Jenna Bush Hager has shared that she was with King Charles III hours before Queen Elizabeth II’s death, and claimed that she was told to be “quiet” when a call came in about the 96-year-old monarch being ill.
During Monday’s episode of Today, the 40-year-old television host discussed how she arrived in Scotland on 7 September to interview the now Queen Consort, Camilla, about her book club, “The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room.”
Bush Hager also noted that since the royal’s flight was delayed the night before the interview, they didn’t get to have dinner together. However, she said that she did get to have dinner with Charles instead.
“It was a lovely meal,” the book author recalled to co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin. “He first said, ‘My darling wife was so sad [not to make it].’ And I just love [that].”
After explaining how she and Charles had a “wonderful evening filled with conversation,” she detailed how the Queen’s death “was sort of a surprise”, as they had continued planning for Camilla’s interview.
“The next morning, we were setting up the interview. We were at their house, it’s called the Dumfries House — they actually bought it, redid it and then gave it to the people of Scotland,” she explained.
However, Bush Hager went on to share that the interview didn’t go as planned since Charles’ team received a call about the Queen’s health and asked everyone to remain “quiet” for it.
“The interview was supposed to start around 2 or 2:30,” she said. “I was supposed to meet with the now-queen consort around 1:30. At 12:30, we heard sort of running up and down the halls. [The royal’s team] came in and said, ‘Can you please be quiet. There’s a call.’”
“We were right by then-Prince Charles’, now King Charles III’s, office,’” she continued. “They said, ‘He’s on a call, can you please be quiet.’ Then, all of a sudden, we heard a helicopter, which they don’t take lightly.”
Bush Hager said that she was informed that “the queen is ill” and that Charles and Camilla had “gone and rushed off to be with her,” which ultimately postponed the interview. In response to the news, Bush Hager and her crew told the royal’s team that their “hearts are with them”.
Although she said that she couldn’t wait for another opportunity to “talk books” with Camilla, the journalist went on to send her condolences to the Royal Family and acknowledged how significant her trip to Scotland was.
“This queen who has reigned for so many decades, who’s also been the leader, the matrich of their family and held them together for many years, so our hearts are with them,” she added. “It was living history, it never gets old. It’s kind of wild.”
During an episode of Today last week, Bush Hager first recalled how Camilla was pulled out of their interview.
“We were just hours away from our interview when she and her husband took off to go see Her Majesty the Queen in Balmoral,” she said, while standing outside of Charles and Camilla’s Dumfries house. “They do not take these matters lightly. They have packed schedules full of many appointments.”
“So, we are thinking about them, we are thinking about this beloved Queen who is loved around the world, particularly here in Scotland,” she added.
On 8 September, Buckingham Palace officially announced the Queen’s death, after spending 70 years on the throne. On Twitter at the time, the Royal Family’s Twitter shared that she “died peacefully” at her Balmoral estate.
During a televised address on Friday, Charles announced that a “Royal Mourning” period for the Queen had begun and would be observed until seven days after her funeral, which is set for Monday 19 September. The date of her funeral will also be a national bank holiday in the UK.