutely. What we're seeing is the splendor and the grandeur of London as a preeminent world global capital city on full display here.


GODDARD: I have been to Buckingham Palace so many times --

LEMON: Look at that shot right there. It's beautiful.

GODDARD: And I can't imagine having to live in Buckingham Palace. I've been to Windsor Castle many, many times, and I get that. Sandringham is gorgeous. Sandringham is a really lovely home. But Buckingham Palace, the thought of living there, it is a big dusty monument, but it's the jewel in the center of the royal --


LEMON: But isn't it, it's a symbol of British stiff upper lip.

CHATTERLEY: It's a symbol of everything. It's interest listening to what Nina was saying about the fact that every time she used to drive past with her mother, she'd look to see if the Queen was home. I think whether you're British or not, that's what you associate with the royal family and the Queen and their home in the storybooks. And obviously many people don't know the history of the royal family, and I include Brits in that. The crown, again, is something as well that you associate with this. But actually, I just think what we say there is something incredibly

beautiful because we did just see the Queen pass by Buckingham Palace for the last time. And actually, really the last time we saw her there was for the jubilee celebrations. And I am so glad as a Brit that she made it that long and had that moment to see the British public thank her and celebrate her in that way. Once again, she's still working, and we are thanking her.


SMITH: There was something that profoundly affected her. I was talking to somebody who was with her at Balmoral in the beginning of August, and she couldn't stop talking about the size of the grounds. She was still overwhelmed.

This is somebody who first saw crowd like that when she was nine- months-old.

LEMON: May I jump in and ask you something because we're talking about the Queen Victoria Memorial, which is in front of the circular part and that statue of that Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace. You said the question is now where will they put this Queen's Memorial?

SMITH: Memorial.

LEMON: Any idea?

SMITH: Well, I think the best guess is somewhere in Parliament Square, somewhere where she can be really prominent on her own. Another possibility is something called the Fourth Plinth, which I think will diminish her, maybe Prince Philip can go there. But it's a challenge.

They're going to have to find a place, which will reflect her 70 years of service and her, you know, her greatness, really, and I'm sure people are thinking about it.

GODDARD: Then it is a question of who will actually be commissioned to do it.

SMITH: Well, yes.

GODDARD: Whoever does it, I mean, the eyes of the world will be on that statue.


GODDARD: You know, it's not just going to be just anyone. That's going to be a whole process, and it is hard.

SMITH: And the Queen's mother and father have really lovely statues overlooking The Mall, large statues. And she is -- I mean, Queen Victoria's is obviously the biggest, but I think something commensurate, if not even grander, although the Queen maybe would object to that, because she was essentially humble and modest, but I think she would want one.

CHATTERLEY: But just to bring it back to the pictures that we're seeing now, what the audience is viewing now in terms of the military band, the scale of the procession that we're seeing the beauty, actually, the majesty, this -- and I thought this earlier, actually, when I was watching the service, as well, it's fit for Queen.

LEMON: A service fit for a Queen.

CHATTERLEY: It is a service fit for a Queen and this is a procession worthy of her specifically, not just any Queen, and her service and actually just watching the Royal family themselves, who've been on display ever since we lost her, once again, and even the children and there were shown in a few images in the last few moments of the Prince of Wales' children, George and Charlotte, and the fact that even they walked in the procession earlier. These are iconic images.

LEMON: When you look at her coffin, you know, every detail she picked, but there was one I am told that King Charles III picked, which was part of the flowers, and it was the flower that was derived from her --

SMITH: Her wedding bouquet.

LEMON: Wedding bouquet. Right.

SMITH: Yes, and -- but Charles is the consummate gardener, and he would know exactly what flowers she would have loved, but also, he had in mind for tradition, and that myrtle and heather.

CHATTERLEY: But also something so intimate as well, to choose that flower, this great elements of love within all the pomp and ceremony that we've been discussing, and at its core, and I'll always bring it back to this. It is still a family and we share in the family, and they're part of our history and our institution, but it is still a family.

GODDARD: I couldn't agree more.

SMITH: Well, the wonderful juxtaposition really on the coffin, these symbols of state juxtaposed with flowers, which are really symbols of love.

LEMON: Trisha, this is what the feeling that is being conveyed through our television screens. This is what it's like to be in London as I was there. In the beginning, there was this consternation, do we celebrate the new King? Do we mourn the passing of the Queen? How do we do them both in tandem?

