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Thousands swarm to greet Prince William and Kate in Berlin

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Thousands swarm to greet Prince William and Kate in Berlin
Kate Middleton and Prince William greeting fans in Berlin. Photo: DPA.
16:31 CEST+02:00
Die-hard fans of the royal family waited with anticipation for hours to catch a glimpse of Prince William and wife Kate Middleton as they kicked off their three-day German tour in Berlin.

Even before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's plane had touched down in Berlin at about noon on Wednesday, their German fans were already eagerly awaiting their first public visit at the capital's iconic Brandenburg Gate.

“We've been here since 7am, I got up at 3.20am,” says Alex from Poland, clutching a British flag next to her German friend Selli, about an hour before the royals arrived.

“He's going to be the king one day, and it's a once in a lifetime chance. It will be a good story to tell when I'm older.”

Selli adds that while it would be “cool” for Germany to have its own royalty, she's quite happy nonetheless without one.

“I think a lot of Germans generally like England, and it's special to see the royal family,” the born-and-bred Berliner observes.

“And it's not the royal family's fault for Brexit, it's the people who voted for it.”

Selli and Alex aren't the only ones showing their love for Old Blighty. Families with kids stand protecting their territory on the frontlines of barriers set around the area through which the royals will walk, waving both German and British flags.

Another couple from Berlin are protecting themselves from the hot summer sun under a Union Jack umbrella. Their enthusiasm has garnered them at least a dozen media interview requests so far.

“We don't have a royal family here, we just have Frau Merkel,” laughs Theresa. “Germans love the pomp and circumstance of it all. The whole thing is fun.”

Berliners Adnan and Theresa wait for Will and Kate. Photo: Emma Anderson/The Local

Several police officers told The Local they estimated around 2,000 had gathered to see Kate and William, who also brought along their children George and Charlotte for the trip, though they did not come to the Brandenburg Gate. But it's hard to calculate exactly how many came just to see the famous couple, and how many accidentally found the viewing party simply because they were sightseeing.

“We've stumbled across Prince William while walking in Berlin. That's kind of cool,” says Australian James Hoatson with a friend.

Elsewhere, 16-year-old Hanna Lehmann from Saxony-Anhalt has dragged her Berliner grandparents along to snap a photo of the Duke and Duchess after she read about their visit in a newspaper.

“It does interest us. They have a connection to German and European history,” says her Opa, Ulrich Newy. “It's worth it to wait to see them because they come here so seldom.”

“It would be nice to have a royal family here,” chimes in his wife, Beate. “They bring glitz and glamour to their country.”

As soon as the couple finally made their appearance, the crowd started cheering and screaming their names as fans clamoured to talk with them or shake their hands. One such lucky woman was Sharon Tickle, on holiday here from Formby, England.

“I'm so excited. It's like a dream to have met Kate,” Tickle tells The Local.

“My heart is still pounding. I have chills,” adds American au pair Stephanie from California, who was with her.

After chatting with their adoring audience during a walk around Pariser Platz at the Brandenburg Gate, the royal couple then walked to the nearby Holocaust Memorial and its museum.

Afterwards, they went on to meet with an initiative to help disadvantaged youth, then it's on to meet German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at his official residence, Bellevue Palace.

In the early evening, Prince William will celebrate his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II's 91st birthday at a garden party.

On Thursday the couple will jet off again for Heidelberg in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg to meet cancer researchers, tour the historic old town, and even take part in a boat race.

On their third and final day on Friday, Will and Kate are in Hamburg to see a maritime museum, attend a concert at the recently built Elbphilharmonie, and finally visit Airbus' Hamburg factory before it's back to Britain again.

“It's a special thing for Polish and German people,” says Alex. “We haven't had kings in a very, very long time.”

SEE ALSO: Here's where to catch Prince Will and Kate during their royal visit to Germany

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the couple would attend another event after the garden party.

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