Kate leaves schoolgirl, 8, crying with joy after picking her to place corgi toy tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
An eight-year-old girl was left "crying with joy" after Kate, Princess of Wales picked her out from the Sandringham crowd
The Prince and Princess of Wales visited a sea of flowers left for Queen Elizabeth II at the Sandringham House gates on Thursday.
William told well-wishers that walking behind his grandmother’s coffin brought back memories of his mother Diana’s funeral.
But it was arguably Kate who stole the show, as she spotted and spoke to stunned schoolgirl Elizabeth Sulkovska.
Elizabeth, eight, was clutching a bouquet of flowers and a corgi teddy when the Princess invited her to walk alongside her to leave her own personal tribute.
Recalling the moment later, Elizabeth sobbed and had tears in her eyes.
She said: "I went with her to put the flowers and the corgi down.
"She said, 'Where do you think we should lay the flowers?' and I said 'We should put them there.'"
Gregory Hill, headteacher of Howard Junior School in King's Lynn – where Elizabeth is a pupil – said: "Elizabeth was overwhelmed, she cried with joy at being chosen.
"It's just a wonderful, amazing opportunity.
"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."
It came as the Prince and Princess of Wales 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.
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.”
She said she told William “thank you for sharing your grief with the nation”, and that he replied “she was everybody’s grandmother”.
William and Kate waved to the crowds before climbing back into the Range Rover to leave.