As he ducked out of the welcome party and into his waiting motorcade, Prince Charles stopped briefly to greet the small crowd gathered at Government House on Tuesday evening.
"You're very brave for standing here," Charles said to cheers.
About 25 people huddled in the damp waiting to catch a glimpse of the Prince of Wales and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, before and after the first official engagement of their day-long stop in Winnipeg.
Several live in nearby highrises and popped over hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.
Two young women on their way to dinner hoped to snap a photo for a royal-watcher friend in Colorado. But Riley Krahn and his mother, Donna-Jean, came early to get a good spot behind the rope, hoping Charles would do just what he did and pause for a few words.
The mother-son duo are taking the day off work and school to follow the royals around today, much like they did when Queen Elizabeth came in 2010.
"I was this close to shaking her hand," said Riley, 15.
Also at the legislature to see the couple was dedicated royal-watcher D.J. Bonneville, who also plans to come back for the more formal walkabout this evening.
"I have the binocs," she declared. "I'm ready."
Today will bring similarly grey weather but more stops all over town, as the couple visit, together and separately, Assiniboine Park Zoo to feed Hudson the polar bear, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, a downtown innovation hub and Red River College, among nearly a dozen locations.
"I hope they have their Dr. Scholl's on and that they have a good breakfast," said Bonneville.
The final stop will be the best place for the public to see Charles and Camilla -- the walkabout at the Manitoba legislature in the evening, where Charles is expected to speak.
The couple landed a few minutes early at 17 Wing and were greeted by a row of local politicians such as Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, Premier Greg Selinger, Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee and Mayor Sam Katz, all trailed by a gaggle of reporters, military personnel, security and handlers.
It was a windy and drizzly arrival, and Camilla struggled with her umbrella.
There wasn't much time in the handshake line to chat, but Katz said he expects the couple to be much like the Queen and Prince Philip, who visited several years ago amid huge crowds.
"They were lovely, chatting about the city," said Katz.
Among those who watched the arrival up close were the Batenchuks, whose son Barret was a member of the honour guard that marched to greet the royal couple as they deplaned.
"I've been hyped for this for the last week," said Donald Batenchuk. "We're very proud."
The couple was a little too far from the gangway to tell which soldier was their corporal son, but they hoped to get the scoop on his experience later that night.
Today's itinerary (selected)
10:20 a.m. Charles and Camilla arrive at the Stevenson Hangar at Red River College at 2280 Saskatchewan Ave. to meet young people at an Aerospace and Aviation in Manitoba Day event and tour. Charles will also speak.
11:35 a.m. Charles and Camilla tour the Winnie the Pooh Gallery at the Pavilion Gallery Museum at Assiniboine Park. They are to meet with children and learn about Pooh's connection to Winnipeg.
12 p.m. Charles visits the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at the new Journey to Churchill exhibition at the Assiniboine Park Zoo to meet Hudson the polar bear and participate in "positive-reinforcement training," which involves feeding the resident bears. He will meet with children and unveil a plaque.
12:15 p.m. Camilla visits the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, where she will learn about the RWB's 75-year history and view demonstrations of the RWB's Outreach and ExplorAbility programs, as well as a pas de deux by students.
12:55 p.m. Charles and Camilla visit Place Bernadette Poirier, 210 Kenny St., to mark the opening of the facility. The $8.9-million apartment complex has half of its 28 units reserved for people with mental-health issues.
1:45 p.m. Charles arrives at Innovation Alley, along Adelaide Street from McDermot Avenue to William Avenue in the Exchange District, to meet local entrepreneurs.
4 p.m. Charles meets with His Royal Highness's Regiments, the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and the Air Reserve of Canada at the Fairmont Hotel.
4:30 p.m. Charles presents long-service medals to RCMP members at the Fairmont Hotel.
6:05 p.m. Camilla meets with representatives of the Queen's Own Rifles Regiment at the Fairmont Winnipeg hotel.
7 p.m. Charles and Camilla take part in an Order of Manitoba investiture at the Manitoba legislature. Charles is to speak.
7:55 p.m. Official farewell ceremony, with full military honours, a 21-gun salute and an inspection of the Guard of Honour at the front of the legislative building. Charles and Camilla will also do a walk-about on the east front sidewalk before they depart.
8:40 p.m. Charles and Camilla visit a 1928 Fokker Super Universal, a heritage aircraft recently restored by the Western Canada Aviation Museum, on the tarmac of Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg.
8:55 p.m. Charles and Camilla leave CFB Winnipeg for England.