PRINCE William said he had hoped the Queen “might get a bit more” time as he spoke with well-wishers this week.
The Prince of Wales, 40, made the heartfelt comment as he met mourners in Sandringham on Thursday.
He said he was pleased his children were able to have a relationship with their great-grandmother – as he did with his.
But he suggested he had hoped she might follow in her own mother’s footsteps – who lived until she was 101.
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Speaking to a member of the crowd, Wills said: “I remember my great-grandmother, you see.
“She lived until 101. We thought my grandmother might get a bit more…”
On Thursday, the Prince and Princess of Wales met with crowds at Sandringham and observed the flowers and letters left by fans.
William admitted he has found it “hard” to read the heartfelt tributes left by royal fans for the Queen.
And he told well-wishers he finds the children’s notes the hardest to read.
William told one person who came to pay their respects: “It’s very moving.
“I find reading the notes quite hard actually, especially the children’s notes, they get me every time.”
During the same walkabout, Kate Middleton reportedly told a crowd member she was also finding it tough to see the sweet messages.
Fran Morgan recalled: “She [Kate] said she couldn’t believe how many cards and flowers there were.
“But she also said: ‘I can’t read them all or I would cry.’”
Many handed bouquets to Kate, who smiled as she interacted with the crowds.
And the Princess of Wales told one mourner their children – Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and four-year-old Prince Louis – were handling the tragedy of losing their great-grandmother well.
Lynne, from Wymondham in Norfolk, told the BBC: “My daughter Jo, who has a great affinity with children and knows that Kate does as well, asked her how the children were doing.
“Kate thanked her and said they were doing well and they were being looked after at school.”
Kate reportedly told another well-wisher that George understood that the Queen had died, but his younger siblings “less so”.
And William said it had been an incredibly difficult time for the family which had brought back memories of losing his mother in 1997.
A crowd member also told the emotional Prince she was close to tears, to which he replied: “Don’t cry now – you’ll start me.”
And he told a third mourner: “I’m learning that she was everyone’s grandmother – the way people have reacted.”
Huge numbers of mourners have already paid their respects following Her Majesty’s death last week, and thousands more are expected to over the coming days.