London — King Charles III, along with his son and heir William and his wife Kate, Prince and Princess of Wales, made a surprise stop to greet supporters outside Buckingham Palace on Friday afternoon, just a day before the monarch’s coronation ceremony.

Royals fans gathered along The Mall, a wide, tree-lined avenue that leads directly to the front gates of Buckingham Palace, pushed back against the fence when they saw the royal Bentley State Limousine rolled to the palace.

To their delight, the motorcade stopped and the king, prince and princess got out and walked towards the fence.

Preparation for the coronation in Britain
Britain’s King Charles III greets well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace in London, May 5, 2023, a day before his coronation at Westminster Abbey.

Toby Melville/AP

For several nights already, people have camped out to reserve the best vantage points along the mall, which is about halfway along the route along which the coronation processions will take place on Saturday, when the king and his wife, Queen Consort Camille are carried to and from Westminster Abbey.

The crowd reacted with shock as the royals got out of their cars, chanting “God save the king” and “hip, hip, hooray!”

The King, Prince and Princess of Wales worked on opposite sides of the mall, welcoming people from all over the world, including from as far afield as the US and Thailand.

King Charles greets well-wishers at the Mall ahead of Coronation Day
William, Prince of Wales, greets well-wishers as he walks along the Mall near Buckingham Palace, May 5, 2023, a day before the coronation ceremony of his father, King Charles III.

Toby Melville / Poole / Getty

Two women who managed to exchange a few words with the monarch after two nights at the mall told CBS News it was a “really great” experience.

“I told him, ‘Happy tomorrow,’ and he turned to us and shook our hands,” said Joan, who did not want to give her full name.

“He asked if anyone had spent the night, and my hair was sticking out, and I said, ‘Yeah!’ And he bent down and shook my hand.”

Royal family security urged viewers to put down their phones to enjoy the moment, according to the BBC.

King Charles III’s new role in the monarchy


Shortly after the three royals made their appearance, they got back into their cars and continued towards Buckingham Palace.

CBS News’ Emmett Lyons contributed to this report.

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