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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle, 9/8/22

Guests: Ryan Heath, Michelle Tauber, Niall Stanage, Susan Pedersen, Katie Benner, Tali Farhadian Weinstein, Jon Meacham


Britain`s longest-reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth met more than a dozen American Presidents during her 70 years on the throne. The Justice Dept. said it would appeal a judge`s decision to appoint a Special Master to review the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. And former Trump adviser Steve Bannon is indicted on money laundering and conspiracy charges.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Fintan O`Toole gets tonight`s "LAST WORD". THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.


STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. This has been a very big news day and we have a lot to get to this evening. The Justice Department has responded to a judge`s controversial decision in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. We had been waiting for this response for days. DOJ now asking the judge to consider putting her ruling on pause while they work on an appeal.

And in a rare turn, they gave the judge a deadline and Trump ally Steve Bannon was indicted in New York on multiple crimes including conspiracy and money laundering. He is in a lot of trouble. We will get to all of that new information in just a few minutes.

But we must begin this evening`s broadcast in the United Kingdom, where it is already four in the morning on Friday. And that nation is just beginning its first full day without its queen.

Elizabeth II died at her Castle in Scotland earlier today. She was 96 years old. People camped out near Buckingham Palace in London all night long paying tribute to the only monarch they have known for more than 70 years. She ran longer than any other British monarch in history.

The late Queen`s eldest son inherits the throne. He is now King Charles III. Tomorrow he is expected to return to London from Scotland to speak to the nation. NBC`s Keir Simmons has more on Queen Elizabeth death and her extraordinary life.


KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The palace first announced this morning, doctors were concerned about her health. Then around 6:30 local time, posting a statement on the gates reading, the Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. Tonight, the Queen son Charles now becoming King Charles III, though his coronation will not likely be for months.

Throughout the UK, flags are at half-staff, crowds gathering in front of the palace to remember Great Britain`s longest serving monarch, a historic 70 years on the throne.

Born in 1926, the third grandchild of King George III, Elizabeth would guide the nation and its monarchy through historic challenges. During the Blitz, the royal family stayed in London despite the nightly bombing raids from Nazi Germany. To the people of Britain, there was this message from their future queen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know every one of us that in the end, all will be well. For God will cheer for us and give us victory and peace.

SIMMONS: That speech sealed a special relationship with her future subjects.

Westminster Abbey 1953, the first time TV cameras were allowed inside to record a coronation. The celebration was seen worldwide. And Elizabeth`s reign would be felt worldwide. She was the most widely traveled monarch in history. She helps transform Britain`s empire, easing former colonies into states and all that while balancing motherhood and monarchy. Three sons and a daughter. She encouraged her children to live lives beyond the palace walls. She embraced many changes, including the marriage of her grandson, Prince William to commoner Kate Middleton. And Prince Harry to the American actress Meghan Markel.

In 2021, her beloved husband of seven decades, Prince Philip died in her words, he was her strength and stay. Her Platinum Jubilee celebrated with a military parade. Beacons lit across the world.


SIMMONS: A surprise appearance from Paddington Bear, and over 10 million people across Britain gathering for street parties to honor their one and only queen.


RUHLE: As dawn breaks in Britain on this Friday morning, the nation is beginning a 10-day period of mourning that will end with Queen Elizabeth`s funeral. NBC`s Matt Bradley joins us live from outside Buckingham Palace. Matt, it is very, very early where you are. But tell us what the last 24 hours have been like for people across Great Britain 70 years as queen.

MATT BRADLEY, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, the Queen`s death comes at a really difficult fractious moment for Britain. You`re a member you know, it was just a couple of days ago that she really dispatched her last constitutional act and that was anointing or appointing Liz Truss as the new Prime Minister.


So, this is something that that is a moment that is really difficult for Britons because they`re facing down cost of living crisis just like we`re seeing in the States. And this is ushering in a moment of national unity at a time, arguably, when this country needs it most.

