"She's always the Queen. The words might change in the national anthem and all that, but we still remember her as the Queen."
Mourner Colin Worrad summed up the feeling of the 250 or so Tamworth residents who had gathered on Thursday's National Day of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth ll.
Organised by president of the Tamworth ministers' fraternal James Ardill, the ceremony at the Tamworth Town Hall brought back 70 years of memories of the British Empire's longest reigning monarch.
The entire country was granted a public holiday to commemorate the occasion.
Many reminisced to the Leader about their experiences meeting the Queen on her only visit to Tamworth, in 1977.
Jane Prior was a student at Peel High School that year.
Each school in town sent 10 per cent of their cohort to meet the monarch at Tamworth High School, but Peel was then so small they sent just 24 students.
"She said, 'Gee, you must have the smallest school in town; what school is that?' And we said Peel High School, Your Majesty. 'How many students go to your school?' 140 students."
Mrs Prior described the Queen as "very vibrant. Very, very colourful. Very energetic".
Even after meeting millions or more, Queen Elizabeth ll showed each person respect.
"She looks fair into people's faces. And she's genuinely interested in people and meeting each person's like the first person she's ever met."
Minister Ardill told the commemoration service she had served with "unparalleled dignity".
Di Scofield saw her no fewer than three times; twice in Australia, once of them as a 4-year-old in Dubbo.
Husband Kerry, said even for the new Tamworth family with a heavily pregnant wife, the Queen's visit simply wasn't something they were going to miss.
They attended the Thursday service to show respect to a "magnificent person", he said.
"I think she was remarkable because there was members of her own family that let her down, that she never ever let us down," Di said.
The service had a fairly solemn feel - with the popular funeral song Nimrod from Edward Elgar's Engima Variations, played three times - but all speakers emphasised their gratitude at her service.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson paid tribute to the monarch's "dignity, distinction and compassion".
"She could meet with the most ardent of Republicans and charm them," he said.
Tamworth mayor Russell Webb saw the Queen in 1977, at age 23.
"There are so many people in this local community who probably did not see themselves as royalist, but who are now remembering the Queen, for what she stood for, and the work that she did," he said.
"I don't think I've spoken to anyone that was not sad about her passing."
Federal representative Barnaby Joyce was an apology.
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