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Prince Philip Dead at Age 99; St. Vincent's La Soufriere Volcano Erupts. Aired 1-1:30a ET

Aired April 10, 2021 - 01:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes, appreciate your company.

Now the loss of Prince Philip resonating across the United Kingdom and, indeed, the world after his death at the age of 99. The husband and companion to Queen Elizabeth died on Friday at Windsor Castle. He had been an ever-present figure for decades and is being remembered for helping usher the British royal family into the modern age.


HOLMES (voice-over): Bells sounding there at Westminster Abbey on Friday. Gun salutes will be fired across the U.K. at noon local time in his honor. Many are paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace, despite the public urged not to gather or lay flowers due to COVID restrictions.


HOLMES: Bianca Nobilo with more on the legacy Prince Philip leaves behind.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the end of an era in the royal family; Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, passing away today at the age of 99. The man who stood resolutely by the side of Queen Elizabeth II for more than 73 years now lies at Windsor Castle, draped in his personal standard.

The announcement came just after midday, a simple note placed on the gates of Buckingham Palace in London, reading, in part, "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty the Queen announces the death of her beloved husband. The duke's body will remain at Windsor Castle, where members of the royal family will be able to come and pay their respects."

The British prime minister among those paying tribute.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life.


NOBILO: A somber silence at the royal families to London residences, Windsor and Buckingham Palace as crowds gathered.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a big symbol for a lot of people in England, and it's nice to pay our respects to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have deep respect for the queen. I love her. I think she's a wonderful woman. And I'm very sad for today because she's lost a life partner.


NOBILO: His death, while a shock to the nation, was not unexpected. In March, the duke left the hospital following a month's stay, where he underwent heart surgery. He left in high spirits. Plans to celebrate his 100th birthday in June continued. Earlier in March, headlines would rock the royal family involving allegations of racism.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: Also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born.

NOBILO: But Prince Harry making it clear those racist sentiments were not delivered by Prince Philip or the queen.

Since marrying Queen Elizabeth in 1947, Prince Philip left an indelible mark on the many public figures he met, including a host of U.S. presidents, Eisenhower, Ford, Kennedy and Obama.

President Biden, whom Philip never met personally, praised the duke's decades of devoted public service, adding that his legacy will live on.

As funeral arrangements are now being made, questions will inevitably turn to who will attend and whether his grandson, Prince Harry, will make that trip from California. For the next few days, flags will be lowered, and a book of condolences opened. The nation mourns with Her Majesty the Queen at the loss of her beloved husband.


HOLMES: Now we do know that Prince Philip's funeral will be held at Windsor Castle and it won't be a state funeral. Isa Soares, joining us from Windsor to discuss.

You've been there since this was announced.

What has the scene been like in terms of the emotion?

What have people been saying to you? ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Michael. Immense sorrow, this is something that I've been hearing from many people who have been coming here, to Windsor Castle, to show their respects. It is clear, he still commanded so much respect and admiration by so many of different age groups.

I spoke to a young girl, 19, she had a bouquet of red roses and she said, I met him once, I danced as part of one of his charities, he came to my school and was so welcoming. He was always friendly and nice. She said I admire him for his courage and for everything he did for his country.

This is something we are seeing that we saw yesterday and will see today as well. People saying, he was an honorable man, a loyal man, dutiful, a man who put his country and the queen before himself. I think that tone is reflected this morning in some of the newspapers.


SOARES: I will show you a couple of them so you can see how it's been covered.

Let's start off first with the "Daily Mirror," that says, "Goodbye, My Beloved." The front page there.

"The Sun" newspaper, "We are all weeping with you, ma'am."

And then, the "Daily Telegraph," an op-ed by Charles Moore (ph), who says, "The outsider who became Britain's most loyal servant."

Several people I spoke to, yesterday, said to me, that they were at pains to point out how the queen must have been feeling. The woman who, obviously, runs this country and who are behind these walls here at Windsor Castle, who is by herself, who is in mourning right now.

The man who stood inside the castle next to her but outside, just a few steps behind her, a man who was her most closest friend, her adviser, the wind beneath her wings. It was her rock throughout.

