Grandmother’s very Aussie run-in during Queen’s funeral


One of the few everyday Australians who had the honour of farewelling the Queen at Her Majesty’s funeral has described a very Aussie run-in with another high-profile guest.

Australian Senior of the Year and grandmother of seven, Valmai Dempsey recalled what a “wonderful privilege” it was to be in London earlier this week, and how blessed she felt to be invited by the British Royal Family.

“Her Majesty has been such a role model, not only as a Queen, but as a mum, as a granny, as a person of the country, as a person who really touched my heart in so many ways,” Val told Today.

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King Charles III, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Andrew stand behind the Queen's coffin before it leaves Westminster Hall.
Val Dempsey described the privilege it was to attend the Queen’s funeral in person. (AP)

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“So to be there to personally see that moment where her casket was taken past me right there in front of my eyes, I couldn’t have been more privileged and more honoured, so deeply moved by the whole process.”

But Val did reveal that “nature called” at a very inconvenient time following the service.

“I thought ‘this is not the moment’ – we were asked to stay in our chairs until all the people had left and I looked behind me and there was a passageway and I thought, ‘You know what? I’m just going to duck out the back for a minute, she’ll be right,'” Val said.

Val Dempsey described running into the President of the USA during the Queen’s funeral. (Today)

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But once she had relieved herself Val had to try and get back to her seat without drawing too much attention to her breaking the rules.

“On my way back, just ducking in between all the people and watching my step – I’m in a broad-brimmed hat and I couldn’t look up – I was watching the uneven slate floor and the beef-eaters were coming towards me with spears,” Val told a captivated Alex and Sarah.

“They moved aside to me. I put my head down and kept going,” she said.

“Next minute boom, in front of my face, I looked up and I said, ‘Goodness, gracious me, g’day mate, how are you?,'” as she came face-to-face with the one and only President of the USA, Joe Biden.

“He just answered with, ‘I’m glad’ and in that moment I said, ‘Well excuse me’, and I stepped aside and two paced to my own chair.”

See what else Val had to say about the once in a lifetime experience above

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