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Family Chased by Cheetahs at Safari Park; Prince Harry's & Meghan Markle's Road to the Alter; French Police: One Dead, Four Injured In Paris Knife Attack; CNN: Sanders Berated White House Staff For Leaking McCain Joke; Meghan McCain: How Does White House Aide Kelly Sadler Still Have A Job?; U.S. Moving Its Israel Embassy To Jerusalem Monday. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 12, 2018 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Police say the attacker is also dead. CNN international correspondent, Jim Bittermann, is joining us now over the phone. Jim, what have you learned?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, Ana, not a whole lot more than the last time. Basically, the assailant went after five people, apparently. One of those people is now dead. Two are gravely injured, and two are slightly injured.

It is close to the Paris opera house, about a 10-minute walk away, but it's not at the opera house itself. And the attacker was killed by police as he was committing his act, apparently. It happened very quickly, apparently.

And the terrorism prosecutor says they're still evaluating whether or not they're going to get involved. What that means is they're not sure if this was a terrorism related event. Basically, if there is a terrorism event, they're usually quite quick in declaring that because it seems they get their investigators on the scene right away.

But the fact that he's hesitating and not deciding whether or not it is terrorism indicates to me, anyway, it's probably not going to end up being terrorism. I think he would be out there on the scene himself probably if it was some kind of a terrorism related event. So, that's the way it stands now. We may know more in the next hour or so.

CABRERA: You provide that good perspective for us, Jim, but have police indicated any possible motive for the attack?

BITTERMANN: No, not at all. Not at all. And you know, I heard you talking earlier with josh about knife attacks. Yes, there have been a number of them in Paris. But of course, the injuries and deaths are quite low when compared to gun attacks because it's a lot more difficult to go at someone with a knife.

But it is a weapon that's used more frequently here, simply because the gun control laws in France are such that it is difficult to get guns. It's not impossible, but it is difficult.

And there have been a number of knife attacks including some against police officers, including one hammer attack against a police officer at Notre Dame a year or so ago. So, knives are used, but it's more because it's the weapon that's available, not because it's a weapon of choice.

CABRERA: Got you. Jim, stay with me. I want to also bring in CNN's counterterrorism analyst and former CIA counterterrorism official, Phil Mudd. Phil, I know you are very familiar with this area because I understand you used to live in this area. What's your initial read on this?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: A couple questions I'd have. There's always, in my view, a gap between what the public thinks about it in terms of motives and what professionals would think. I think Jim is right to be a little bit cautious on describing motive.

I see a couple things here. If you look at the history of attacks recently, you see attacks using things like guns. As Jim said, those are difficult to acquire, but easier to acquire would be a van or a truck. We have seen those kinds of attacks as you know in France and the U.K. and Germany.

So, I wonder why someone didn't try a more aggressive form of a terror attack. That leads me to question, too, was this person part of a conspiracy or not that might lead to a judgment about terrorism.

I think the police will know that quickly, but this one, I think we really dodged what could have been -- there's a tragedy, but it could have been a catastrophe if this went in the direction that we had seen in previous attacks in Europe -- Ana.

CABRERA: Obviously, the big question is the motive, but the attacker is also dead. So, what are law enforcement officials doing right now, Phil?

MUDD: The first question you have to have is identification. I mean, you're going to talk to the people around the scene about whether the attacker said anything at the site. I think that's significant but not nearly as significant as a couple other questions I have.

As soon as you get an identification of the attacker, you are going to get access to an apartment, to friends and family, to social media. Within hours, you should have a sense of whether the individual had access to propaganda, whether he was talking to friends and family about views, political views, whether it's related to radical Islam or anything else.

So, identification of the attacker would be my first question and whether you can get a quick judgment about intent, and also that second question, whether there's a circle of people around him that support him. I suspect not, but that's not a fact yet.

CABRERA: Jim, tell us a little more about this area. You said it's about a ten-minute or so walk from the Paris opera house. Any idea what may have been happening in and around that area at the time?

BITTERMANN: Well, this hour of the night on a Saturday night, there's a number of restaurants around that area. It's not right at the opera. It's actually between two fairly high tourist areas, but not that close to either one of them, being the Louvre and the Opera.

But this hour on a Saturday night, there are probably a lot of people out on the streets, restaurants around there, bars, what not. I suspect there probably were a fair number of people on the street.

