Gail Hartley was brought up to think everyone was equal and so when she met Prince Philip at Dubbo she didn't curtsy.
Instead she offered a friendly greeting - and found a royal ready to chat.
"I said 'Hello, mate' to him, and he stopped, talking to me for ages," Ms Hartley said.
Fond memories of an approachable royal flooded back to her ahead of Prince Philip's funeral on Saturday.
The Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, died on April 9, two months before his 100th birthday and shortly after a month-long stay in hospital.
During his long life of service he visited Australia more than 20 times and his willingness to meet and connect with people was evident in 1973 at Dubbo.
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, the youth development program Prince Philip established, brought him to town.
Ms Hartley was a Dubbo High School student and "over the moon" when together with friends and teacher Miss White she was able to go to the Civic Centre to display the pottery that was their skill for the award.
The royal guest dropped by, and made an impression.
"...he was just like speaking to an everyday person," Ms Hartley said.
The duke asked about the pottery, and whether they enjoyed doing the award, Ms Hartley recalled.
He also asked her about farming, and having grown up on the land she was able to talk readily about the subject, she said.
While she was doing so, her friend was "in shock" but Ms Hartley took the encounter in her stride.
...he was just so down to earth, it was just like talking to one of the family members.Dubbo woman Gail Hartley
"We were brought up that everyone was equal, you could talk to everyone," she said.
"He was such a lovely person, like you'd think people like that would be a bit snobby, but he wasn't, he was just so down to earth, it was just like talking to one of the family members.
"I still today, remember people saying 'how could you talk to the duke', and I said 'my dad brought us up that everyone was equal, we all come from the same place and we all leave the same way, and there's no difference'."
The now grandmother's brush with royalty surprised her grandchildren who doubted the story until they saw her photos of the day.
"They go, 'Nan, don't lie, and when I show them they say 'Oh Nan!'," she said.
Ms Hartley remains enthusiastic about her time participating in the award, with the community service aspect one of her highlights.
It involved going to Dubbo Base Hospital for two hours, two days a week and assisting under the direction of Matron Ray, she said.
"...the excitement of going and doing something after school, I think, instead of just mundane things," she said.
"You had a purpose, you had to go and do it, you were helping someone."
The duke's death left Ms Hartley sad and "quite shocked".
"I thought, 'No, he couldn't' have died, I've met him'," she said.
"Very sad, because he was a lovely person."
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