The queen actually said, during their 50th wedding anniversary, that the prince was her strength and her stay. That has been reflected here, today, for many people who have been coming in to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, talking and reflecting on the pain that the queen, herself, will be feeling today -- Michael.

HOLMES: Indeed, the one person that she probably knew that she could trust above all.

The funeral plans, what do we know about what could happen in the days ahead, especially considering COVID restrictions?

SOARES: Look, funeral plans, normally, have been planned years and years in advance. But would have been tweaked, given the coronavirus pandemic, the COVID restrictions. As you noted, just before coming to me, there won't be a state funeral; his funeral will take place at St. George's Chapel, at Windsor Castle, just behind me. In terms of processions, we expect there won't be one, because, of

course, they are trying to avoid large crowds. They're asking people to not come here and lay flowers to try to avoid large crowds.

But the question remains, what exactly that funeral will look like?

Of course, as a royal consort, he would have had the right to a state funeral and that will not happen. He also won't lie in state.

What will that look like, Michael?

The COVID-19 restrictions means a limit of 30 people for a funeral.

Will Harry come?

Will he have to quarantine because he's coming from the U.S.?

We should know more either today or tomorrow, as to what that would look like Michael.

HOLMES: Isa, thank, you Isa Soares there, at Windsor.

Diane Clehane is the royals editor for "Best Life" magazine. She joins me now from Connecticut.

Good to see you. Sad news, seven decades of service, more than 70 years married to the queen.

What to you would be his legacy?

How would you sum it up?

DIANE CLEHANE, "BEST LIFE": I think the Iron Duke, as he had been called, had a fascinating, and amazing life and I think the amount of years, decades, that he spent supporting the queen and being the head of the family is extraordinary. I think he will be remembered as a consort like no other.

HOLMES: When it came to the queen, he was, by all accounts, tender. But not a pushover. When it came to the family, a disciplinarian at times. I guess the one person that the queen could be totally open and frank with.

CLEHANE: I think it's fascinating that he was the head of the family. He was the disciplinarian as you say and was the one who made decisions about the children. What is interesting is that the queen, obviously, is the monarch, the head of state.

But she deferred to him on all of these things and, from what I've been told, in my reporting, is that was particularly comforting to her. She knew the family was being taken care of while she was taking care of her constitutional duties.

HOLMES: The Duke of Edinburgh, born five years before women got to vote. Literally, from another era. He also had his share of controversy. Gaffes, politically incorrect, perhaps related to being from a different era but even racially insensitive at times.

How do you describe that aspect of him?

Many describe him as complicated in that way.

CLEHANE: He was a complicated man and I think the public persona was different from what the queen saw and some of his family saw. I think he, really, knew his place. He always walked a few steps behind her, so he was very deferential to her. Yet, he was a modern man.


CLEHANE: He was the person that wanted the coronation televised. He was the one who, unfortunately, talked them into the royal documentary in 1967, which, by all accounts, was not well received by the queen.

But he is also someone who has been at the forefront of a lot of family issues that were transformative. He was the one who was trying to help Diana through the terrible time she was having with Charles. And he even once said to her that he thought that Charles was crazy for choosing Camilla over her.

So he had a modern sensibility. He also, interestingly enough, for someone who is 99, by all accounts, he was quite tech savvy. I think that's interesting. I think that, because of the fact that they have seen so much, the queen and Prince Philip, he had the perspective of seeing history unfold.

And he had a way about him, as he grew older, to take things in stride, which other people, perhaps, would have been upset about. He took the long view because he had this extraordinary life.

HOLMES: It was a life well lived. Diane Clehane, appreciate you so much, thank you.

CLEHANE: Thank you.

HOLMES: The Duke of Edinburgh, touching the lives of people across the planet and covering that part of the story for us, CNN correspondent Will Ripley, in Hong Kong, and Eleni Giokos in Johannesburg.

Will, let's go to you first. The royal family, not just the royal family of Great Britain but the Commonwealth as well.

What sort of reaction have you been seeing among those nations?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you would expect Michael, there has been a flood of messages from the 54 countries in the Commonwealth. These are countries that span the world, of course, having its roots in the British empire, now, a voluntary family of nations.