So over the past couple of hours, we`ve seen hundreds of people parading in front of Buckingham Palace. I`m actually now in front of the Thames River in front of Westminster, in front of the Houses of Parliament. But in front of Buckingham Palace, there were, of course, the flowers that were mourners, there were people singing the national anthem, you know, paying tribute to the Queen.

And we`re going to start seeing that over the next 10 days. Because you know, Stephanie, this is what the monarchy does best. Pomp and Circumstance, steeped in symbolism. They`re sort of papering over this moment of national mourning with an incredible display of patriotism that`s going to be lasting, as you mentioned, for the next 10 days. And it`s going to take the entire extent of this country all the way from the northern part, and Scotland, where the Queen died at her residence, and Paul Murrell, to the southern part here in London, and she is going to be moving the entire length of the country by train.

And you know, all of this is, of course, it`s meant to pay tribute to the Queen. But it`s also meant to show a sense of continuity. And this is why King Charles III, the newly anointed King Charles III is going to have a major role in a lot of this as he becomes king. And you know, he`s going to be giving an address tomorrow to the public. It`s a pre-recorded televised address.

And then on Saturday, he goes and meets the exception -- accession Council, and that`s when he`s going to be officially anointed as the King of England. But this is not his coronation that could come in as much as a year from now or several months from now. So what we`re seeing in the next 10 days is going to be a massive display of national unity. Again, right when Britain needs it most, Stephanie.

RUHLE: Well, while the King is mourning the loss of his mother, Matt Bradley, thank you so much for joining us at this very early hour where you are.

Now, let`s welcome Michelle Tauber, senior editor overseeing Royals coverage at People. She reported on the royal family for more than 20 years. Ryan Heath, former press secretary at the UK Cabinet Office, he helped plan the Queen mother`s funeral. He is now the editorial director for Global Growth at POLITICO and Niall Stanage, White House columnist for The Hill.

Ryan, Queen Elizabeth has been speaking to her public since World War II. But I want to share what she said in just two years ago, when she was speaking to her country to the world about COVID back in 2020.


QUEEN ELIZABETH II: We should take comfort, that while we may have more still to endure, better days we`ll return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again.


RUHLE: She had quite a way of connecting over 70 years as a monarch, didn`t she?

RYAN HEATH, FMR. PRESS SECRTARY AT UK CABINET OFFICE: Connecting is the word. She provided connective tissue across 56 countries the whole British Commonwealth, the former British Empire. And I think that is what the country is going to miss most. You have in Liz Truss and Prince Charles, to people who are not necessarily new to the public, but who are somewhat divisive. And the Queen has been the opposite of that despite being almost an accidental monarch. She was never meant to be queen. It was only the abdication in 1936 that even led her father to be put in to the line of duty in that way.

So this is going to be a moment of identity crisis after the moment of unity what is Britain`s place in the world. And it`s going to lead to a lot of people wondering what relationship they want to have with this monarchy across that Commonwealth. You`ll see countries deciding to leave the Commonwealth, I think not at the Commonwealth, but perhaps sever their ties to the monarchy in the years to come.

RUHLE: Is it that they -- that`s what they wanted and they were waiting for the queen to pass this shouldn`t should now spark that.

HEATH: Yes, I don`t think you will see anything in the coming days or months for example, the Australian Republican movement from my home country, they`re not talking at all until the funerals over in 10 days time. They know how sensitive this is. But you just look at the approval ratings of Prince Charles across some of those big countries like Canada and Australia is in negative territory. And people are very capable of compartmentalizing their respect for the Queen and her sense of duty. And also their sense that they`ve moved beyond this institution. Though it is useful to Britain`s brand and though it has been a source of comfort to people in Britain, and you`ll see that play out in the coming years.

RUHLE: Michelle, the Queen was 96 years old and we know she had health challenges for months. But somehow this feels like a like a shock to the system to the world.


