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Best of 2012

Aired January 1, 2013 - 16:30   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: A very good evening from London. I'm Becky Anderson with a CONNECT THE WORLD special, looking back on some of my favorite stories of the year.

The Olympic Games was, of course, one of the highlights for 2012, but beyond that, we've had many other memorable moments. We're going to kick off with the queen's Diamond Jubilee and end with a couple of nuggets that you may have missed. So without further ado, this is how we covered Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne.


ANDERSON: Over a thousand ships, 20,000 people on board, and a million more lining the banks of the River Thames on Sunday. London saw the largest flotilla of boats for more than three centuries sail through Britain's capital city.

This is quite remarkable isn't it?

INDIA HICKS, BRIDESMAID FOR DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: It really is. But remember, of course, in 1954 when the queen came back from the six- month tour overseas as queen, she came down the Thames in Britannia. So this must have been very emotional for her coming back.

And again, I think there's a wonderful story of when they went under London Bridge in Britannia. They all held their breath thinking they weren't going to quite make it.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the royal barge, which I've seen developed over the last few months. The guy that owns it was told it would only take six weeks. Six months it took.

ANDERSON: Chart well, they call it.

FOSTER: And it's been transformed into this -- and these thrones were never sat on.

ANDERSON: Well that was because it was pouring with rain, right?

HICKS: That's because she's stoic. And she was going to stand for the eight hours.

ANDERSON: But there were a million people lining the banks of the River Thames. No dampened spirits here. Listen to this. This was a moment.


ANDERSON: Those are loyal subjects, aren't they.

FOSTER: They became so famous because the epitomized the day, didn't they? They just sort of carried on regardless. And they looked drenched.


ANDERSON: The tone of today couldn't have been more different from yesterday. Nick Glass takes a look back at the day's sights and sounds.


NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Young, pure voices filling St. Paul's Cathedral in a service of thanksgiving. A new choir, a diamond choir, and a new song composed for the occasion.

The queen and her firstborn were still, just lost in thought, just listening.


GLASS: The choir was drawn from all over Britain, 11, 12, and 13- year- olds. The queen herself was just 11 when she first knew that she would succeed her father to the throne.


GLASS: With Prince Philip under observation in hospital, we worried a little for her this morning. For a moment in the great cathedral, she looked so sad. But then, it was just for a moment. We glimpsed her fleetingly as she was ferried from the cathedral to reception and to lunch at Westminster.

And at the end of that, she was serenaded out to her favorite tune from "Oklahoma" --


GLASS: "People Will Say We're in Love." She and Prince Philip saw the musical in London a few months before they were married almost 65 years ago.

The queen shared her open carriage back to Buckingham Palace with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.


GLASS: The crowds along Whitehall were at least 12 deep. We counted them. And as far as we could tell, there were even more people along the Mall.

Then, that great British tradition, umbrellas up and swarming down the Mall to the palace. As the queen came out onto the balcony, she exclaimed quietly to herself, "Oh, my goodness, how extraordinary!"


GLASS: As well she might looking out onto the teeming swell of people and Union flags.

Above us, we can just about make up the silhouette of the Dakota and the Lancaster bomber, with its escort of Spitfires and a solitary Hurricane, followed by a more visible salute from the Red Arrows.


GLASS: The queen stayed out on the balcony for 12 minutes. The latest word on Prince Philip is that he is in good spirits and improving. The queen will now reflect back on a long weekend of celebration.



ANDERSON: Well, the celebrations didn't end there. We're going to take a very quick break on this show. When we come back, how we paid tribute to the queen with song.


ANDERSON: Well, welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in London, and we are looking back on one of the biggest celebrations of the year, the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well done, Your Majesty, 60 years, fantastic. I danced at Diana's wedding and at the last wedding, and I'm here for your 60th and long live the queen and the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have come all the way from Zimbabwe to hear the jubilee, and we would like to say congratulations enormously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm from China. Happy anniversary Elizabeth II.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came from Texas. I'm actually Scottish. I love our queen, and 60 more years. We're really proud of you. Congratulations.



