There was a regal presence at Greenwich Arena yesterday but who was that woman nattering with Mark Todd at the medals ceremony?
Todd bent his tall frame as Princess Anne, an Olympic equestrienne herself, draped his fifth Olympic medal around his neck.
The pair exchanged pleasantries before the princess moved on to present silver medals to the Great Britain riders, including her own daughter.
Zara Phillips got a right royal kiss on both cheeks while cousins William, Harry, Beatrice and Eugenie watched from the front row of the Greenwich Park stands.
Phillips is now the second Olympic medallist in the family.
Her father, Captain Mark Phillips, went one better, winning teams gold at Munich in 1972.
Her husband Mike Tindall is a former world champion, a Rugby World Cup winner with England in 2003.
It's that type of environment, equestrian. A community all of its own.
Yet when competition was over and the horses safely stabled, Greenwich Mean Time became party-time.
Todd and his teammates Andrew Nicholson, Jock Paget, Caroline Powell and Jonelle Richards certainly didn't waste any time wetting their whistles.
They posed for Kiwi cameras outside the Greenwich Park gates and then rapidly repaired to the pub over the road, quaffing drinks with sponsors and supporters and reliving the tense moments of the medals-defining showjumping round.
Todd had said they'd certainly be "having a drink of some sort'' and would "take it from there''.
The 56-year-old former New Zealand sportsperson of the year was as pleased punch - not necessarily his preferred libation - at winning a medal in London - 28 years after he first ascended the top rung of an Olympic podium.
Paget was a baby back then in Northland, when Todd won the individual eventing gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
But he went partying with Todd in Greenwich in time-honoured equestrian fashion.
Eventers are renowned for their propensity to let their hair down - usually after the end of the competition.
A "weighty'' bronze medal - "a different size and colour to ones I've had in the past'' - dangled from Todd's neck as he expressed his pride at being on the podium again.
He retired for eight years after winning bronze in the individual eventing at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, but the competitive spirit still simmered below the surface.
You can't keep a champion out of the saddle. Todd was back in Beijing in 2008 and won Badminton last year.
Now, equestrian's rider of the 20th century has proved he's still a force in the new millennium.
His round of applause from 20,000 hoarse horse sport fans at Greenwich Park today almost rivalled the din around silver medallists Great Britain.
Todd's only regret was his two children, Lauren and James, weren't able to be at Greenwich Park to share the moment when he equalled the Olympic record for the longest gap between medals.
"My son had booked a Contiki tour at the beginning of the year and he hadn't reckoned on what date the Olympics were, and my daughter's in her final year of law at Auckland University. She's got big exams coming up and it would have been too much of an imposition to drag her away from that."
But Todd telephoned them both after New Zealand's medal was confirmed and they were "rapt'' for their dad.
"My nephew, who's also my godson, lives in London, he's here today, so I've got one member of my family here.''
Todd's fifth Olympic Games medal will join the other four "in a safe place'' at home. He's preparing to shift his English base to a former racing training property in Wiltshire.
The former farmer from Waikato will stay in the Olympic village for a few days to cheer on fellow Kiwis but will then return to the English eventing circuit.
"I'll stay and watch some events, but unfortunately this isn't just my sport, it's my business, so I've got more competitions to go to very soon and I've also got to move house on the eighth of August.''
But Kiwi sport's comeback king will have the last laugh on those ageist Olympic Village alickadoos who mistook him for an official not an athlete.
"Maybe if I wear this round my neck it might answer a few questions.''
- © Fairfax NZ News