Every vantage point was taken as the royal couple wandered through the packed throng for half an hour, with a lucky few getting a handshake and a close-up photo opportunity.
One of the most thrilled fans was wheelchair-bound 95-year-old Daphne Dunne, who wore her first husband’s Victoria Cross for the occasion.
“I met him [Charles] 30-odd years ago in Canberra. He said he remembered – and I said, ‘so long ago?’ He said yes,” beamed Daphne.
Her husband of 12 months was killed while fighting Japanese soldiers in Lae in Papua New Guinea during World War II.
Daphne joined the Australian Army for the war and wore a host of her own medals alongside her husband’s. He died aged 24 and was among the many thousands remembered at memorial services on Armistice Day on Wednesday.
“She’s lovely too,” Daphne said of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
“She said ‘I see you’ve got the VC there. I said ‘how are you?’ She said ‘I’m very tired.'”
Daphne’s reply drew smiles from the dignitaries: “I should most probably lend you my wheelchair.”
The Martin Place meet-and-greet is one of many events on the royals’ busy NSW schedule, including chatting to officers at the NSW Police Mounted Unit, commemorating Victoria Barracks’ 100th anniversary and dining with government officials at two formal receptions.
Commissioner Scipione described himself as a “very pleased commissioner” after the special visit on the third day of the six-day tour. This is Charles’ 15th visit to Australia and their second as a couple.
The pair was also split up several times with the Duchess visiting food charity Oz Harvest’s headquarters and the Prince of Wales attending separate roundtables on leadership and post-disaster stress with Air Marshall Chief Sir Angus Houston.
The final event on the couple’s itinerary on Thursday is a dinner hosted by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove at Admiralty House.
Other special guests include former Prime Minister John Howard and his wife, Janette, domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, Dick Smith and Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne.
Charles and Camilla spend Friday relaxing in Sydney before travelling to Western Australian on Saturday where Charles also celebrates his 67th birthday.
The royal couple last visited Australia in 2012, as part of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Tour.