MICHELLE TAUBER, SENIOR EDITOR OVERSEEING ROYALS COVERAGE AT PEOPLE: Absolutely, I think this is one of those news events where you can be prepared as possible and anticipate it and still be stunned. I think her absence creates a vacuum that was really hard to imagine before it suddenly appeared today. She indeed was woven into the fabric of many people`s lives. She is currently being mourned by hundreds of millions of people who never met her.

And I think she`s being mourned as the person, of course, especially in contemporary life. She`s much was much admired as a grandmother, a mother, a great grandmother. But also there is a sense of grief for the end of an era.

And as we heard, you know, this is a woman who was present during the Blitz as a young girl who -- whose first prime minister was Winston Churchill. She was truly an extraordinary witness to history, and you`ve lost her. I think he`s rattling to people.

RUHLE: Michelle, her family came to her side, but Prince Harry, who we know there has been so much conflict and controversy over the last few years, came late later than everyone else do. We know why.

TAUBER: We don`t. He wasn`t the only senior family member to not have been there at the time, but we do know that, you know, this is where the intersection of the Queen`s personal life, her family, and her duty gets so complicated because, you know, the Queen is of course, her family is her business, it`s a family business.

And as a grandmother, she adored Prince Harry, and they were very close. And she -- he -- Harry really brought out a lightness in the Queen that no one else could. At the same time, the past few years have been fraught as you say and complex. And we know that the Queen was instrumental in the now famous Sandringham Summit, where the senior members of the family the Queen, Charles, William, and Harry met to determine Harry and Meghan`s future.

And ultimately, although the Queen issued that the statement afterwards saying that, you know, there were much beloved members of the family, the decision was made that the parameters they were asking for didn`t work within this institution. And that would have been the Queen`s call. And we also saw later the tensions that arose after Meghan and Harry`s interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which, you know, the Queen made the statement, very rare statement that some recollections may vary.

And I think it`s important to note that, that -- that`s sort of the institution speaking in many ways, the grandmother adored and cherished Harry. But again, this is where life is very complicated for this family more than any family on earth.

RUHLE: Niall, I want to share a bit of video that is special to us at NBC a few years ago, our former colleague, Brian Williams sat down with Charles and spoke specifically about how he was preparing to one day become the king.


CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: I suppose really, you pick it up as you go along? If you knew it, I mean, from a very young age, and it gradually dawns on you that what is actually all about what the implications are. watching you when you learn.


RUHLE: It`s going to be tough to pick it up as you go along. Watch as you learn, Ryan laid it out just a moment ago. How difficult will it be for Charles, to take on this roll now? Walk us through what he`s up against?

NIALL STANAGE, THE HILL WHITE HOUSE COLUMNIST: I think it will be difficult for several reasons, Stephanie. One is the fact that Ryan already alluded to that King Charles that he knows, just has not been as popular as Queen Elizabeth. And that has shown up in Pauline, I mean, just this year, his approval ratings in the 50s as opposed to the Queen`s in the 80s.

Then there`s the fact that for people of my generation and older, the Queen has been synonymous with the British monarch, that`s what the monarch is. It`s Queen Elizabeth. So Charles has to find a new way to present that.

The other thing that I would say, Stephanie, is that because Queen Elizabeth did have the capacity to connect that you`re talking about, she acted almost as a sort of insulation against some of the more difficult questions that I think are being asked in this day and age of about hereditary monarchy, about a system that as its foundational principle, has the idea that some people are born to reign over other people.

To a lot of people that`s not just anachronistic. That`s a pretty offensive principle, but its offensiveness was dulled by Elizabeth`s popularity. That`s not something that Charles can draw upon. And I think that`s going to be very interesting to see how that plays on.


RUHLE: Ryan, you`re involved in planning the funeral for the Queen Mother, what should we watch for over the next 10 days?