ANDERSON: We're joined here at Buckingham Palace by India Hicks, she's Prince Charles's goddaughter. Your mum, of course, was a lady-in- waiting and spent much of the last 60 years with Queen Elizabeth II.

HICKS: Yes. I think what's important to remember is that the queen, although so young, age 25, taking on that role, she was very aware that she was anointed and not appointed, and it was exactly that. It was her role, it was her duty. And I think that is how she has remained this remarkable figurehead.

ANDERSON: Do you know, I think it's absolutely remarkable that we very rarely, if ever, see an interview with Her Majesty. We hear her every year on Christmas Day with her message to the Commonwealth. Your mother spent so much time with her. What's she like as a person?

HICKS: Human. Very human. But she's -- there is definite formality. But she's a mother and she obviously takes her role incredibly seriously, so works unbelievably hard. Imagine, she took six months on that Commonwealth tour, six months away from her children.

ANDERSON: Do they enjoy those tours?

HICKS: I think in part. But again, it's duty. They are exhausting. Imagine, she's probably going to a state opening of Parliament once a week wearing tiara and evening dress nearly every single night. It's very long.

ANDERSON: Looking at the pictures today, she stood on the balcony. She said, "Oh, my gracious, oh, my goodness, I can't believe this. This is extraordinary." Do you think she still feels -- and I'm certain that she feels a sense of responsibility, but when she looks out into the Mall here and you've got 250,000 people, does she still get that sense of excitement, do you think?

HICKS: Well, I think, clearly, from the reaction that we saw. I gather also that she said, "I wish Philip was here." It's -- you know. It's amazing to realize that she stood there all the time with him by her side.

ANDERSON: Will it have bothered her that over the past two decades, let's be quite frank, the royal family haven't been as popular as they are now?

HICKS: But she has always been. There was one small glitch when Diana died, and the queen felt that her role was more as a grandmother than the queen and she wanted to be with those boys and protect them, and it was misunderstood by the British public, who felt that she was staying away.

In actual fact, she was trying to protect her grandsons. She was in the role of a grandmother, and I think once it was explained and she came down, the British public turned. I think our love for her has never diminished.


ANDERSON: Well, that love for the queen stretches well beyond British shores. She is, of course, the head of the Commonwealth and, quite fittingly, then, British singer Gary Barlow, together with Andrew Lloyd Webber, composed a tribute song featuring singers and musicians from across her reign.



ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, COMPOSER: I was asked if I would write something for the flotilla. And Gary Barlow is producing the concert at Buckingham Palace, and it suddenly occurred to me that there was a horrible possibility that he was going to do a song and I was going to do a song.

So what we decided to do was to join forces. We decided the theme was going to have to be about the Commonwealth because obviously that's something that the queen is immensely proud of, and rightly. And Gary was going to do a documentary about the Commonwealth anyway. So we used the documentary as a possibility of where to find the artists.


WEBBER: We had an hysterical afternoon, wrote it. And then we got really quite serious about it, because Gary went off, did a draft of the lyrics, and then I -- he e-mailed it to me from various places around the world. And I then looked over it and added in a couple of things that I knew that the queen would be particularly pleased with the.


ANDERSON: The right word.

WEBBER: Well, I think one of things she was -- you know, she is also proud of is the fact that she is the faith, as it were. She is the Church of England. I felt we just needed to touch on that, that she kept her faith, because she did. And for 60 years she has been constant to the nation. And that's something we really wanted to achieve.


ANDERSON: And there are, therefore, influences from around the world.

WEBBER: Everywhere, yes, around the world. I sadly could not join the -- this finding of the artists around the world because I have two shows opening back-to-back on Broadway. I have "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Evita."

Anyway, so Gary masterminded it back in London, and I put my penny with the chips. But it was great. It was -- and we played it to the queen now. And she has allowed us to say that she's delighted with it. So, I think Gary and I are very proud.

ANDERSON: The royal family themselves, a little involved.

WEBBER: Well --

ANDERSON: Certainly Prince Harry is.

WEBBER: Well, he plays the tambourine. Very moving.

ANDERSON: Is he any good?

WEBBER: Well, he plays the tambourine, like that. And it's extremely moving when you hear it.


ANDERSON: It's called "Sing."