GODDARD: I think, we do because we saw the --

LEMON: This is what is being conveyed on our screen. The sound of the march and everyone is just sort of walking around going what -- you know, what is happening?

GODDARD: I think both. I mean, with the minute silence, I think it was interesting after the minute's silence everyone all around, you heard people break into cheers and applause and what have you.

With grief, with ending comes a new beginning and I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. But I think while mourning the Queen, we're also mourning the end of a really difficult time for the world, for Britain.

There's a lot of grief here, but there's a lot of hope for the future, and I couldn't agree more seeing the Prince and Princess of Wales, their children with Camilla, the Queen Consort pointing out the landmarks.

It is about the death, the sad death of the past. They are, there are the children, but it's also about the future and that embodies the future. That picture right there absolutely.

LEMON: Prince George and Princess Charlotte -- that's the future, and the Princess of Wales.

GODDARD: Absolutely embodies the future.

ASHER: And actually, Trisha, to your point, you know there is a difference between the demise of a Queen and the making of a King.

GODDARD: Oh, yes.


ASHER: In the UK, obviously that transition happens immediately as soon as the Queen dies, King Charles becomes King. However, I think it's going to take him some degree of time to build up the same rapport with the British public that has the monarch over the past 70 years.

LEMON: Can I get back to that shot because that shot is the future.

ASHER: That is the future.

LEMON: Right there. And one person that, you know, could have been in that shot was the Prince of Wales, but you saw the Princess of Wales. You saw Charlotte, and Louis and George and then and then, you know, you had the Queen Consort, as well.

SMITH: There is a moment in the funeral for Georgia VI in St. George's, when a commentator noted that there were four Dukes in the procession that was it. It was a Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Windsor, the Duke of Gloucester and the son of the late Duke of Kent, and it said there is a fifth Duke, who isn't there, who represents the future. And that was of course, three-year-old, Prince Charles, the Duke of Cornwall, who obviously couldn't go.

But his niece and nephew are old enough. I mean, the future George VI and the future Edward VIII went to Queen Victoria's funeral when they were five and six and they had to do it all. They had to do the procession, they had to do the funeral, they had to do the burial. This is a kind of very Royal thing to do.

LEMON: George VI having to take care of Charles when he was a baby.


LEMON: Talk to me about that?

SMITH: No, no. I mean, this was when George VI was five.

LEMON: Oh, I am saying George VI having to take care of Charles when Charles was a baby.

SMITH: Oh, yes.


SMITH: Oh, yes. Very much when his -- you know, that was part of his -- I mean, when he when his parents went away, you know, he was, he and Queen Elizabeth were in charge of them for months. So, they had --

ASHER: They had a very sort of austere upbringing. You know, I mean, his mother was busy sort of carrying out the duties of being monarch. Obviously, his mother became a Queen when he was sort of three or four years old.

They didn't necessarily have a close bond, because she couldn't be there all the time. There is a famous anecdote that Charles talks about, whereby he is in bed and his mother is tucking him into bed, reading him a bedtime story literally wearing a crown on her head.

SMITH: Wearing a crown. Yes.

ASHER; And yes, she was just practicing, but it just goes to show that she had to put duty and country above all else, even her own family.

SMITH: Yes. Well, she did. And, you know, she was, as Camilla pointed out, the Queen last night, she was in a singular position. She was the only woman and it was incumbent on her to prove herself and that --

LEMON: And they came to Wellington Arch for the precession of the Queen's coffin, along with members of the military, and of course, the family has well and as we saw that picture in the back of the car, George, Charlotte, the Princess of Wales, and the Queen Consort.

These pictures are just amazing. This is history, we will never see this again.

GODDARD: I think, I think as well, you know, just to bring it back to the point that this is a family in mourning, sharing their mourning. I was really drawn by Charles from seeing pictures of all the Royals walking behind the coffin there and their faces because there is something hypnotic even watching this about walking in step and being alone with your thoughts, and I really start to think that now it's starting to set in.

With any grief, you know, there's that shock. There's that busy, busy, busy and then there's that moment of "Hang on, this is the moment I would have -- or mum would have loved this or my granny would have loved this." Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, what she has done in the last few days, the stamina, the stamina -- even now walking in those heavy uniforms for so far, step by step past historic -- your country's history, I think emotionally for all of the Royals right now, I think this would probably be a pretty difficult time.