HEATH: Well, it`s a carefully orchestrated operation. So the fact that it`s 10 days long gives you that indication. But it`s a chance for Prince Charles to introduce himself again to the country, but as king so you`ll see him conduct a tour over the next four days.

You will see the Queen travel all the way to London for preparations for the funeral in Westminster Abbey. And all of it builds up around this idea, and it`s different to the United States, but it connects to the stories you`re going to talk about with Mar-a-Lago later on.

This is about the rule of law. This is about constitutional process. And all of it is meant to signal that things are in order in Britain, that this is a well governed place that follows a process and a protocol.

And so everything that you witnessed over the next 10 days, whether it`s mourning the Queen, whether it`s celebrating Prince Charles, it will all be done in an extremely orderly fashion. It`s been planned for years, using codenames, its operation London Bridge, is the one to look out for. If you see that referenced in the media, and it will go on for 10 days.

You will literally see offices of large companies closed over the next five days in Britain. It`s a serious period of mourning. It`s not put the flag down for a few hours, and then move on to the next Twitter cycle. It`s much more serious than that.

RUHLE: Niall, Queen Elizabeth was not a political leader, but she was a global influence. How does her death change? Or does it impact Great Britain on the world stage or as it relates to other countries?

STANAGE: That`s a great question. And I think it really goes to the fact that Queen Elizabeth was such a part of the landscape. You know, with the exception of Lyndon Johnson, she met every American presidents since Harry Truman, as one of your earlier reports alluded to, the first British Prime Minister she worked with was Winston Churchill. This is just an extraordinary span of history in which she provides a common thread.

Now, as King Charles ascends to the throne, does that diminish Britain`s role? I don`t know that it diminishes it. But it does certainly reset it at a time when a lot of other elements of British identity are very much in flux for reasons that we`re all aware of Brexit, the general political turmoil, economic difficulties. This is a time where there are a lot of moving parts. And Queen Elizabeth hadn`t been a stabilizing influence. And no, she`s not there anymore.

RUHLE: She met every U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson. I would love to know who was her favorite. Michelle Tauber, Ryan Heath, Niall Stanage thank you both. Thank you all so much, so much to take in.

When we come back. When Elizabeth became Queen, the British Empire was already becoming the British Commonwealth. But her influence continued across the globe. The influence from the only British monarch many have ever known. That is next.

And later, why the Department of Justice gave the Trump appointed Florida judge a deadline to reconsider her decision in the Mar-a-Lago case and why Steve Bannon is in a whole lot of trouble tonight. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a very eventful Thursday evening.




LIZ TRUSS, UK PRIME MINISTER: Queen Elizabeth the Second was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her.


RUHLE: And just her third day as Prime Minister, Liz Truss faced a very difficult challenge, finding the proper words to honor Queen Elizabeth, the monarch who appointed her and the 14 prime ministers who came before her. With me tonight to discuss Susan Pedersen, a professor at Columbia University specializing in British history. Susan, here was the queen just two days ago meeting with Liz Truss, how involved with she at the age of 96 and her royal duties?

SUSAN PEDERSEN, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: It seems that she was really quite involved. I mean, I find it incredible to look back on this life and think the number of people that she met, the number of charities that she supported the just the activity that she continued with all through this very, very long reign.

I mean, I think it`s a lot is asked of a monarch like this. They can`t have -- they can`t say what they think. They represent the -- they have to open parliament. When they open parliament they stand up and they say my government will do this and that when they say that they might disagree with every single legislative item coming up and they can`t say that. They have to say this is what my government will do. That is a script that they have to read and in some ways her whole life was that kind of script that she have had to read.


And I think Britain was very lucky in the character of the queen. She seems to have been somebody extraordinarily dedicated to a particular sense of her duty and her obligation. And so whatever it was that she was supposed to do, she did it. Not every royal has been like that. And she was.

RUHLE: She didn`t just do it. She did it for 70 days.,

PEDERSON: I know. It`s incredible.

RUHLE: How has the role of the monarchy changed over that period of time?

