KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The nation has been mourning Queen Elizabeth II’s death, but a Knoxville couple has something from the queen that will live on forever.

“They came to the door and said this is from Buckingham Palace and so that was kind of special to us,” Knoxville resident Gene Rickels said.
That special moment dates back to 2014. It was a letter from Queen Elizabeth II congratulating Gene and his wife, Pam Rickels, on their 60th wedding anniversary after the two met in England now 70 years ago.

“It’s just something that nobody has here,” Pam said.

A few years later, Gene wrote to the queen himself.

“I told her all about the occasions that we were in England, and ever since her coronation, we were there,” he said.

It was a message that was well received.

“She liked our letter, and then the next letter I got was from her from Windsor Castle,” Gene said. “It was given to her lady in waiting. She’s the one who does all the letter writing for the queen, and she wrote to us. That’s the second letter I got.”

It’s all of the keepsakes that for the Rickels’ will keep Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy alive.

“We’ve always admired the queen,” Pam said.

“It’s the same as if you were in touch with one of the presidents, you really feel that close, because you’ve seen them or you’ve talked to them or you’ve written letters or something, so it’s that type of feeling that you have,” Gene said.

The Queen’s funeral will be on Monday with the ceremony beginning at 5 a.m. (ET)