[17:05:07] And you know, you're looking for potential victims or targets or whatever, it would probably be easy to find them around that area. It's not the most popular tourist area in Paris. I mean, probably more people on the (inaudible) Bay in that area. But nonetheless, there would be tourists around there.

CABRERA: I want to come back to the weapon of choice, Phil. The fact that a knife was used as we have discussed, not a gun, which could have been more lethal or cause more casualties. Not a van, not a vehicle which we have seen in other terrorist attacks recently. So, what do you see as the significance of a knife being the weapon of choice?

MUDD: That takes me a little bit inside potentially inside the mind of whoever committed this attack. Obviously, there's a question Jim raised about whether the individual simply couldn't get access to a weapon because of how tight French weapons laws are.

But there's a couple more questions I have, as someone who used to look at the terrorism side of the business. That is, there's no second or third person involved. That tells me this individual acted alone.

I found when I was in the business, individuals who are acting alone were far more difficult to understand mentally that individuals acting in conspiracy. He might have his own -- this individual, assuming it's a he, his own motivations that are more difficult to understand than a quick terror/no terror judgment.

The second thing I'd say is thankfully, we see the decline of the ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq. If this someone who had terroristic motivations, three or four years ago, they might have gone someplace else like Turkey and into Syria to get training. In this case, they never got anywhere as far as I could tell. You have somebody who conducts a fairly limited, unsophisticated attack.

CABRERA: Now they're saying the situation is under control, Phil. So, does that give you any indication as to where they're headed in their investigation? Because I recall in the past, we have covered these breaking stories, there is always that initial concern, could there be more attackers out there, could there be other areas where people are at risk.

MUDD: That gives me half an indication, but I wouldn't be there in terms of the full understanding, obviously, of what the plot is. That tells me that the immediate geographic area is under control, and they don't suspect this person was operating with anybody else right there around the opera house.

But you can't this quickly get into a judgment about whether this person was in contact with people who might have other individuals like him in a conspiracy cell. That's going to take at least a few days to get to.

You can have a judgment within a few hours, but to get real confirmation, the public wants confirmation in an hour or two. To really get confirmation takes a couple days to ensure that he was really acting alone.

CABRERA: And so, Jim, is there any indication that police are alerting residents that there could be still a threat out there?

BITTERMANN: No, I don't think so. From what we understand, the neighborhood, of course, is still cordoned off, but the neighborhood has been, has gone lax, I'm not at the scene, so I can't verify this, but I think the situation, they say it's under control.

That generally means that things are under control and there's nothing to worry about for anyone else. And I think the interior minister kind of indicated that when he tweeted that he was saluting the efforts of the police as if the event was over. I think that we can say it's over.

CABRERA: Jim Bittermann and Phil Mudd, I really appreciate it. Thank you both for joining us.

Coming up, we're going to stay on top of this breaking news story. One person dead, at least four injured after an attacker goes on a stabbing spree not far from the Paris Opera House. Back in a moment.



CABRERA: I want to take you back live to Paris right now. You see law enforcement officials on scene after a knife attack. An attacker went on a stabbing spree, killing at least one person and injuring four others. Two of them are said to be gravely injured.

This happened near the city's iconic Opera House, about a ten-minute walk from that area, according to our reporter on the ground, which is also a short walk from the Louvre Museum, and according to police, that attacker is also dead.

So far, no word on a motive and no indication yet on whether this was an act of terrorism. We're continuing to follow this story. We'll stay on top of it and bring you new information just as soon as we learn it.

Also, this afternoon, new drama inside the White House, as Press Secretary Sarah Sanders berates her staff for leaking a cruel joke that one aide made about Senator John McCain as he battles brain cancer. The joke, that it didn't matter whether McCain opposed Trump's pick for CIA director because he's, quote, "dying anyway." The news about Sanders scolding her staff comes after she was given multiple opportunities to condemn the remark during Friday's press briefing. Instead, she had this to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meghan McCain wondered aloud today why Kelly Sadler still has a job here at the White House. Does she still have a job?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to comment on an internal staff meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the White House think you don't need to condemn these remarks --

SANDERS: Again, I'm not going to validate a leak one way or the other out of an internal staff meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you not going to apologize to Senator McCain --

SANDERS: Again, I'm not going to get into a back and forth because, you know, people want to create issues of leaked staff meetings.


