Mourners who gathered at Kensington Palace to remember Princess Diana on Monday got a surprise when her eldest son came out to thank them.

The palace gates become a makeshift memorial for the late royal every July 1, Princess Diana’s birthday.

And this year, Prince William, 37, wanted to let mourners know he appreciates the gesture, according to The Daily Mail.

The prince emerged from the palace, where he lives with his family, around 7 p.m. He was accompanied by only a small amount of security when he went outside the gates to talk to the crowd.

He stayed for about seven minutes to thank those that gathered.

John Loughrey, a 59-year-old who wore badges of the late princess on his hat to the memorial, said that William called them “wonderful.” He said:

“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.”

Loughrey added:

“William told me he knew we’d been coming here for years and thanked us for what we were doing for his mother. I’m still shaking now. I feel very emotional.”

Maria Scott, a 48-year-old from Newcastle, also got a chance to meet the prince. She explained why the crowd was there to honor the late princess:

“We are here to honour Diana’s legacy. 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 was shocked when she saw Prince William walk out the palace gates towards them. Scott said:

“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 passed away in August 1997 due to a car accident. Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, were aged just 15 and 12 at the time.

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