PEDERSON: Well, there`s more continuity than change. I mean, I think one of the biggest changes is in the 60s, the monarchy opened up to the public to a degree it hadn`t before. You know, there was a little film made about the royal family, they kind of left the cameras in a bit more. The royal family has always presented itself as a family. And they did that even more at that moment. That`s a risky thing to do because if your family goes off the rails a bit, that all happens in public then because once the cameras are in, they`re going to go away.

So I think it`s been much more public, much more visual, very little tolerance was given to any privacy concerns. You can understand why the Queen was desperate to get away at times and go to Balmoral where she can have a bit of time, more or less to herself.

It`s interesting when people need the -- met the Queen, you know, she has to do things like meet all kinds of people who get Order of the British Empire, right, which is, you know, it`s a honor. It`s not a huge honor. And that the character of that has changed over time as well. It goes to people who are, say, dedicated charity workers and stuff like that.

They remember that they had a conversation for a couple of minutes with the Queen. They actually had maybe 10 seconds with the queen. Right? She has seen a --

RUHLE: She leaves an impression.

PEDERSON: She leaves an impression. It`s a kind of mystique.

RUHLE: George W. Bush said today, that meeting her, spending time with her, having time with her was one of the highlights of being President, one of the best experiences of his life. She was beloved, not just for being the Queen, but for who she was as a person.

So what does that mean, for now King Charles and his wife, Camilla, who will be the Queen Consort? Will they be accepted by the public?

PEDERSON: I would want to distinguish between places where the Queen was head of state that are not the British Isles, and Britain itself. I think, I can`t see it`s not a moment when I can see a huge, you know, rising against now King Charles within Britain.

What I think is very different is that we`re at a moment where British history is coming under a lot of scrutiny, partly imperial history. And the Queen was head of, you know, the former dominions, Canada, Australia. She`s head of Caribbean countries. She`s the Queen of Jamaica, whether it`s going to be fine to continue to have that link with the royal family. I think at a moment when say, you know, questions of reparations for slavery are coming up those sorts of things. That`s a different question.

RUHLE: Susan, thank you so much for joining us tonight.


RUHLE: I really appreciate it. When we come back, the Department of Justice tells a Florida judge the U.S. government will suffer irreparable harm if she does not put a pause on her ruling Steve Bannon back in handcuffs when THE 11TH HOUR continues on this very busy night.



RUHLE: One month after the FBI search Donald Trump`s Mar-a-Lago club and home. The Department of Justice is signaling it will appeal the authorization of a special master to review the documents seized. They want to continue to use those documents in their investigation, saying quote, the government and the public are irreparably injured when a criminal investigation of matters involving risks to national security is enjoined. And the Justice Department gave the judge, gave the judge a deadline to put a ruling on pause or the DOJ will in fact appeal.

So let`s discuss Katie Benner, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist with the New York Times and Tali Farhadian Weinstein, a former federal and state prosecutor in New York, she clerked for Merrick Garland and Justice Sandra Day O`Connor.

Katie, you are the reporter on hand. What is the justice department saying tonight?

KATIE BENNER, THE NEW YORK TIMES JUSTICE PEPT. REPORTER: The Justice Department is essentially saying that they need Judge Eileen Cannon to allow them access to classified materials. They`re not actually get disputing whether not a special master should go through the many thousands of documents that don`t have classified markings or other things they took.


They`re really, really focusing on what was classified and marked top secret. They say these are documents that on their face are marked. It`s easy to see that they were government property that they did not belong to Donald Trump. And they really do need those documents today to begin an assessment of national security risks.

RUHLE: Tali, I have not spoken to you since all of this started. There have been so many twists and turns multiple investigations for you. Is there any one thing? That`s a huge deal? Anyone wow?

TALI FARHADIAN WEINSTEIN, FORMER NY FEDERAL AND STATE PROSECUTOR: Well, I definitely don`t want to rank the various crimes that Donald Trump may have committed and should be held accountable for.

