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Coronation fever: Meet a royal superfan from the U.S. braving the weather to camp out in a prime spot

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London — With days to go until King Charles III’ coronation, some royal superfans have already camped out in central London to secure a front row spot for the historic day. That includes Donna Werner, who came all the way from New Fairfield, Connecticut, to camp next to St. James’ Park, just outside Buckingham Palace on The Mall, a full five days ahead of the big event.

“There’s nothing like this in the states,” Werner told CBS News on Tuesday, her second day camped out. “One of the biggest parades I have ever been to was probably a ticker-tape parade for when the Yankees won the World Series … and this is a thousand times better!”

Werner joined a handful of the most hardcore royal superfans enduring Britain’s cold nights and unpredictable weather to guarantee a clear view of the processions carrying King Charles and Camilla on May 6. Some of them will have spent nine nights in their tents by the time the big day arrives.

For them, the climax of coronation day will be seeing the king roll past in the gilded Diamond Jubilee State Coach on his way to Westminster Abbey, and then return to Buckingham Palace several hours later in the Gold State Coach.

A map provided by the U.K. government shows the route that the procession carrying King Charles III will take from Buckingham Palace, down The Mall and then to Westminster Abbey, for his coronation on May 6, 2023. The king and queen will then be carried back to the palace along the same route later in the day. 

U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport/Handout

“Unless you’re here, you can’t even imagine the feeling in the air of excitement and the love,” Werner said. “It’s definitely worth it, even if it rains.”

Werner decorated her camping spot with a U.S. flag and a sign that reads: “U.S. Loves King Charles,” which she’s hoping the king will spot during the procession. “We have a great view here,” she said. “If I’m going to come all this way, I want to be front-and-center.”

Connecticut resident and royal family superfan Donna Werner’s camping spot on the edge of London’s St. James’ Park, just outside Buckingham Palace on The Mall, is seen on May 2, 2023.

CBS News

The Connecticut resident is no stranger to roughing it to catch a glimpse of royalty. Werner has secured a spot at the front of the crowds since Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s wedding in 1986. She said she has been “in love” with Britain since her first visit as a teenager.

Early Wednesday morning, Werner’s was one of only about half a dozen tents along that section of the procession route as uniformed soldiers paraded past for a rehearsal. A brass band on horseback led the practice procession.

Donna Werner, of New Fairfield, Connecticut, stands near her tent on the edge of London’s St. James’ Park, on The Mall, May 2, 2023, securing her spot before King Charles III’s coronation.

CBS News

“I just love all the pomp and circumstance,” Werner told CBS News. “It’s just so joyful and it’s just, everybody’s so happy. … Nobody does it like the Brits.”

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