Prince William stunned well-wishers who had gathered outside Kensington Palace to mark what would have been his mother Princess Diana’s 58th birthday on Monday.
A group of fans gathered outside the gates from 5:30am to hold a vigil for the late princess, who was tragically killed in a car crash in 1997.
The Duke of Cambridge, 37, astounded the well-wishers when he emerged through the palace gates to speak to them.
The small group who had brought flowers and bunting were left emotional when William shook their hands and thanked them for their support.
One fan John Loughrey, 59, told The Daily Mail: “William told me he knew we'd been coming here for years and thanked us for what we were doing for his mother.”
Among those he met was ‘superfan” John Loughrey who was left ‘shaking’ by the encounter. ‘William told me that he knew we had been coming here for 22 years and thanked us for what we were doing for his mother, ‘ he said. pic.twitter.com/3fyFr2dtIW— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) July 1, 2019
“I'm still shaking now. I feel very emotional,” he added.
Mr Loughrey said William admired his collection of badges pinned to his hat and said he thought it was 'wonderful' that they were celebrating his mother's life and legacy.
“He said 'I'm touched by what you do, you've got quite the collection."I told him that I pray for his mother every Sunday at Westminster Abbey and he seemed really touched.”
William and Harry were just 15 and 12 when Princess Diana died in 1997.
A statue of Diana will be erected in the grounds of Kensington Palace at the request of her sons. The brothers commissioned the project in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of her death but its completion has been delayed, as they want to make sure the monument is ‘completely right.’