WEBBER: It's called "Sing," and that's what it is. It's something that you -- we would hope everybody will sing out loud to.

ANDERSON: How does the melody start?

WEBBER: Well, I had an idea, which is quite simple, and I'm going to play it in the wrong octave because you're sitting where the octave should be. But it was just simple.


WEBBER: Because I thought that would sound lovely in the open air. And then we have a little melody that goes with it which goes like -- oh no, see, I'm a bad pianist.


WEBBER: It sounds wrong up there, but it goes.


WEBBER (singing): Sing it louder, sing it clearer, let the whole world --

WEBBER (speaking): And it's a beautiful -- and everything comes together in a kind of glorious sort of counterpoint at the end.



ANDERSON: Well, a fitting tribute there on what was Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

Still to come on this CONNECT THE WORLD special, a couple of my other favorite stories of the year. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in London. I want to wrap up tonight's special with a couple of other stories that, for me, were memorable moments of 2012. A quintessential car race, a marathon runner nothing short of inspirational, and a fashion parade with a difference. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps the greatest international road race of them all, the Mille Miglia.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Classic cars in a classic race. The Mille Miglia, a 1,000 Roman miles, began in 1927 as Brescia's answer to Monza's Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was an adventure for the wealthy, but everyone could take part as the race rode its way through villages from Brescia to Rome and back again.

ANDERSON: Over the three decades, Italian drivers in Alfa Romeos and Ferraris dominated the Mille Miglia. But it's British racing legend Stirling Moss looms largest in the record books.

UNIDNETIFIED MALE: At the finish, just over 10 hours later, it's Moss who crosses the line to win in record time.

ANDERSON: His record in the Mercedes SLR was never beaten as the much-loved race was banned two years later after a crash killed two competitors and nine spectators.

ANDERSON (on camera): Tradition is hard to put the brakes on in Italy, particularly when it comes to the glitz and glamor of racing cars. Just look around me, more than a half century after this race was banned, the classic cars are back on the streets of Brescia, the start and finish of this storied event.

The route's the same, the atmosphere is humming, as you can hear. There's no real surprise that one of the race's legends is still so keen to take part. What do you remember of those days?

STIRLING MOSS, BRITISH RACING LEGEND: Oh, I remember what you're seeing here, the passion of the people. Cars -- you've got to realize, the cars -- the first car went at 9:00 at night in half minute intervals all the way through to midnight.

Then, they went at one minute intervals. And I'm 722 on the last race, and I was not the last. So, you're talking about 600 or 700 people out there, many Italian hair dressers with goat master tape and -- unbelievable. It is only in Italy, because of the passion of what it means.

ANDERSON: Stirling, I've read that you never looked forward to the race. Is that correct?

MOSS: Yes, it is. Absolutely. The only -- this is the only race that frightened me. It frightened me, because I -- of course, I didn't know the road. No way do I know 1,000 miles. I did have a passenger with me, James, who would give me hand signals of notes we've made before.

But going into the race, once the flag fell, of course, then there was no fear. Before that, thinking about it, I've doing speeds of up to 185 miles an hour, which was quick. And you know, you've got --

ANDERSON: With no seat belts.

MOSS: Oh, I wouldn't wear a seat belt, no way. The trouble with seat belts is if you had fire, which is very common because of the whole of the back of the car is fuel. Then, of course, you couldn't get out.

ANDERSON: Well, for safety's sake these days, the race is rather more leisurely, let's say, over three days. But the atmosphere, Stirling, hasn't changed, has it?

MOSS: It is amazing how many Italians are here. People who know very little about motor racing, they all know the Mille Miglia. It's such a romantic race.

ANDERSON: We may be living in austere times, but there is no shortage of amateurs competing for a place in this rally. But of nearly 1,000 hopefuls, just 380 have been privileged to get a place in the starting ramp.



ANDERSON (voice-over): Claire Lomas is paralyzed from the waist down. Five years ago, a horse riding accident left her unable to walk. But today, with the help of a special bionic suit, she completed the toughest of physical challenges: a marathon.

CLAIRE LOMAS, PARALYZED MARATHON WALKER: I can't feel my legs. And even just standing and balancing is difficult. You have to trust your legs are there. When you can't feel them, it's like you're floating on nothing. It's a really strange feeling.

