THOUSANDS of staunch monarchists (and a few sticky-beaking republicans) piled into Sydney's Martin Place to catch a glimpse of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The royal duo spent the morning at the Redfern mounted police unit before heading to the city centre for their only meet-and-greet with the NSW capital's public.

One hand waving a miniature Australian flag, the other clutching an iPhone in hopes of catching a lucky snap of the couple, the adoring crowd roared in applause as they exited, fittingly, the Commonwealth Bank headquarters to press the flesh.

The Duchess's namesake, Camilla from Germany, spoke somewhat out of line when asked if she was a monarchist.

"Not really. I'm a democratic person, you know. But it's alright, it's great," she said.

She was ultimately forgiven after a quick lecture on the finer points of the Australian political system.


Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of York visit Martin Place in Sydney. Photo Chris Calcino
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of York visit Martin Place in Sydney. Photo Chris Calcino Chris Calcino

Her new friends, all members of the Australian Monarchist League, quickly put things right and explained Australia was a democratic monarchy - and that is how they wanted it to stay.

"We're just on a committee trying to remind people of their traditions," one said.

"They must keep Australia a constitutional democracy. We do not want a republic.

"We want to keep what we treasure in this country.

"It's our tradition and heritage."

A query about her feelings towards Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was met with a "no comment" and a quick about-turn.

"He's on his best behaviour and he's doing a good job so far," a friend chimed in.

"But I hope the republican thing doesn't occur."

Charles and Camilla are due to spend tonight at a dinner hosted by Governor General Peter Cosgrove.

They will spend tomorrow relaxing in Sydney before flying to Western Australia on Saturday.


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