Two paces behind.
For 69 years, His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on official engagements of his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, followed royal protocol.
The late Prince Philip, however, was not lagging behind when it came to being actively interested in whatever the royal engagement was. This was evident during Queen and Duke's first tour of New Zealand during 1953/54 and their 1963 tour.
Hawke's Bay eagerly awaited the royal couple for their arrival on January 6, 1954 in Napier and then on to Hastings the next day.
In 1963 the royal yacht Britannia berthed at Napier Port for a brief tour of Napier and Hastings.
What was evident in Hawke's Bay was Prince Philip's interest in young people and his ability to make humorous, spontaneous remarks. This was referred to as his "royal wisecracks."
At the welcome at McLean Park, Napier on January 6, 1954, the Duke sat between the mayor, ER Spriggs and his wife. The Duke was seen to be engaging happily with Mrs Spriggs during the haka, which he appeared to enjoy.
In Hamilton, the Queen had seen a shearing display by champion shearers Godfrey and Ivan Bowen. The Duke did not attend that event as he was in Wellington, so wanting him to see it, she requested that the two brothers repeat the performance at McLean Park, Napier.
Queen Elizabeth was correct to have asked them as Prince Philip: "…descended from the dais to congratulate the two shearers and to inspect at closer quarters the result of the demonstration. He was most curious to ask Godfrey why the sheep were not even slightly cut by the sharp shears when shorn at such pace."
The Duke also asked Godfrey the difference between using the blade shears and the more modern type.
At the welcome, when meeting 74 elected representatives from councils in Hawke's Bay, the Duke was said to have acknowledged them with" a natural charm and grace that appeared effortless".
While the Queen gripped each extended hand firmly, the Duke "took the opportunity to chat in his engaging fashion".
His ability to speak publicly was noted in Rotorua, when his reading of scripture was complimented by clergymen when he "injected a wealth of vitality and meaning into familiar words".
Another commented: "The Duke's voice is not powerful or wide in range, but he uses it with admirable intelligence, taste and skill. It is not merely that he understands breathing, phrasing and emphasis. He has an obvious feeling for prose and rhythm and for the meaning of what he reads."
If the Duke's public speaking impressed New Zealanders, his warmth towards them during what must have seemed to the royal couple like endless public engagements won them over.
During the January 7, 1954 Hastings visit, the royal couple would visit J Wattie Canneries and be escorted by founder James Wattie. Wattie's was 20 years old then and had achieved spectacular growth in that time.
While the Queen asked questions about Wattie's as she moved around the factory, she did not engage with any of the workers. Not so the Duke.
Following two or so paces behind was the Duke with his escort, the founder's son Gordon Wattie.
The Duke had not long been in the factory when he stopped at the point where 11oz (312g) cans were being fed with peas. He jokingly remarked to Miss Shirley Epplett and Mrs E List they did not have much to do as all they did was watch the machinery fill the cans.
Miss Epplett remarked afterwards, "I think he is a charming person."
Mr W Williams, an original employee of Wattie's, was the next person to whom the Duke spoke, at a 22oz (624g) can filler station. He said the Duke was highly interested to know the cans went past at 9000 per hour.
When the Duke mentioned he had not been shown the quick-freeze part of the factory, Gordon Wattie showed him this section. James Wattie, who after the event gave an account of the royal visit to his factory, said he was then left behind with the Queen, however he said he was quickly put at ease by her, and when the Duke returned, they all went for morning tea.
The royal train had parked at a siding at Wattie's and when it departed a crowd of thousands lined the railway to see it leave. The crowd yelled "slow down" to try and convince the engine drivers to give them a decent look at the royal couple, who were standing at their carriage platform.
As the train sped up, the Duke and Queen decided to retire inside the carriage. Just as the Queen was entering the carriage, the train came to a sudden stop and Her Majesty was jolted slightly forward. The Duke quickly stepped forward and steadied her with a firm handclasp, and the pair then stood together on the carriage platform.
The train had made a formal stop at the station off St Aubyn St – and those among the crowd who could see them let out an appreciative cheer. Recovering their composure, the royal couple treated the crowd "to their renowned smiles" during the 30-second stop.
On the 1963 tour, which took in Napier and Hastings in one day, the Duke did a double-take and then grinned when the royal procession was travelling near Havelock North – a person had fixed a white ensign to a polo mallet and the Duke (an avid polo player) grinned appreciatively as he leaned back for a second look.
A stop was made at Hastings Boys' High School where 36 prefects of Hawke's Bay schools were presented to the Queen and Duke.
Ewan McGregor, head prefect at Napier Boys' High, was given the task of serving the tea to the royal couple. He later reflected that he had done this without spilling a drop "but gee, was that silver service heavy".
Some of the pupils were so nervous the spread of food was hardly touched – the Queen remarked that within 10 minutes of her leaving it would soon disappear!
The Duke soon departed his cup of tea and engaged in conversation with the young students. He talked farming with Ewan McGregor, and sport with John Bromley and Shona Post of Gisborne.
When he spoke to Marilyn Lean of Karamu, he asked about secondary school teacher shortages in New Zealand.
Norman Collinson and Judith Hirtzel of Colenso were asked by the Duke whether they had any desire to travel. They replied to him that it would be necessary to get a job first to afford to travel.
The Duke replied: "You don't need that much. The ideal way to travel is to just go – get a job when you get there- and then move on."
Judith replied to the Duke that things have tightened abroad and there weren't that many jobs.
"Oh no!" said the Duke. "Just tell them you are a Kiwi and you'll get a job anywhere."
• Michael Fowler (email@example.com) is a contract researcher and commercial business writer of Hawke's Bay history. Follow him on facebook.com/michaelfowlerhistory