ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – King Charles III addressed the world in a recorded speech Thursday following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
News4JAX and multiple people, including some who are originally from England and now live in the area, were at Kings Head British Pub off U.S. 1 near St. Augustine during the speech.
People on this side of the pond were reacting to the death Thursday of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch at age 96 with grief and reflection on her legacy. Royal watchers at the pub remembered her sense of duty, her commitment to her role and the stability she represented for many of her subjects through 70 years on the throne.
“It kind of broke my heart. I shed a few tears. She was the grandmother of England, and the only queen I’ve known,” said Andrea Giovanni, who lives in St. Augustine but is originally from Surrey. “I think she held England together through all the turbulence and crisis.”
But it’s not just Brits who are mourning the loss and reflecting on the monarchy’s future.
“I was saddened. I really was,” said Richard Balog, of St. Augustine. “She was a great lady.”
Kings Head British Pub brings a little bit of England to Northeast Florida. Outside the pub, the Union Jack was at half-staff. Inside, there were reminders of the queen everywhere. It’s packed with memorabilia and dishes up British classics like bangers and mash and fish and chips, making it the perfect spot for locals to reflect on the legacy of Elizabeth.
“It just makes us feel connected,” Giovanni said. “And, you know, I consider England still as my home, even though I’ve been here for so long.”
Charles, who became king on Thursday after the queen’s death, said in his first address as monarch that he feels “profound sorrow” over the death of his mother and is vowing to carry on her “lifelong service” to the nation.
“That promise of lifelong service I renew to all today,” he said, delivering the address with a framed photo of the queen on a desk.
People at the St. Johns County pub watched in silence as the new king addressed the world for the first time as king as a new era for the monarchy begins.
“I don’t know that much about him. I’m not a big royal watcher, but from what I’m seeing and what I’ve heard, I think he’s an individual that knows his mind,” Balog said. “And I think he has the will and the strength to carry on that responsibility.”
Adrian Shepherd, of St. Augustine, said he thinks the new king is ready to take on his new responsibility.
“I think it’s his time. You know he’s prepared for this all his life,” Shepherd said. “And I think he’ll step into the role with great grace, skill and aplomb.”
Buckingham Palace has declared a period of mourning until seven days after the queen’s funeral for members of the royal family and their staff. That is the wish of the new king, according to the royal family’s website.
The pub plans to close on the day of the queen’s funeral.