‘Don’t cry, you’ll start me’: Prince William and Kate get emotional on walkabout at Sandringham

Continuing their week of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince and Princess of Wales traveled to the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk to visit with mourners who have gathered to share condolences on Thursday. People reports that the couple spent about 45 minutes speaking with people outside of the estate’s Norwich Gates, where 30,000 floral tributes have been laid. Though William and Kate have both shown some of their emotions during their previous appearances at Windsor and the Palace of Westminster, their trip to Sandringham was especially emotional.

According to the Telegraph, William expressed his own feelings when he encountered a woman who said she was close to tears. “Don’t cry now—You’ll start me,” he said. Roya Nikkhah of The Times reported that he said he was touched by the public reaction. “I’m learning that she was everyone’s grandmother—the way people have reacted,” he said.

Nikkhah also noted that Kate told a crowd member that their children have learned the news, but their reactions haven’t been the same; nine-year-old Prince George has absorbed the news, but seven-year-old Princess Charlotte and four-year-old Prince Louis are having more trouble understanding.

The Telegraph also spoke to Jane Wells, who chatted with the couple about their experience at Wednesday’s procession from Buckingham Palace. “He said how difficult it was yesterday and how it reminded him of his mum’s funeral,” Wells said. “Catherine said it’s just been such a difficult time for all of them, for the whole family.” 

For decades, the royal family has celebrated Christmas at Sandringham Estate, and William and Kate have their own house on the estate, Anmer Hall, where they spent most of the coronavirus pandemic. The queen’s husband Prince Philip spent three years living full-time at the estate’s Wood Farm Cottage, where the queen was said to help with the dishes and other chores on weekends.

Article originally appeared in Vanity Fair.