LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One Louisville resident is opening up about his special memories with Queen Elizabeth II.

In addition to living in Louisville, Matthew Barzun is also the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Sweden. That brought him into some royal circles — and he says Queen Elizabeth was larger than life.

Barzun remembers her words in the wake of Sept. 11. In the days that followed, she said, poignantly, "Grief is the price we pay for love."

That grief the Queen spoke of after 9/11 is coincidentally appearing again, on the week of the 9/11 anniversary, following her death.

"I think that quotation of hers actually served us quite well today,” Barzun said.

Barzun says he loved that statement and he continues to cherish his memories of the queen. Of many interactions with Her Majesty, he says one remains in his memory as the most representative of the person she was.

It was his first introduction in 2013 at the Presentation of Credentials.

"As an American, it's all kind of strange," he said. "You put on a morning coat and a top hat and you get taken to Buckingham Palace in a horse drawn carriage. Surreal. Wonderful, but surreal. One can feel a little bit silly and out of place."

But the Queen made Barzun feel at home across the pond.

The two spoke candidly about family and work, and even about her world-wide fame, with people always watching — most of the time behind the screen of a phone to take pictures.

"She had a white glove on and she held her hand like this, above her face," he said. "She said, 'They pick up their phones and they never take them down, and you know what? I miss seeing their eyes. I miss seeing their eyes.'"

Barzun believed the Queen wanted to connect with the people of Britain, and as we mourn her death, she's remembered for the example she lived.

"She stood for these old values of dignity and decency and duty to country and to the world we share," he said. "Sometimes over these 70 years it seemed like she was the only one sticking up for those."

Barzun said he also spent time with now-King Charles here in Louisville. He described him as wise and a great listener.

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