CABRERA: In case you didn't catch that, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders doesn't want to talk about it, even though one source told CNN Sadler called McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, to apologize, and still, Sanders defended the culture inside the west wing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a tone set from the top here where it is allowed for an aide to say he's dying anyway?

SANDERS: Certainly, there is not a tone set here. We have a respect for all Americans.


[17:15:11] CABRERA: But Sanders later conceded President Trump does set the tone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he bear responsibility for the tone set here at the White House? And all of the staffers who work here, frankly?

SANDERS: He certainly does.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: So, what is that tone? Judge for yourself.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have incompetent politicians not only the president. I mean, right here in your own state, you have John McCain. He's not a war hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a war hero. Five and a half years --

PRESIDENT TRUMP: He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured, OK. I hate to tell you.


CABRERA: Joining us now, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter, and CNN White House reporter, Sarah Westwood. So, Sarah, what does it say about this White House that a meeting to discuss a damaging leak leaked?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: Well, certainly that was a sentiment that Sarah Sanders said at the top of the meeting, according to CNN sources. She joked that, of course, the contents of this meeting is going to leak as well.

Mercedes Schlapp, another White House aide, told the staffers sitting around her that they could put her on the record in their leaks that she was standing by Kelly Sadler. Sources are telling CNN that communications aides inside the White House are largely more upset that this terrible joke leaked to the media that the fact it was said in the first place.

They're worried that the leak has caused damage to the White House, has distracted from what they considered an otherwise successful week on the foreign policy front, and that now they're having to deal with bipartisan fallout from a joke against a true American hero.

CABRERA: Brian, we heard the White House criticize the leak, but it wasn't all that long ago the president loved leaks. Listen.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: This just came out. Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks. Another one came in. Wikileaks is like a treasure trove. I will tell you this, Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.


CABRERA: So, isn't it a little rich to say now they won't respond to news of a leak?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right. It's awfully convenient. But the lack of a response goes to show how the president really feels. He's showing his true colors by not even pretending to express sympathy for John McCain in this way or condemn someone for making a so-called joke.

Obviously, it wasn't a joke at all against him. The context for this, I'm sorry to say, is his friends are talking about their time left with him in days or weeks, not months or years. Hopefully they're wrong, hopefully McCain will be with us for years to come.

He has a book coming out later this month and a movie coming out later this month. He views those as his final two messages to the public. There's this HBO documentary on Memorial Day all about his life. I think these White House aides need to watch it. They need to read the book, they need to know more about the man that they don't seem to be respecting enough.

CABRERA: Meghan McCain also responded directly to the aide's comments on "The View." Let's listen.


MEGHAN MCCAIN, SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN'S DAUGHTER: Whatever you want to say in this kind of environment, the thing that surprises me most is I was talking about this with you, Joy, I don't understand what kind of environment you're working in when that would be acceptable, and you can come to work the next day and still have a job. That's all I have to say about it.


CABRERA: Sarah, is there any indication that Sadler's job is on the line?

WESTWOOD: There's no indication, Ana, that Kelly Sadler is going anywhere. She was at work on Friday. Sources say she was sending out e-mails to White House surrogates as usual. That's her job. She directs White House surrogates. There's no indication that any change to her duties will be made at all.

She has a relatively forward-facing position. She still has to direct talking points to people who are supposed to represent this White House. The communications aides, Ana, tell CNN that they plan to stand by Kelly Sadler through this controversy.

They clearly hope it's going to blow over. And now they seem to be even getting a little suspicious of each other, looking for the source of this leak to the public -- Ana.

CABRERA: Brian, I know you reached out also to Meghan McCain directly before she made the comments on "The View" and when you spoke to her, did she give you any idea of how her dad felt these comments?

STELTER: Yes, I think it is notable that we actually haven't heard from Senator McCain himself. Instead, it's been Meghan, you see them together there on a recent trip in Arizona. It's been Meghan and McCain's wife Cindy, who have been expressing the public reactions to these various ridiculous moments.

It's not just the White House aide, it's also the guy on Fox the other day who lied about McCain's war record. We're seeing both wife and daughter represent the family in this difficult time.

