Expats in California honour the Queen in true British style – at the pub

·3-min read

More than 5,000 miles away from home, expats and Americans alike came together in California to honour the Queen in true British-style – at the pub.

At Ye Olde Kings Head, in Santa Monica, a shrine dedicated to the monarch featuring candles, roses and pictures was placed outside.

Passers-by stopped to take pictures and conversations between strangers invariably turned to the Queen, her long and historic reign and legacy.

At Ye Olde Kings Head, in Santa Monica, a shrine dedicated to the monarch, featuring candles, roses and pictures was placed outside (Mike Bedigan/PA)
At Ye Olde Kings Head, in Santa Monica, a shrine dedicated to the monarch, featuring candles, roses and pictures was placed outside (Mike Bedigan/PA)

Among those parked up at the pub were young British actresses Tatiana Ashborn and Lydia Williams, who ordered cups of tea and full English breakfasts to mark the occasion.

The pair, who recently moved state-side, described the news as “a big British moment for British people” and said that hearing it while being in America had made them feel “homesick”.

Ms Ashborn, 19, said receiving news of the monarch’s death had been “devastating”.

“This morning, as British people we woke up with a massive hangover in bed and we heard the news and were getting messages constantly that the Queen had passed away which is devastating,” she told the PA news agency.

“We both cried, we were both so sad.”

California Britain Queen
Passers-by stopped to take pictures and conversations between strangers invariably turned to the Queen and her long reign (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Ms Williams, 24, added: “It’s a strange feeling being away from home because it’s such a big British moment for British people to feel together. I feel kind of homesick.

“It’s odd and we knew it was coming sadly, but… it’s strange, change is coming for the UK, and it’s exciting for the UK but it would be nice to be at home.”

Ms Ashborn added: “That’s why we came to a British pub and had English breakfasts.”

She continued: “It’s a big thing because even though we didn’t personally know her, it’s the whole idea that she did a lot for our country… and the fact that she is still a grandma to people.

California Britain Queen
Gregg Donovan, a US actor and self-styled Hollywood ambassador, said he had seen British tourists ‘crying on the streets’ of Los Angeles following the news (Jae C. Hong)

“She’s a mum to people, and I think sometimes people just forget that.”

Fellow British expats Sophie Weguelin and Fiona Fan, who both live in the Netherlands, praised the Queen as a “strong woman” deserving of admiration.

“It was quite emotional this morning, more emotional than we thought it was going to be,” Ms Weguelin told PA.

“As a female as well, she was such a strong woman and somebody we really look up to (even though) we’re not royalists… but the Queen is somebody you set apart.”

Ms Fan added: “She’s really empowering and it’s really important. She is amazing and considered a legend.”

It was not just British patrons who lamented the loss of the monarch.

Gregg Donovan, a US actor and self-styled Hollywood ambassador, said he had seen British tourists “crying on the streets” of Los Angeles, and praised the Queen as a “kind and gracious” woman.

Platinum Jubilee
Ye Olde King’s Head previously hosted a full programme events to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee weekend, which included bunting, afternoon tea and a Queen Elizabeth impersonator (Lisa Powers/PA)

“It’s a sad day around the world,” said Mr Donovan, 62, who has previously met the monarch.

“America loves the Queen … and where I work in Hollywood people were shocked, the British tourists were crying on the streets.

Mr Donovan said that King Charles III is “a great and modern monarch” who will do “an excellent and wonderful job”.

He added that he intended to spend the rest of the day outside the pub, “like the Queen’s guards” to pay his respects.

Ye Olde King’s Head previously hosted a full programme events to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee weekend, which included bunting, afternoon tea and a Queen Elizabeth impersonator.