Thousands flock to Circular Quay to see Prince Charles

"WELCOME to Sydney future King" was among the messages painted on one of the many banners waved above the thousands of royal watchers who lined Circular Quay to get a glimpse of Prince Charles on Friday.

Flanked by heavy security, the Prince of Wales stepped out of a limousine and waved to the cheering crowd before taking the time to shake hands with those who had managed to get to the front of the line.

Clearly in good spirits, he joked with the crowd, asking one group of women in corporate clothing "Are you all meant to be working somewhere?"

One fan called out "Happy birthday" (Charles turns 64 next Wednesday) to which he replied "You're very kind - how did you remember?"

A group of British ex-pats who had spent the hours leading up to Charles's arrival recounting their fond memories of the royal family views like it was their own, were treated to a one-on-one conversation with their future King.

Judy Hartcher was eager to show him a treasured photo she had kept of the Queen making a public appearance at Windsor Castle.

The Prince studied the photo, held by Ms Hartcher's young son and said "Oh, you were there? I'll tell her I saw the photo".

Applause and the occasional "We love you Charlie" cheer came from the crowd as he was led into the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Heavy rain hampered an afternoon trip to Bondi Beach where Premier Barry O'Farrell introduced the prince to members of the NRL Dream, Believe Achieve program.

The Duchess of Cornwall spent the morning touring the Victoria Barracks and meeting with members of the Australian Corps of Military Police before attending the Women of the World reception hosted by NSW Governor Maree Bashir.

Earlier in the morning the Royal couple met with Australian Defence Force personnel and their families at Sydney's Garden Island.

The biggest crowds were expected to line the stairs of the Opera House on Friday night where Charles and Camilla were to be guests of honour at a dinner hosted by the Governor-General.

On Saturday morning they fly to Canberra where they will visit the Australian War Memorial and lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier.

Members of the public are encouraged to arrive by 3.30pm.

Topics:  prince charles sydney

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