And I really have a lot of admiration for how they're doing that. They're having to listen to these ridiculous public comments or leaked comments about their loved one, and they're addressing it in a very responsible way.

[17:20:10] I love what Meghan said on "The View" about how it's not how you die. It's how you live. We're seeing this, in this moment of a vacuum of moral leadership, there are certain American families who are showing how to lead, who are showing how to live with civility and purpose. I think that's what we're seeing from the McCains.

CABRERA: We're also seeing a good friend of John McCain respond to these comments. It didn't go over well with Senator Lindsey Graham. A longtime buddy of McCain's who said this, "Ms. Sadler, may I remind you that John McCain has a lot of friends in the United States Senate on both sides of the aisle. Nobody is laughing in the Senate." So, what does Graham mean there? Could something like this further damage the already fragile relationship between Trump and the Senate?

WESTWOOD: Well, obviously, I think there's been a lot of backlash from Republicans to this comment, and then subsequently to the White House's complete lack of a response to the comment. There doesn't seem to be any discipline air action that's been taken against Kelly Sadler.

Towards the end of his life here, John McCain has become increasingly a bipartisan figure. He's become supported by Democrats who may have once disagreed with his policies. They're now stepping forward to defend him as someone who has contributed enormously to American political life over the past several decades.

So, I think that this is sort of a unique bipartisan moment where everyone is united against the White House on this one.

CABRERA: Vice President Joe Biden also responded to the episode with this statement. People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday. This staffer is not the exception to the rule. She is the epitome of it. So, he's saying this is the new rock bottom.

STELTER: The new low, yes. You know, I interviewed Trevor Noah, the comedian, for my show "RELIABLE SOURCES," and he actually quoted Biden talking about this dynamic we're experiencing in American life right now. He said there's a difference between being affected and offended.

A lot of what we see from the Trump White House is offensive. People are offended by it. But they're able to put that aside if they're affected positively by president Trump, by the administration's actions and policies.

I thought it was an interesting way to think about it, but do we really have to choose one or the other? Is it too much to ask to not have offensive remarks coming out of the White House? Aides making fun of or mocking or making jokes about McCain? It's a shame we have to settle for that, I think.

CABRERA: Brian Stelter and Sarah Westwood, thank you both. Don't forget about "RELIABLE SOURCES" tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. with Brian.

We have this just in to CNN. President Trump tweeting on North Korea, saying the country has announced it will dismantle its nuclear test site this month ahead of the big summit meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Trump added, "Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture." He is set to meet with Kim in Singapore on June 12th.

Coming up, it looks like everyone wants to know what's really going on in the Trump White House even Iran's supreme leader. Look closely. That's no ordinary book he's reading.

Plus, heart racing moments when a family tries to outrun a group of cheetahs at a safari park, the narrow escape you have to see.



CABRERA: Mideast tensions flaring today amid two major U.S. policy shifts. President Trump pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal this week, and the U.S. officially moves its embassy to Jerusalem on Monday.

Now Israel's military today destroying a tunnel in Northern Gaza after this week's deadly protests. Israel is boosting troop numbers along the Gaza border and in the west bank, and Iran's supreme leader apparently thumbing his nose at President Trump with this photo of himself reading a farcy edition of Michael Wolf's book, "Fire and Fury" inside the Trump White House.

Our Elise Labott is joining us now in Jerusalem. Elise, could this growing unrest we're seeing in Gaza signal potential danger in Jerusalem when the U.S. Embassy opens there on Monday?

ELISE LABOTT, GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there's a real concern, Ana, that this growing tension in Gaza that's been going on for several weeks, Friday was a very violent day. One Palestinian was shot and killed. Several hundred injured.

I think that there's a real concern that protesters are threatening to breach the walls, the gates between Gaza and Israel. And that's why Israel's boosting up its defenses. I don't necessarily -- obviously, there will be protests in Jerusalem, per se, but I don't think they're going to make their way all the way from Gaza to Jerusalem, but Israel is really prepared for some violent protests there.

CABRERA: What about the tensions in Iran right now after Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal this week?

LABOTT: That's right. And you also saw this week in Syria for the first time ever, Israel and Iran kind of trading direct fire. Iran has been shooting rockets at Israel, and Israel responded by firing against Iranian targets in Syria. And this is really, you know, threatening to escalate.

