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American royal super fan makes ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ coronation pilgrimage

Donna Werner has traveled from Connecticut in the United States to join a handful of the British royals’ most ardent supporters pitching their tents along the route of the coronation procession. U.S. royal superfan is no stranger to royal celebrations, as she watched royal weddings and Jubilee celebrations, but she is ecstatic to be in London for her first coronation.

Rehearsal ahead of King’s coronation

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“And we’re off! This is such a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Werner squealed as she set off from her hotel to walk to Buckingham Palace, where she will secure a front-row spot and camp out for the next few days to watch King Charles being formally crowned on Saturday.

“Nobody does it like the British, the pomp and the circumstance. We don’t have anything like this in the States,” Werner said.

Things got off to a good start for Werner, first charming a construction worker into carrying her camping gear and then catching an unexpected glimpse of King Charles driving past in his car outside Buckingham Palace.

Werner plans to stay up all night so she can sneak a peep at a rehearsal for the coronation rumored to take place on Tuesday night.

Her first royal event was the wedding of Prince Andrew to Sarah, Duchess of York in 1986. Since then, she has made several friends at royal events, including Mary-Jane Willows, who joins her from Penzance in the UK after meeting her at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales in 2011.

“I’m just happy to be here and be part of history. I mean, this hasn’t happened in 70 years. I just wanted to be here to say I did go to a coronation,” Werner said.

Next to her tent, Werner has hung an American flag and a sign reading “U.S. loves King Charles.” She has also taken the coronation memorabilia into her own hands, painstakingly creating a hat covered with flags, photos, and cut-out figures of King Charles.

King Charles will be crowned at Westminster Abbey in London on May 6. The ceremony is set to be full of resplendent pomp and pageantry, with traditions dating back 1,000 years.

After the ceremony, the King and Queen are scheduled to return to Buckingham Palace in the 260-year-old gold state coach, in a parade with 5,000 men and women from British and Commonwealth armed forces.

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