Jenna Bush Hager recently witnessed what she now refers to as a piece of “living history” play out right before her eyes.
TODAY's fourth-hour co-host was supposed to be meeting with Camilla — then known as the Duchess of Cornwall, now queen consort — to chat about their shared passion for books and prepare for an interview the following day about Camilla’s own book club, the Reading Room.
But when Camilla's flight was delayed, it was Charles who took her place.
"It was a lovely meal," Jenna recalled to Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin on TODAY Monday morning. "He first said, ‘My darling wife was so sad (not to make it).’ And I just love (that)."
In fact, Jenna says she turned to her husband, Henry Hager, who was also in attendance, and asked, "Will you call me 'darling wife' from now on?"
As for Charles, he told her that night that Camilla "can’t wait to sit down with you tomorrow."
Jenna referred to the evening as "wonderful" and noted that it was "filled with conversation that felt joyful." Looking back now, she believes the queen's grave condition the next morning must have come as a surprise to the family.
It was certainly a surprise to Jenna and her crew the next day.
"The next morning, we were setting up the interview," she explained of the anticipated sit-down with Camilla. "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."
But things didn't go according to plan after they prepared to film in the library of Dumfries House.
"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 royals' team then made a request.
"They came in and said, ‘Can you please be quiet. There’s a call,'" Jenna remembered of the moment. "We were right by then-Prince Charles', now King Charles III’s, office. They said, ‘He’s on a call can you please be quiet.’ Then, all of a sudden, we heard a helicopter."
The team informed Jenna the interview would be postponed.
"They said, 'The queen is ill, and they have gone and rushed off to be with her,'" she noted. "We just said our hearts are with them."
She realized the importance and rarity of having such an inside glimpse of that moment, telling Hoda and Craig, "It was living history."