the last time I saw the pope “live” was Sept. 12, 2001(!). He could barely walk, so they drove his Mercedes limo up the steps and helped him walk to the seat on the porch of St. Peters. It was the weekly audience, every Wednesday. The front half of the great circle was blocked off and filled with folding chairs. (You get tickets for these from the various churches, we arranged ours by emailing the english parish in Rome).
We were about halfway back, so maybe 100 feet to 150 feet from JPII.
He weakly read a few bits of his speech in various languages, interspersed with various priests repeating the messages in translation. Then he blessed a statue for the Carmelite order, and a series of couples about to be (or recently?) married. (We recognized one couple from their photo shoot at the Trevi Fountain two days before, same tux and bridal gown)
When he was done, he was assisted to his car, an open-backed Mercedes limo, and drove down the stairs, down the center lane of the square/circle waving to the crowd - off to the castle in the hills, IIRC. I walked over toward the center, stood on a chair, and I have a photo from maybe 20 feet away as he went by.
Of course, I also have a picture of the Queen taken from about 30 feet away when she opened an exhibit in the Portrait gallery in London. She was walking back to the car from the entrance with her hubby and a very old Harold Wilson. Only the USA seems to make the random public keep a block or two away from the big shots…