The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, England’s (and the world’s) longest reigning monarch, sent armies of American anchors to London for an unprecedented spectacle that threw the Queen into a glow of admiration and the media as interpreters of a dynastic system theoretically anathema to America. himself.
As such, the Queen’s death likely required a great deal of cramming for American anchors making the trip across the pond during all or part of the 10-day mourning period which began September 8 when Elizabeth II, 96, died in Balmoral. Castle, his beloved retreat in the Scottish Highlands. Of course, each US network has contracted a cast of royal correspondents, experts from the House of Windsor who have the right plum accents to lend authenticity to the coverage.
The funeral procession from the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey (in which King Charles, Anne, Princes William and Harry and other family members walked behind the coffin) began shortly before 6 a.m. on the East coast. After the military bugler played “The Last Post”, the congregation sang “God Save the King” (with cameras lingering on a teary-eyed Charles) and observed two minutes of silence. The lead-lined coffin (added to help preserve the body inside, several anchors offered) was then remounted on the cannon carriage for the more than a mile procession through the London Mall around Buckingham Palace to Wellington Arch. Then the coffin in a custom hearse set off on a slow 25-mile journey through London to Windsor Castle.
Thus, the long and numerous processions gave anchors and correspondents plenty of airtime to vampirize. Americans, for the most part, seemed oblivious to having been educated in the quirks, idiosyncrasies and bizarre rituals of the royal family. On NBC, Katie Nicholl, the royal editor of Vanity Fair, pointed to a tall man walking beside the coffin. He was the 6ft 4in Paul Whybrew, known as “Tall Paul”, the page queen of reverses. He worked for the Queen for 40 years and came to play a personal role in her life. They often watched TV together, Nicholl said, and Whybrew was known to circle his favorite shows for her in TV schedules. Nicholl also told a story about the Queen while walking around the castle grounds with an assistant when she spotted a group of tourists in the distance that she wanted to avoid. “So she hoisted the aid up into the heather and there they sat laughing like teenagers,” she said.
It may be impossible to verify this story, but there seems to be a growing number of stories of the queen hiding in the shrubbery. A new documentary on ITV claims she hid in a bush on the grounds of Buckingham Palace to avoid Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu during an ill-advised state visit in 1978.
Daisy McAndrew, royal contributor to NBC News, explained that the queen actually helped design the hearse carrying her coffin. “The color is called Royal Claret. It’s not black; it’s actually a very dark red.
Jaguar Land Rover’s custom hearse, she added, has extra-large windows for a clear view of the coffin and floodlights inside that illuminate the coffin at night.
Of course, there was a lot of talk about succession and primogeniture. In 2013, the Queen approved the Succession to the Crown Act, which gave daughters (not just sons) equal rights to the throne. Several anchors noted that Elizabeth would not have become queen if she had had a younger brother. “CBS Mornings” anchor Gayle King, anchored with “Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell, wondered why Charles’ coronation wouldn’t take place for nine months. CBS News royal contributor Julian Payne offered a convoluted explanation that included spring and daylight hours, which would seem to lead viewers to the conclusion that the coronation hinges on the promise of mild weather.
Tina Brown, who has written several books on the royal family, including a biography of Princess Diana, suggested that the interregnum should give the monarchy time to have “thorough reflection on what the coronation will offer, perhaps to be a more spiritual dimension”.
CBS News correspondent Holly Williams, based in Westminster, noted the unprecedented security protocols with 10,000 police, many of them armed (unusual for England). She added that most world leaders have been bussed to Westminster Abbey from a different location. But US President Joe Biden was allowed to be driven in his limo, nicknamed The Beast. This led King to ask Williams if there were any recriminations. “Most world leaders, prime ministers, royalty are used to being put on shuttles like the rest of us,” King said deadpan.
Most American anchors avoided much comment on the apparently ongoing rift between Harry and Meghan and the rest of the royal family. For that, one could turn to Fox News and persistent critic of Meghan Markle Piers Morgan, who has a program on Fox Nation, and Sharon Osbourne. The duo joined Fox News anchors Martha MacCallum and Ainsley Earhardt for the network’s coverage of the funeral.
Osbourne lamented that Harry looked “so sad” walking behind his grandmother’s coffin and that she found it “heartbreaking” to see him “where he belongs with the rest of the royal family”.
“He really made himself the black sheep,” she continued. “The country adored her and they adored Meghan too. I just don’t know how you give up your country for fame.
Osbourne did not mention that the couple had been relentlessly attacked by British tabloids, one of which was sued for defamation. And Meghan’s presence in England has sparked numerous trolls from British tabloids, who snidely commented on her clothes, hats and the apparent serious faux pas of holding hands in public with her husband on a somber occasion. Since stepping back from royal duties and moving to the celebrity-infested enclave of Montecito, Calif., Harry and Meghan have executed a series of production deals that have earned them millions, including $20 million. dollars from Netflix. Harry also reportedly received a $20 million advance for a memoir; the book was reportedly postponed by Random House from late 2022 to 2023.
Speaking of Harry’s book deal, Osbourne added: “I would return the money…for the book and just forget about it because that would only cause more grief for the Royal Family. I’m sure the book is [not] slight because you wouldn’t get that kind of money unless it was somewhat outrageous.
Morgan agreed and speculated that Harry “felt he had to settle scores for his mother. I don’t think his mother would have wanted him to do that. His mother never attacked the monarchy. She never did. She had trouble with some parts of her life, but she never attacked the institution. We get it, you hate your family. Move on. You left the country for the freedom and privacy and all you’re doing is invading your own privacy on national television in interviews.