I think that since President Trump pulled out of the Iran deal, Israel sees an opportunity to go against Iran. They see Iran as weak, not only after the deal, but their currency is very low. They're bogged down in Syria.

And I think Israel is using this as an opportunity to go after Iran right now in Syria. It doesn't want Iran to set up a permanent military front there against Israel. So, I think this latest tit for tat might have subsided a little bit.

But there is a concern that there will be this kind of slow burn escalation and you might see these kinds of tit for tat attacks in the future.


CABRERA: All right, Elise Labott, in Jerusalem for us. Thank you so much for staying up late. I know it's a little after midnight there. We appreciate it.

Coming up, caught on camera. A family escapes a group of cheetahs after getting out of their car at a safari park. You have to stick around and watch more of this video. Stay with us.

First, tomorrow's brand-new "PARTS UNKNOWN," Anthony Bourdain visits Newfoundland and discovers how the Canadian province became the culinary capital of North America.



ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN": Here we are, boys, in rural, backwards-ass country, middle of nowhere, Newfoundland, eating one of the finest meals --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the North Atlantic.

BOURDAIN: -- in North America. Because let's face it, Newfoundland is incredible.


BOURDAIN: It's beautiful. It's filled with incredible ingredients. Hunting, fishing, inappropriate public displays of affection to seafood products.


BOURDAIN: Something called screeching in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never got you to sign a waiver form, so try not to get any on your skin.


CABRERA: "PARTS UNKNOWN, NEWFOUNDLAND," airs tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.

Don't go away.


[17:36:35] CABRERA: I want to bring you an update on our breaking news out of Paris. These are live pictures where police and first responders are converging on a crime scene where a knife-wielding attacker killed at least one person and injured four others, two of them seriously. This happened not far from the city's iconic opera house, which is also a short walk from the Louvre Museum. Police say the attacker is also dead. So far, there's still no word on a motive and whether this was terrorism. Paris' mayor praising the police response saying she salutes their courage and their professionalism. A developing situation which we're staying on top of.

President Trump has declared a major disaster in Hawaii. The situation is still volatile there following days of volcanic activity that sent molten lava and toxic fumes spewing into neighborhoods. Within the past hour, scientists announced a new fissure has opened and is spewing lava near one subdivision. Then there's this. Geologists are warning it could shoot ten-ton ballistic rocks into the sky in the coming weeks. Boulders the size of refrigerators, acid rain, falling ash, and more lava are still other possible hazards.

You have to take a look at this. They just wanted to snap a picture, but a family's decision to get out of their car at a safari park ended with them running for their lives after some cheetahs got dangerously close. The heart-stopping moments were caught on tape by a group of tourists in the car behind them. They panned from the cheetahs to the family, back to the cheetahs in disbelief that they would get out of the car with children, no less, just a few feet from the animals. The family eventually gets back in the car and drives off, just seconds before the cheetahs take notice and start to chase the car down the dirt path.

Now, here's where it gets pretty unbelievable. The family of five decides once again to get out of the car to climb a small hill to take pictures of the animals. Only this time, the cheetahs are ready to pounce. They start to circle. The man runs. The woman picks up the child. The cheetahs following close behind, eventually, lunging at them as they scramble to get back in the car. And they make it just in the nick of time.

I want to bring in animal expert, Jeff Musial.

Wow. Let's put aside the fact --


CABRERA: Thank you for being here.

This video is incredible. I can't imagine what was going through that family's mind at the time. I'm sure you would say the family --


JEFF MUSIAL, ANIMAL EXPERT: You know what I mean?


MUSIAL: Some of these people, the scary thing, today, everyone with cell phones and selfies. It's a scary, scary thing.

CABRERA: Instead of getting out of the car and then they are running away from the cheetah, how should they have reacted? What should they have done?

MUSIAL: Number one, any time you go to a safari park anywhere in the States, Canada, other countries, there's more signs than anything that says do not get out of your car. There's no reason to get out of your car. Number one. Number two, you don't run. That's a predatory animal. You run, that sets them running to attack mode. And cheetahs are not a predator that wants to hunt down a person. They're actually preyed on by lions, leopards, and other predators. They're pretty laid back as it is. But the biggest thing was the people got out of the car, they got out of the car again. The cheetahs picked up on them. When they moved in and started circling, the biggest movement that probably saved their life was the mother actually throwing her hands up at the cat when she was holding the kid. Because they didn't want the people. They want -- well, I should say, they didn't want the adults. They wanted the child. Cheetahs are known to go after small prey, the weakest link.