RUHLE: But he hasn`t been kind of held accountable for anything yet.

WEINSTEIN: Indeed. And I do think that this investigation is different, because it`s not just about past accountability which matters. But as the Justice Department said today, there are ongoing, possible threats to the nation`s security. And what I think they did today is put Judge Cannon on notice that if she stands by the entirety of the ruling that she issued last week, she could have blood on her hands for what could happen if we don`t figure out what are these documents? Who has them? What are they planning to do?

RUHLE: But what is blood on her hands mean? Is that not an idle threat? She`s on the bench for life?

WEINSTEIN: Oh, it`s a threat to her reputation. It`s a threat to her conscience. And I`m not sure that the word threat is the right thing.

RUHLE: I mean I think she care.

WEINSTEIN: I hope that she cares, because this is what they said to her today. They said to her, Look, possibly the worst thing about the ruling last week was that she told the Department of Justice if they had to just stop their criminal investigation, right, and that they had to pause for what seemed like it would be a really long time as special masters appointed. And then he starts his work. And there were all sorts of new legal questions and those getting up and then exactly.

And they said, you know, if you`re going to make us do that, we`re also going to have to stop the damage assessment that you agreed was really important because the FBI participates in both, so we can`t do one without the other. And so we`re going to put our pens down, or we`re going to sit on our hands. And that`s going to be on you.

And I think that that was a really strong thing to say. And then they kind of sweetened it or tempered a little bit because then they also said to her, here`s a way for you to save face. You can stand by this ruling, even though we think it`s wrong and terrible. Most of it, you could keep going with your special master idea. And you could keep going with your executive privilege idea, but just let us have our 100 classified documents. You do you with the 16 boxes, and let us just make sure that the nation is safe, do you with this criminal investigation?

RUHLE: Just let us have our 100 classified documents. Katie in the separate investigation, let`s talk about Steve Bannon. We saw him surrender in the New York City courthouse today he is accused of stealing millions of dollars for a border wall. And as usual, he just made a whole lot of noise and fought it. Watch this.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE STRATEGIST: This is what happens the last days of the dying regime. They will never shut me off and kill me first. I have not yet begun to fight.


RUHLE: He has not yet begun to fight. So on one hand, we`re saying Man, this guy is in huge trouble. He never seems to care. What does his future look like?

BENNER: Well, I mean, he I think that he`s taken a strong stance in public that he does not care. And this is not a big deal for him to keep in mind when he was under investigation, federal investigation for similar charges. This is before he received as part of the president. Multiple former Trump administration officials have said on the record and magazine articles, like a very lengthy piece in The Atlantic magazine have said in their own memoirs, that they felt that Steve Bannon sort of reemerge after being exiled from Trump world that he kind of reemerged in order to obtain a pardon.

But this is a state charge, so he does not have access to a presidential pardon. This is no longer on the table for him. And it`s a really similar set of charges to what we saw the federal government investigating, which is whether or not he essentially swindled people who had donated money to build a wall and wrongfully said that he was going to use the funds and then misuse them and misappropriated them.

RUHLE: OK, but Tali, I know that sounds twisted. He swindled people out of millions of dollars for a wall that wasn`t built, but those people are still donating more money. He`s raising more money today. Does that weaken the case? You defrauded these people, but by the way, they don`t seem to mind?

WEINSTEIN: Well, interestingly, the indictment referred to hundreds of donors in Manhattan who were swindled by him and I have to think that the prosecutors who brought this indictment have some of those donors and were able to get their testimony and to say you know I do feel bad about this.


You know, it`s interesting. The same issue is the issue in the other investigation that we learned about today that the Department of Justice through the DC U.S. Attorney`s Office is looking at a similar scam of Trump taking money, right, for one purpose and using it for another for enriching himself and his friends just like Bannon said he was taking money for this wall, but instead was using it for other things. And there too, they`re going to have to have some people who say I was swindled and I`m not going to stand for it.

