Not bowing, jumping … Prince Charles watches sheep being mustered into shearing sheds at Leenavale Sheep Stud in Sorell, north-east of Hobart. Photo: Getty Images
A BEER in a country pub, a spot of sheep shearing - without the requirement to actually wield the blades - and a long ramble among throngs of well-wishers in a Tasmanian village …
If the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall had been searching a trifle anxiously for confirmation they were welcome in Australia, they could hardly have had a more agreeable afternoon.
The residents and officials of the village of Richmond, established in 1824 and famed for its convict-built stone bridge, had spent days mowing the lawns, trimming the trees and licking the old sandstone and brick buildings into shape.
Royals in Tassie
Prince Charles observes sheep being mustered into shearing shed yards at Leenavale Sheep Stud in Sorell. Photo: Getty Images
Prince Charles and the duchess, who had found themselves the previous day largely isolated from crowds in Melbourne's tightly controlled program of events, reciprocated by shaking hands and chatting with hundreds of those who crowded Richmond's main street.
The prince's spirits were cheered by a brief side-trip to the Richmond Arms at the start of the street walk. Publican Clay Ackroyd pulled the prince a pot of Cascade Draught, a favoured drop in southern Tasmania.
''He drank most of it and obviously enjoyed it,'' said Mr Ackroyd, who had been a trifle astounded when Tasmanian government officials rang and asked whether he'd mind if the prince and the duchess dropped by.
Cheers ... Charles in the Richmond Arms. Photo: AP
''Well, I said, none would be more welcome.'' The duchess, Mr Ackroyd reported, had settled for a glass of water garnished with a slice of lemon. Down the street, Irene Brown from nearby Lauderdale hoisted the front page of a Sydney newspaper from January, 1994, featuring a photograph of a younger Prince Charles and her with a sign declaring ''Charlie is my darling''.
A hundred metres further on, Andrew Park, of Richmond, held a hand-printed sign out for the duchess. ''Charlie IS HER darling,'' it read.
''I just thought, after all the stuff about her and Charles and Diana, it would make the duchess feel better,'' said Mr Park. ''The past is the past.'' The duchess smiled.
Apart from the beer and the glad-handing, the royal visit to Tasmania was all about two of the island state's most famed attributes: fine wool and fresh produce.
Indeed, so keen were organisers to emphasise the prince's connection with fine wool, a note was sent to the media detailing his choice of suit for the day. It was a first - such notes normally concern the fashion chosen by the duchess.
''Today the prince is wearing a suit made of Australian wool (tailored by Anderson & Sheppard),'' the memo offered.
''The cloth has been supplied by Holland & Sherry and is made of Australian fine merino worsted. This is an extremely rare quality of Australian merino wool fibre and has been spun into one of the finest yarn counts available. It produces the finest micro count of fibre in the world.''
The point of all this, it turned out, was that Prince Charles is something of a hero among fine wool farmers. In 2008 he established the international Campaign for Wool to confront the falling demand for wool and the consequent plummet in price.
He remains the campaign's patron, and after visiting Richmond, he set off for the Leenavale sheep stud at Sorell to meet grateful farmers and to watch a spot of sheep shearing.