ANDERSON: Claire has walked two miles a day since the London marathon started.

ANDERSON (on camera): And you are less than a mile away.

LOMAS: Actually, I'm --

ANDERSON: How does it feel?

LOMAS: -- half a mile point was just back there, so we're getting very close. It feels pretty cool, actually.

ANDERSON: What have the biggest challenges been, Claire?

LOMAS: The pavement's been quite difficult. The slopes, the pots in the roads, all adds to it, whereas when you're in the clinic environment, you're on a wooden flat surface. So, all those take that bit more out of you. It's quite nice to be on a good bit to finish.


ANDERSON: As soon as you get towards Buckingham Palace the pavement smoothed out --

LOMAS: Yes, exactly.

ANDERSON: -- you'll notice.

LOMAS: Yes. No, exactly.

ANDERSON: What would you say to people who will be celebrating your triumph with you today? What will you say?

LOMAS: I'd say, "Get a drink."


ANDERSON: You've had a lot of support along the way, haven't you?

LOMAS: Amazing, yes. It's incredible.


ANDERSON: Claire Lomas, crossing the finishing line 16 days after she started the London Marathon. She won't be receiving an official medal. The organizers here say you have to start and finish the course on the same day.

But the Pearly King and Queens of London are here to greet her, as are hundreds of people here in Hyde Park. I guess she'll just want a good cup of tea.




ANDERSON: Hello, Diesel. Hi! Well! This is going to be one of our models.


ANDERSON: We hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a look at Diesel. She's a little mongrel.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Pedigree may be missing, but Diesel is about to join's London's A-listers on the red carpet. She's among the homeless hounds being bathed and brushed. And then sized up --


ANDERSON: -- for a high-end fashion show at the annual Collars and Coats gala ball, a charity to raise funds for the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, some models proving higher-maintenance than others.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come here. Come on.

ANDERSON: And they'll need to be on their best behavior, they say, to make the cut. Selected to don exclusive doggie wear designed by some of the biggest names in fashion.

ANDERSON (on camera): Nineteen by thirty-three. Do you think that's one going to --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he will, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's quite the nice wear, and he's quite broad at the front.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Perfect for this Trevor Pickett design.

CLAIRE HORTON, CEO, BATTERSEA DOGS AND CATS HOME: This is a bit of a two-way thing, because it comes -- yes, well, it comes. So it comes --


ANDERSON (on camera): To the owner, of course.

HORTON: Well, only half of it for the owner.


HORTON: That might be for the owner.


HORTON: This would be something to keep out the winter chill.



HORTON: That is water for the dog. Actually, you can probably swap them around.

ANDERSON: You can?

HORTON: And then, this side, you have everything you need for walking the dog. Poo bags.

ANDERSON: Oh, gorgeous!

HORTON: Clean up those little accidents.


HORTON: And then on here, you have for the water, a little water bowl. Look at that!

ANDERSON (voice-over): Jeremey Hackett, Jenny Packham, Matthew Williamson, just some of the fashionistas donating designs for the ball's charity auction. But it's abandoned racing dog Connor who's been selected to wear the piece tipped to fetch the highest price.

ANDERSON (on camera): So you have designed a Faberge collar for Connor.

KATHARINA FLOHR, DESIGNER, FABERGE: Well, look, Connor, here it is. Absolutely.

ANDERSON: You're going to enjoy this, I hope you will. What was the inspiration.

FLOHR: Well, the inspiration was a stone-carved sculpture by Faberge that was made for Edward VII, actually, to commemorate his favorite beloved dog, and it had an enamel collar on it with the inscription, "I belong to the king."

Oh, this is looking very nice, indeed.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The Cinderellas of the dog world given their makeover and now ready to go to the ball.

ANDERSON: Let's just see what you look like.

HORTON: Come here!

ANDERSON: Oh, look!


ANDERSON: The -- mid weight.


ANDERSON: That wraps up this CONNECT THE WORLD special. Thank you for watching. I'm Becky Anderson in London. We look forward to bringing you more memorable moments in 2013. Good night.