Prince and Princess of Wales visit sea of tributes to Queen at Sandringham

·3-min read

The Prince and Princess of Wales visited a sea of flowers left for the Queen at the main gates to Sandringham House, as William told well-wishers that walking behind his grandmother’s coffin brought back memories of his mother Diana’s funeral.

William and Kate, both 40, stepped out of a dark Range Rover near to the Norwich Gates and took time to read messages on the many tributes.

Thousands of well-wishers gathered behind metal barriers to see the couple, who stayed for almost an hour speaking to people.

William told retired dry cleaner Peggy Butcher: “This sea of flowers is unbelievable.”

He also extended his thanks to everyone for going to the Norfolk estate on Thursday.

Ms Butcher, 89, and from March in Cambridgeshire, said afterwards: “He seemed to care about us because we cared about the Queen.”

Receptionist Jane Wells, 54, of Long Sutton in Lincolnshire, said: “I said how proud his mother would have been of him, and he said how hard it was yesterday because it brought back memories of his mother’s funeral.”

Caroline Barwick-Walters, 66, of Neath in Wales, said: “He told us how difficult it was yesterday, how it brought back memories of walking behind his mother’s coffin.”

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The Prince and Princess of Wales view the floral tributes (Toby Melville/PA)

She said she told William “thank you for sharing your grief with the nation”, and that he replied “she was everybody’s grandmother”.

Gregory Hill, headteacher of Howard Junior School in King’s Lynn, was with a group of children aged seven to nine, and he said that William and Kate noticed a Paddington Bear tribute they had made.

“It’s got our same logo on the badge as our school uniform and they both commented about that,” he said.

Kate then invited eight-year-old Elizabeth Sulkovska to walk with her to place a corgi teddy and a bouquet of flowers among the tributes.

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The Princess of Wales meets children from Howard Junior School in King’s Lynn (Toby Melville/PA)

“Elizabeth was overwhelmed, she cried with joy at being chosen,” said Mr Hill. “It’s just a wonderful, amazing opportunity.”

He said that the Queen’s death has “touched a young generation as well”, adding: “The older generation obviously knew the Queen for longer but young children that haven’t experienced the Queen for long on the throne still are greatly moved by her passing, and really want to do their best to celebrate her life and legacy and never forget her.”

Elizabeth said she was “very happy” to have placed the tributes with Kate.

Mental health counsellor Julie Young, 51, from March in Cambridgeshire, said: “We asked about the children and how the children are coping with it all.

“He said he thinks George understands but the other two are not really, don’t understand.”

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The Princess of Wales collects floral tributes (Joe Giddens/PA)

She said this may be due to nine-year-old George being older than Charlotte, seven, and four-year-old Louis.

Karen Anvil, who took a photo of the so-called Fab Four of William and Kate and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Christmas Day in 2017, was in the crowd again.

She said that as she was speaking to William she was “just chatting away and I just said ‘I’m so sorry, I’m such a chatterer’.”

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The Princess of Wales views the floral tributes (Toby Melville/PA)

“He said ‘I love chatterers’,” said Ms Anvil, 44 from Watlington in Norfolk.

“So technically the Prince of Wales has told me he loved me today. That’s what I’m going to take from it.”

Her daughter Rachel Murdoch, 21, said Kate told them the children were in their first week at school and “they’re settling in and they’ve got some new friends”.

William and Kate waved to the crowds before climbing into a Range Rover to leave.