Here in Asia, Africa, Americas and Europe and the Pacific. All of these countries are expressing their sorrow. They are mourning the loss of the duke. They are lowering their flags, sending their messages of deep condolence. Many of their thoughts are with the queen. She's the head of state of 16 nations today, including Canada, New

Zealand and Australia, where the royal family has visited many times. Prince Philip alone, more than 20 visits to Australia. That makes this touching message from the queen's Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, much more poignant.


SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: She has been there for us over such a long time. Let us be there now for you, Your Majesty, and allow us to send our love to you on this, I am sure, one of your most sad of days.


RIPLEY: Very few people are in the world today who have seen the things that Prince Philip has seen, to visit 143 countries, over his 99 years, countries big and small. There is one in particular, Vanuatu, in the southwest Pacific, he visited in 1974. And one island in the archipelago called Tanna, where a tribe worships the prince as if he were a god.

Their beliefs, going back decades, is that the duke descended from their own ancestors and they have been praying, over the years, for him to return to their village because they think, if he returns, they will have prosperity.

He never did, actually, make it there. Prince Charles did make a visit in 2018, leading some to speculate the tribe there may actually now begin to worship Prince Charles. It just goes to show the mystique and the power that these members of the royal family still have, not just in the U.K. but across the world, in the commonwealth and outside of it -- Michael.

HOLMES: Absolutely. Will Ripley, thank you so much.

Eleni Giokos, in Johannesburg, the African continent as well.

How is the duke viewed there?

What is the reaction to this news?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: As Will says, 54 countries in the Commonwealth, 19 of those are in Africa. They are, largely, former colonies. But the royal family and the relationship to the continent has been strong and extended further than just political and economic, throughout the decades.

Prince Philip and, of course, the queen, were very much part of that story through many state visits. We have heard an outpouring of condolences, well wishes and emotive messages coming through, from leaders from across the continent, from the likes of Cameroon, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Mauritius.

Here in South Africa, the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, says that Prince Philip was a remarkable figure, who lived an extraordinary life and would be fondly remembered by many people around the world.

Interestingly, if we look at the relationship that the royal family, specifically Prince Philip and the queen have with Kenya, it was an interesting point in time that changed Prince Philip's life irrevocably in 1952.

He was on a visit to Kenya with the then princess Elizabeth.


GIOKOS: That is when they received the call that her father, King George VI, had passed away and that is when she needed to ascend to the throne a year later.

It meant he needed to give up his naval career and a lot of other things he was doing in his time, as a royal member of the family. What happened then was he stood next to and behind Queen Elizabeth.

He then started to embark on many state visits across the continent and even here to South Africa. So those ties remained strong throughout the decades. And this is what the president, Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan president, also had to say.

"Prince Philip has been a towering symbol of family values and unity for the British people as well as the entire global community."

It is interesting hearing it come through from the Kenyan president, knowing that there is such a strong tie to Prince Philip and of course, Queen Elizabeth.

HOLMES: Eleni Giokos, in Johannesburg, thanks for covering that aspect of this sad story. Appreciate it.

We are going to take a quick break, when we come, back tensions rising on the Russian-Ukrainian border as Russian tanks are deployed to the region.

What is the U.S. considering doing in response?

We have more on that, after the break.

Also, thousands on a Caribbean island have left their homes as a volcano spews ash and smoke. It is not clear when the threat will be over. We will be right back.




HOLMES: Welcome back.

Russia is making a show of force along its border with Ukraine. Tanks, troop carriers and missile launchers, all deployed toward the southern city of Rostov-on-Don by Ukraine's eastern border. The U.S. considering sending warships to the Black Sea in support of

Ukraine although, a Defense official tells CNN, they do not see the Russian buildup as a, quote, "posturing for an offensive action."

Secretary of state Tony Blinken, speaking with his French and German counterparts on Friday, all three, calling on Russia to stop its provocations and military buildup.

The La Soufriere volcano on St. Vincent island in the Caribbean, now, actively erupting. Scientists say, this could go on for weeks. The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center says, there were at least three explosive events on Friday, sending massive plumes of ash and, smoke into the air.

Thousands of people have fled their homes. Patrick Oppmann, with the latest.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Months after a volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent began threatening to erupt on Friday, it did just that. Early Friday morning, La Soufriere volcano blew ash and rock thousands of feet into the air and caused people who live in the vicinity of the volcano to have to evacuate.