RUHLE: At least Katie Benner, Tali Farhadian Weinstein great, great to see you both. As this audience knows there`s nothing I love more than brilliant women guests on this program and I hope Neal Kaytal watching because look how great Tali look tonight. That guy wrapped up in a T shirt.

Coming up next, what does Queen Elizabeth mean to the United States? What does she mean to Americans? One of our favorite historians Jon Meacham is here to talk about Queen Elizabeth`s friendship with this country when THE 11TH HOUR continues.




UNIDENTIFED MALE: Ron (ph) couple visited to express their friendship for the American republic and to make the acquaintance of President Truman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last night`s formal state dinner for the Queen was the most glittering social evening of the Ford administration

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For nights spent at Windsor Castle, the President this morning went riding with Queen Elizabeth for 40 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the night that a part of America`s past but America`s pastime. Two of the world`s most enduring symbols on the same feet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a handshake but no curtsy. Nevermind, Mrs. Obama seems to have made another new friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump was hosted by the Queen at Windsor Palace while rejected by protesting masses here on Trafalgar Square.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: England`s longest serving monarch hosted her 13th U.S. President Biden and his signature aviators.


RUHLE: Queen Elizabeth was part of a vital friendship between Great Britain and the United States. She depended, excuse me, she deepened the Alliance through her relationships with more than a dozen American presidents. Back with us tonight, a man who knows all about it. Historian Jon Meacham will occasionally advises President Biden on historical matters and major speeches. John, I`m so glad you could be with us tonight. Talk to us about the Queen`s long friendship with this country.

JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, she was a child of the moment when the alliance between London and Washington meant everything. Her father was king when Winston Churchill was trying to woo Franklin Roosevelt and an isolationist America in the late 1930s into 1940. And almost all the way through 1941 to join the fight against Hitler. Churchill once said, No lover ever studied the whims of his mistress as I did those of Franklin Roosevelt.

And so the princess grew up around this unfolding drama, where America really meant ultimate deliverance because of our strength, because of the Army, the Navy, the Army Air Force at the time because of the women who would keep everything together here during the cataclysm of World War, and she was living it at this hour 82 years ago, the Luftwaffe who launched the Blitz this month, 57 days and nights of attacks.

The princesses never left London as the Queen mothers reported to have remarked, someone said wouldn`t will the princesses leave London and the Queen Mother said the princesses will not leave without me. I shall not leave without the king and the king shall never leave London. And so there was this kind of resilience, stoicism that was not legendary.

RUHLE: She met with many U.S. presidents were there some she liked more than others.

MEACHAM: Almost certainly, because she`s a human being. We`ll probably be about 200 years or so you`ll probably be around I won`t before her diaries are opened. She took pains interestingly to meet Herbert Hoover on her own for visits to the United States. Hoover`s lived in the Waldorf Astoria for decades. So she even went back in time. She knew Truman, she knew Eisenhower or she knew Kennedy, did not meet Johnson. Richard Nixon had designs that perhaps his daughter Tricia might marry the Prince of Wales. So there`s a breaking historical insight for you.

She rode horses with President Reagan, President Bush Senior and in his diary talked about on his first meeting with her how one was uncertain how informal to be an interesting comment he dictated into a tape recorder. But then he said, but she was so gracious, it all worked out.

And so for her the dealing with American presidents was using her role in the British Constitution. The British constitution is divided into two segments. There`s the officiant, which is the prime minister and Parliament, and then there`s the dignified and that`s the crown. And the crown in the service of keeping that relationship alive was always ready to meet with presidents to go see them.


And she understood her role, not least because one of our early prime ministers, Churchill was her first but then Harold Macmillan, Macmillan once said of the British, that we are the Greeks in the New Roman Empire. The British wanted to see themselves as the civilizing force for the bumptious Americans. And the Queen was a huge part of that strategy.