LEMON: You bring up a very good point because I remember, you know, I had a sudden death in my family and I didn't eat or sleep for days and I can't imagine what this family is going through having to do all of these funeral processions, and walking, and staying upright, you know, and trying to deal with this in a very, very public way.

CHATTERLEY: I think it is important that the Royal family has seven days of mourning after this and they said that at the beginning that they get their personal time after this having shared their grief with the nation for 11 days.


CHATTERLEY: Look at these images again, I think, to your earlier point, you can inherit title, you can inherit wealth, you earn respect, and she earned respect over a lifetime of service and that's what's reflected here.

LEMON: So Anderson Cooper here we are at Wellington Arch part of the ceremony, certainly not the end and there's much more to go as we watch these religious, majestic pictures and sounds coming from London.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that extraordinary Wellington Arch and to see the various regiments, units of the British military, the British Navy, the Army, Grenadier Guards, the Beefeaters there, bringing the casket by Wellington Arch.

Just talk a little bit about, Max, and Kate the importance of Wellington Arch, the history of it.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Yes, Wellington Arch, it was really supposed to symbolize Britain's victories in the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the idea was, it was commissioned in the 19th Century. It was going to be this big, triumphal entrance to Buckingham Palace, but in the end, it didn't -- the money didn't quite work out, so it was left as it was.

And it used to have a big statue of the Duke of Wellington, the hero of the Napoleonic Wars, hence the name, but that was themes not quite correct and it was moved off to elsewhere, and a new statue was put on top by Adrian Jones, a former Army veterinarian, Quadriga in 1912, and did you know that in that -- in there, it's actually hollow inside and in it until, 1992, they had the smallest police station in London, but it's really -- it's such a great symbolic place.

It's an entry to Royal London, entry to the way up to Buckingham Palace, entry to the park, and this is the moment where the --

COOPER: I mean, look at that image. That is just such a stunning -- WILLIAMS: It is so stunning. Everything in London is there. We have

the Triumph, we have the skyscrapers behind, we have the Palace and this is the moment where we will see the Queen move from the gun carriage, which has borne her, borne her father, her grandfather, her great grandfather, her great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria, and she knew all the way, and now she will be moved to the State hearse and come to Windsor.

And this is such a symbolic moment where the Royal family wish goodbye to her and then they will be joined her for the private ceremony later this evening.

FOSTER: So, the Queen Consort and Princess of Wales, also Duchess of Sussex and the two children now, the Princess of Wales with travelling cars behind and they're being given you know, a perfect view of history unfolding.

And I think that's on purpose, so George can grow up knowing that he was part of this and can have a sense of it for when it happens to you know, his grandfather and father.

WILLIAMS: The Queen herself went to her father's coronation when she was just 11. It had a great impression on her.

She wrote an account saying that she thought the Abbey was full of a haze of wonder, and that moment that she saw her father's coronation, Charles saw her coronation when he was just a small boy, she never forgot it.

It really instilled in her the notion of duty and service.

COOPER: Clarissa Ward is joining us as well. And just the continuity of history, the repetition of history from one generation to the next.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's absolutely seamless. I mean, this is pageantry, military precision.

This is history. This is tradition.

As one woman I spoke to in the crowd said, "This is what puts the great in Great Britain," to watch this unfolding, unlike anything we've really seen in in modern history, and to see the transition of power, as King Charles III, not only mourns his mother, but now takes on the mantle of being the King of England.

And we heard at the end of the funeral service in Westminster Abbey after two minutes of silence, the congregation sang "God Save the King." They will be singing that again during the committal service here in Windsor.

And the Archbishop of Canterbury who gave the sermon in Westminster Abbey saying on Twitter: "It was the honor of a lifetime and among its saddest moments to preach at the State Funeral of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, whose hope and faith in Jesus Christ inspired her servant leadership." And of course we've heard a lot about the Queen's faith during the

last 10 days and how much of a source of comfort and succor that was to her during her extraordinary reign.

COOPER: And I don't want to be sort of mundane and pedestrian, but those are heavy uniforms, I mean that the King is wearing, you know the Beefeaters are wearing, the Grenadier Guards.

Obviously, the soldiers have a lot of practice with this out, standing for still for long periods of time, but it's going to be exhausting just what they had been through today given this as a family in mourning. King Charles is, you know in his mid-70s.