Fans and mourners gathered at the Kensington Palace gates yesterday to pay their respects to the late Princess Diana on what would have been her 58th birthday—but they weren’t alone.
Royal well-wishers were shocked when Prince William made a surprise appearance to express his gratitude for helping to keep his mother’s memory alive. The 37-year-old Duke of Cambridge emerged from the palace dressed casually in a button-down shirt and greeted fans.
He shook hands, thanked them for the flowers and photos they’d left and took the time to talk about his mother’s passing.
“William told me he knew we’d been coming here for years and thanked us for what we were doing for his mother,” John Loughrey told the Daily Mail. “I’m still shaking now. I feel very emotional.”
Another well-wisher, Maria Scott, shed light on why she and others flock to Kensington Palace annually to remember the late princess’s memory: “We are here to honor Diana’s legacy,” she told the Daily Mail. “We are two generations down now, and there are children growing up who don’t even know who she is. It’s important that we remind them and remember.”
She added, “None of us could believe it when William suddenly walked down the drive to come and thank us. He really is his mother’s son.”
Princess Diana previously called Kensington Palace home and it’s now where the Duke of Cambridge resides with his wife, Kate Middleton, and their three children, Prince George (5), Princess Charlotte (4) and Prince Louis (1).
The Princess of Wales may be gone, but she’s most definitely not forgotten.