[17:40:25] CABRERA: Based on the way the cheetahs hunt, do you think they were making a move to try to separate the child from the parents?

MUSIAL: For sure, yes. If you watch, you can see three of them coming up. One coming from the front, two coming from the left and the right wing. And they're moving their way in. And I think the only move there that, after I watched it probably 150 times, that saved that child's life was the mother actually throwing her hands up in the air, and you can see the cheetah actually back up. They will go for big prey, but they are preyed on by other big predators. So if they have something come at them, they will retreat a little bit. They want to go for the weakest link, which in this case was the child.

CABRERA: So this brings up another situation that happened not that long ago. Other video that made a big splash with a cheetah on a safari, jumped inside a vehicle, and the person who was taking the video in that case stood still or sat still, I should say, didn't even move. Hardly breathed, it seemed, wanting the cheetah to go away, which it eventually did. What do you know about how these animals sense fear?

MUSIAL: Well, the biggest thing with cheetahs is, the biggest thing with any predatory animal, is fear, movement, running. Those are things you do not do. Like when they turn your back -- you never turn your back to a predatory animal and start to run. That instinct kicks in that it's a kill, and they're going for it. When something like that happens, you back away facing the animal, slow, calm.

In that video where the cheetah jumped into the truck with the gentleman, he had his phone rolling. He held it up like this and just sat there. He didn't move. The cheetah didn't take him as a threat. He was kind of checking things out and then left.

But in this situation, the video -- this happened twice with these people. They got out of the car the first time, then they went around the corner and got out of the car again. Then the cheetahs are like, what's going on? Is this food? Is someone delivering us a hot meal? Then they wanted to investigate, like they were doing. And then they were moving in for the kill, which is very scary.

CABRERA: Oh, my goodness. Like you said, thank goodness they weren't a larger cat.

MUSIAL: Right.

CABRERA: Thank you, Jeff Musial, for your perspective there. We appreciate it.

MUSIAL: No problem.

CABRERA: Coming up, flags, flowers, and Fascinators. With just one week to go until the royal wedding, a closer look at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's road to the alter.


[17:47:18] CABRERA: Now to the news that is providing a welcome break from the chaos, the violence, the investigations that have been consuming all the news cycles lately. One week from today, Britain's Prince Harry and American actress, Meghan Markle, will tie the knot. And to get you ready for all of the pomp and circumstance, a CNN special report takes a look at the couple's relationship and the impact it could have on the monarchy.



ALISYN CAMERAOTA, CNN CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: As Harry helps carry the monarchy forward, he will continue to do things his own way, like proposing to the woman he loves, not someone British royalty might expect.

PENNY JUNOR, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: I think it's a wonderful coincidence that Harry has fallen in love with somebody who is American, mixed race, divorced, and a career woman. She is very representative of our society today. And I think that makes the monarchy much more user friendly.

CAMEROTA (on camera): On Saturday, May 19th, Harry and Meghan will get married here, on the grounds of Windsor Castle in St. George's Chapel. It will be a very traditional wedding for this very modern royal couple. (APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meghan and Harry's love story is a great story. It has unlimited fairy tale appeal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard you were amazing in Chicago.

JUNOR: She does what she feels comes naturally. And Harry is the most relaxed member of the royal family.

CAMEROTA: Do you see any scenario by which Harry and Meghan overshadow Kate and William?

JUNOR: Oh, yes, I do. I do. This is immediately -- was my first thought, you know, this could be a problem. Because Harry and Meghan are a very compelling couple. They're very charismatic and very relaxed and easy. The cameras will follow them. William and Kate are -- there's much more rigidity to them, as possibly there has to be because he is going to be king.

CAMEROTA (voice-over): To some who have known the family well, Harry and Meghan will play a critical role in the monarchy's future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world's view of the British monarchy is probably going to be determined more by Harry and Meghan than by William and Kate. Certainly by Charles and Camilla. That's a very unusual situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The royal family need Harry to bridge the gap between the people and the monarchy, because, without that connection, the royal family wouldn't survive.