RUHLE: Can you tell us more though, specifically about her relationship, let`s say with Barack Obama, and George Bush, right, two very different presidents. I mean, she met them as people, not just presidents.

MEACHAM: Yes. And she was fascinated by people, which is an interesting thing given you don`t think about that. But her biographers make this point that she listened. She had her limited contact with her subjects and with other people. And imagine that dynamic, you know, it wasn`t exactly, you know, let`s have some Jen (ph) and sit out by the pool. But she was always fascinated by people. I think President Obama would have fascinator because of his remarkable biographical story.

The best George W. Bush story is when his father was president that they had a state dinner. Barbara Bush, in her inimitable way, introduced George W to the queen as the black sheep of our family. And Her Majesty said, we have several of those. So she had humor.

There`s a great scene on the bridge on the Britannia, the royal yacht in 1991 she was here, and former President Reagan is on the yacht for dinner, and he is desperate to get a cup of decaf coffee. And the waiters only have regular coffee. And he`s really kind of insistent that he wants his decaf. And if you watch this footage, you see Mrs. Reagan`s face just absolutely anxiety ridden that the President`s asking the sovereign, the good the defender of the faith for decaf coffee. And finally, Queen Elizabeth said, Well, we do try. Yes, and that`s not a bad epitaph, right. She did try.

How about just asking for a cup of tea? You`re with the Queen of England. Jon, it is always a treat to see, especially on a night like this where you can share so many amazing stories. Jon Meacham, thank you so much.

MEACHAM: Thanks.

RUHLE: When we come back, I`m not sure if you`re aware of this Queen Elizabeth, she was also a pop culture icon. We`ll show that when THE 11TH HOUR continues.



RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight, Queen Elizabeth II has been one of the most famous public figures in the world for decades. Our own Molly Hunter has a look at her enormous influence, not just on world issues, pop culture.


MOLLY HUNTER, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Queen`s image was recognizable around the world. The pop cultural icon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Queen has been depicted in popular culture more than any other person really because she is a global icon. She is immediately recognizable anywhere and everywhere in the world. And because she`s been around for such a long time.

HUNTER: At a glance, Queen Elizabeth was known for her handbags, her pearls her eye catching bright colors. Some say her outfits reflected her belief that she had to be seen to be believed. Artists took inspiration from her likeness. And while shows the movies about the world`s took off --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t often get into a fight. But when I do I want to win.

HUNTER: Millions of fans were hooked on the drama and the scandal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMLAE: You don`t think that worked affection people once had form for this institution has been diminished?


HUNTER: Hoping to learn a little more about the Queen whether real or fictional. The Queen may have been a beloved on screen character, but she wasn`t necessarily a loyal fan of the dramatizations herself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know that some members of the royal family watched the crown and other dramatizations of the monarchy. There`s never been any suggestion that the Queen herself watched it. You know, if you`re born into the royal family, hundreds of thousands of pages of script and drama will be written about you whether you like it or not.

HUNTER: She did embrace her pop culture notoriety on occasion, appearing alongside Daniel Craig`s James Bond during the 2012 London Olympics, and she answered with Britain`s beloved Paddington Bear during her Platinum Jubilee.

PADDINGTON BEAR: perhaps he would look a marmalade sandwich. I always keep one for emergencies.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: So do I. I keep mine in here.

HUNTER: And to those who knew her best, she had a very different side less formal perhaps, than the reserve leader we`ll saw.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always wonder whether anyone properly captured her sense of humor.

HUNTER: England`s longest serving monarch, her dedication to service defined the royal family adored at home and admired by fans around the world. Molly Hunter, NBC News, London.


RUHLE: An extraordinary life and legacy she has left behind. And on that note, I wish you all a very good night. From all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News, thanks for came up late with us.


Our coverage of the death of the queen -- of Queen Elizabeth continues now with this simulcast of our sister network Sky News.