The newly-appointed Prince of Wales spent forty minutes walking around outside Windsor Castle on Saturday meeting with various mourners and well-wishers who were gathered following the monarch’s passing on Thursday. At one point, the royal paused to speak with Elaine Gee, a teacher from Wokingham, England, who discussed with him how hard it can be to explain death to her young students. A sentiment William commiserated with as he’s had to broach the subject himself with 9-year-old Prince George, 7-year-old Princess Charlotte, and 4-year-old Prince Louis.
Gee shared some of their conversation with People, revealing, “I told him how I work at a school and how it’s been a strange year celebrating the Jubilee and now it’s all changed and we are talking about this. He spoke about George, Charlotte and Louis, saying that they were trying to keep some sense of continuity for them at school and keep things as normal as possible.” The school teacher also got the opportunity to meet briefly with the Princess of Wales, sharing with her how impressed she’s been by how Kate has conducted herself during this difficult mourning period. “Catherine thanked me, and she said that all the nation were feeling it,” Gee said. “They were both very kind and gentle and genuine. It was very special—definitely a moment I will always treasure.”
William and Kate were also joined on the walk around Windsor Castle by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, together speaking to hundreds of mourners paying their respects to the late queen. One of those gathered, Sanj Chowdhri, told the outlet that was surprised, but delighted to get the opportunity to meet the Duchess of Sussex face-to-face. “She shook my hand and said it was really nice of us to come and support the family, she was very gracious,” he said, while his wife, Minal Chowdhri, added, “We didn’t expect this, it’s been surreal!”
Another bystander Debbie Fowler remarked how nice it was to get to see the royals being so informal around one another. She explained, “It was amazing, they were so personable. Somebody gave William a pot plant, and he said he was going to plant it. And they were talking about people’s dogs, and Will called Kate over to stroke one near us. They are in mourning, and yet they were so lovely to everyone.” And another visitor, Cheryl Young, traveled to Windsor from Preston to hand deliver a bouquet to Kate. “It was magical and very surreal,” she said of that special moment. “I’m actually shaking from the overwhelming atmosphere. Kate said how all the messages were so wonderful to see.”
At another point during the event, a visitor told the Princess of Wales that it was almost as if Queen Elizabeth had been the nation’s grandmother, to which she concurred. “Yes, I know she will be missed by so many, and it’s lovely to see the outpouring of love from people of all ages here today,” Kate said. “It’s hugely touching to see.”
Article originally appeared in Vanity Fair.