CABRERA: Joining us now from London, royal commentator, Richard Fitzwilliams.

Richard, how is Meghan being embraced by the British people?

[17:49:57] RICHARD FITZWILLIAMS, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: There's tremendous enthusiasm. I describe it as Meghan Mania, not only fascination in what she wears, because we know she how stylish she is, but also as a personality because she comes across so wonderfully well. She's vibrant, beautiful, and her chemistry with Harry, particular in the interview that we saw after they were engaged, that was perfection. She's tremendously popular. And the press is admiring. And I will think they will be selling papers for many weeks to come and not to mention months and years on what Harry and Meghan decide to do and as humanitarian activists.

CABRERA: As we saw in that piece, they both are authentic, down to earth, approachable kind of people, which does make them all the more fascinating.

I want to talk about the wedding. It's taking place at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, a bit of a more intimate setting than Westminster Abby, which is where Will and Kate were married. What's the significance of the location?

FITZWILLIAMS: The location means that as opposed to Westminster Abbey, where William and Kate married in 2011, you had 1900 guests, it was a semi-state occasion, and a large number of dignitaries. Some royal, some political had to be asked. If you have a small occasion, St. George's Chapel, they are having 600. Each guest will have some personal link with Harry and Meghan. They can avoid both controversy and the difficulties of choosing when it comes to being forced to ask individuals who they don't know. Also the location is tremendously important because it's historically fascinating. Ten kings lie buried in St. George's Chapel. It's the chapel of the Honor of the Garter, which was founded by Edward III, from whom Meghan is descended, it's been proved.

CABRERA: Wow. All eyes will be on her dress and what she's wearing. Who can forget Kate Middleton's beautiful lacy dress along with the famous Cartier halo tiara. We know Meghan won't be wearing the same tiara. What could we see?

FITZWILLIAMS: We could see -- and the bets on Ralph & Russo, who did make a fabulous engagement dress for the wedding dress. Of course, we got the name of the royal baby wrong because most people thought it would be Arthur or Alfred. So no one is absolutely sure. It's one of the fascinating things about the royal wedding that makes it so thrilling is the dress could be designed by anybody. It's something we don't know. Tiara's, I think she will wear one. I suspect the queen will lend her one.

The other speculation, and this also is a matter that I can only leave open, will they have a traditional kiss after the service before they go on the carriage ride with the escort, the household cavalry, around Windsor? Because this began in 1981 with Charles and Diana. In 2011, William and Kate kissed twice.


FITZWILLIAMS: Now there will be the opportunity as they come out of the chapel after the service, and will they take it? It would be something we would love to see.

CABRERA: When you talk about tradition, we know this is a couple already breaking some traditions, from holding the wedding on a Saturday to the flavor of the cake. Like you said, it's up in the air what traditions they will stick with moving forward.

What's the number-one moment you'll being looking forward to?

FITZWILLIAMS: The number-one moment, to see them as man and wife, a couple who I can only compare to Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers because they seem so well matched. And will there be that kiss?

Also what will Harry wear? We must mention that for a second. He has three military uniforms to choose from. Could be captain general of the Marines. Could be his link with the Blues and Royals in the household cavalry.


FITZWILLIAMS: Could be the Army Air Corps or he could wear morning dress. He'll look splendid in all of them.

CABRERA: Lots of mystery. Can't wait for the wedding.

Thank you, Richard Fitzwilliams, for the great insight.


[17:54:35] CABRERA: Be sure to watch CNN special report, "A ROYAL MATCH," at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

We'll be right back.


CABRERA: This week's "CNN Hero," Neal Bermas, saw children begging in the streets of Vietnam and he knew he had to do something. He immediately left his New York home and started a unique nonprofit giving young people the skills they need to rise out of poverty.


NEAL BERMAS, CNN HERO: The young people in the program come from the whole country. All kinds of very, very difficult pasts. We have kids with HIV background, kids from leprosy villages.

Some have already been trafficked. Sometimes more than once.

You'll do great.

Within a couple years, no matter how difficult and how painful, how tortured their life may have been, with 100 percent assurance, I know that young person is going to be starting a career with all kinds of possibilities.


CABRERA: To nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero," logon to

I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. I'll see you one hour from now.

"SMERCONISH" is next.