Want to go straight to London when I’m bringing CNN royal correspondent Max Fosters outside Buckingham Palace. Max, what are you learning?
The Queen has died. Very sadly, she died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and Queen Consort referenced there to Charles, he automatically becomes King, will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow. I’m just going to look at another email I just received, if there’s any extra there. No. The Queen has died and is long-lived. The King. I’m not going to call him King Charles because we don’t know what his name will be, but all we know is the Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon, which is horrific news for the nation. And I can only imagine how people feel watching this. You’ll see that the flag over Buckingham Palace has been lowered to symbolize the Queen’s death. I don’t know quite what to say. I mean, this is with the news we were dreading, but obviously, what happened this afternoon was the Queen died and the family was informed they headed up to Balmoral and they are there to pay their respects. There’s a very clear process that follows. Now, we would expect to hear from the King tonight in the televised address and you’ll start hearing bells tolling across London and indeed the nation, and flags lowered like this will be reflected at public buildings across the United Kingdom.
And we now have a very clear process of about ten days leading up to a funeral. But I don’t want to give too much detail about the plans that I’ve seen, because they do need to be signed off by the King to be formalized. But we’ll be hearing more details about that, I’m sure, as the evening progresses. But Queen Elizabeth died at the age of 96, which is a horrific moment for the UK, but also for 14 other nations around the world and indeed other nations where she wasn’t head of State, who revered her as the longest serving and I’d say the most revered head of State until she died this afternoon.
Next. Let me just ask you personally, you have followed this family through much of your career. You’re a royal correspondent, you have watched the Queen in good times and in bad times. What are your thoughts about her at this moment, about her reign, about her life, about her legacy?
I think what she did was extraordinary. She came to the throne in her 20s with a crumbling empire and many people talking about the death of the monarchy, and somehow she turned that into one of the most successful, arguably the most successful monarchy that Britain has ever seen. She reigned over a tumultuous period of British history, the media revolution, and a lot of reverence in society. She’s someone that we can’t actually relate to because of the kind of life that she lived, but someone who we did ultimately learn to relate to. Because of the way she managed her monarchy. She remained relevant by embracing the media, connecting with us, speaking to us, bringing in television cameras, and showing her meeting other people. Very simple little gestures, but things that made her relevant to us and made her relatable. She also was there in times of grief, at any national moment, we would look to her and she would be there for us. We would see her at regular events over the course of a year. So she tiptoed through our lives and she was always there. I think what is going to be very difficult is for us not to see her in our ultimate moment of grief, which is her death.
And we will now look to the King. We will wait to hear whether or not the King keeps the name Charles, whether he’s King Charles or he chooses another name. We will get details on that when a Placard is put up there on the farecard at Buckingham Palace, where the formal announcement will be made and there will be a reference to his name. We know that Camilla is now the Queen consul. So she is Queen Camilla. Prince William is now the Duke of Cornwall. He will inevitably become the Prince of Wales because that’s something, a title that will come to him and he takes over the Duchy of Cornwall. And now Prince George is second in line to the throne. So this is a huge moment in British history and Commonwealth history and I think for the world because I think she transcended, actually, monarchy and I think she was a truly global figure and one who has a guaranteed place in the history books. And I’m now looking down at those people gathering outside Palestine and I think those numbers will escalate and it will be a very emotional scene as this news sets in.
It is very extraordinary to hear Max describe what’s happened and keep using the word, King Charles. Sorry, king, the king, the new king, because for 70 years, this country in the world has only known a queen, queen Elizabeth. She was one of only a very few female monarchs of this kingdom and incredibly successful, along with Queen Victoria, along with Queen Elizabeth I. It’s very difficult to know where the country will go in terms of its relationship with the monarchy and it’s probably too early even to talk about this now. But we are in a state of crisis here in the United Kingdom. Like around the rest of the world. Prompted by the war in Ukraine and by many other issues food. Poverty. Energy poverty. Inflation. Strikes. People’s unrest. Not to mention climate. Which she was very. By the way. Devoted to. Along with her fellow 96-year-old David Attenborough. Who is a well-known figure as well? And that was when we talk about how she never really did any interviews. She kind of did a quasi interview with him celebrating, I think, the 95th birthday or some such event. And it was just amazing to see how she was, in her own way, really on the curve of important issues like the climate.
Her husband, her late husband, Prince Philip, was very much on that issue as well. I think we saw the Queen’s decline in terms of morale and health when her husband, Prince Philip, died. We were both here reporting on his funeral. It was the last time we saw the Queen really out in public. Yes, we did, on her jubilee, but that was in the middle of Kovich. She was all on her own. And I remember people speculating then about how she might continue her life without the man who was her life partner, not just personally, but also professionally. And she did decline quite significantly after that. With Robert, she had a bout of coveting with this euphemistically phrased, mobility problems, which, I mean, she’s 96 years old. Yeah, she has some trouble walking, but she was so often viewed standing, even in the last month, even the last couple of days, as we poured over that last picture of her greeting, her latest and her last prime minister, Liz Truss, the 15th prime minister of this country. We heard from former prime ministers just before this announcement was made. Tony Blair, and David Cameron, from different parties, wished her and the family well, concerned about the news that was coming out in the past several hours.
And as we’ve said, we know that President Biden, he’s, I believe, the 14th or so president that she has known. She first knew President Truman and all the other US presidents. And, yes, she’s been the head of the Commonwealth. She’s been surrounded by world leaders throughout the last 70 years and has given a message, I guess, of continuity. I guess that’s continuity and stability in a very turbulent world, particularly throughout her reign.