OPPMANN (voice-over): Luckily, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines had, for days, warned people that the volcano was going to explode at any moment. And about 6,000 to 7,000 people in the immediate vicinity of this volcano were warned that they needed to leave the area immediately.

The government was sending empty cruise ships to ferry people out of harm's way. According to the government, now hundreds of people have taken to shelters and have evacuated the area.

There is no immediate word on deaths or damage to structures because, right now, people are warned to stay away from this exploding volcano as it sends thick plumes of ash into the sky.

Another concern is that, while these people are being evacuated, while residents are being evacuated into shelters, that could cause the spread of the coronavirus to pick up. So the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has warned people that as they are evacuating, as they go to shelters, to try to maintain social distancing and keep their masks on, to be aware that, of course, they are still in the middle of the pandemic.

It is not clear how long this volcano will continue to erupt. It's been 42 years since the last eruption. But as it continues, it will put smoke and ash into the sky. It isn't yet safe to return.

And people, for the time being, government officials are telling them, simply, to stay away while this very dangerous seismic activity continues -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Now a lifetime of being remembered, a lifetime of service being remembered. The latest tributes to Prince Philip, from all around the world, when we come back.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just thought he was a wonderful man and supported the queen and she's lucky to have him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was controversial now and again and said a few things out a turn but he's been with the queen over 70 years, longest consort that's ever been, and God rest his soul.


HOLMES: Around the world tributes being paid to Prince Philip, a British regal stalwart, who touched public and political life like few others before him. Anna Stewart with some of the international reaction to his death.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Condolences for Prince Philip, coming in from all around the world. Some, poignantly, from places the duke loved. The prince famously enjoyed the Scottish outdoors and often spent time at Balmoral Castle. Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, sent her sympathies to the royal family.

NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: First and foremost, he was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather and my thoughts are with all of those today who will be feeling a profound sense of loss and grief, in particular, the queen.

STEWART (voice-over): Prince Philip was emblematic of British monarchy, but he was born a prince of Greece on the island of Corfu. He later renounced his title to marry then Princess Elizabeth. The Greek president praised his service to England, posting that he served his country with devotion for many decades.


STEWART (voice-over): A global figurehead, not just well-known but as someone who traveled much of the world. Leaders and common people alike say he left his mark everywhere he went.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Prince Philip was a man of service, motivated by a sense of duty and others. STEWART (voice-over): Prime minister Narendra Modi tweeted that Prince

Philip had a distinguished career in the military. The prince last visited India in 1997 for the 50th anniversary of its independence. Residents of Mumbai said they were upset to hear he was gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has done a very good job for his country also and we also, India, also have good relations with Britain. And obviously, it's a sad news.

STEWART (voice-over): U.S. President Joe Biden lauded the duke's fortitude, saying, "In the course of his 99-year life, he saw our world change dramatically and repeatedly.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was a heck of a guy, you know, with his lifetime of service in the United Kingdom and the whole Commonwealth. He was (INAUDIBLE) for a long, long time.

STEWART (voice-over): He was the first British royal to visit Israel. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeting, "He will be missed in Israel and across the world." Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, tweeted that Philip visited his country more than 20 times, appearances that left a lasting impression for some.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sad that he's gone. I was hoping he would last for his -- at least last for his birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He might not have been the king, but he was the king in so many eyes, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

STEWART (voice-over): News of the passing of the duke was broadcast on news channels around the world, an outpouring of tributes and remembrances for a prince who spanned geographies and generations -- Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Now the relationship between Prince Philip and the queen is considered one of the greatest royal love stories in modern times. They were married for more than seven decades after first meeting as youths in the 1930s.

One of the queen's cousins says he was, quote, "her rock" and was rarely far from her side when it came to everything, from visits abroad to celebrations, like the Diamond Jubilee, which marked an incredible 60 years on the throne for Queen Elizabeth.

The prince himself once said, "The essential ingredient to any marriage is tolerance," something that he was -- was especially vital when times get tough. And few relationships have ever, of course, been so closely in the public eye as this.

I am Michael Holmes, thank you for spending part of your day with me, "CONNECTING AFRICA" is next. I will see you in 30 minutes.