USC

Santa Monica pub bids adieu to Queen Elizabeth II

The British pub streamed the funeral service for patrons early Monday morning.

[One-sentence description of what this media is: "A photo of a vaccine site on USC campus" or "Gif of dancing banana". Important for accessibility/people who use screen readers.]

Instead of beer glasses, tea cups were raised at a British pub all the way across the Atlantic, in Santa Monica, California. The crowd gathered to bid adieu to the queen one last time as she was laid to rest next to her husband of 78 years.

Around 20 patrons gathered at Ye Olde King’s Head on Monday morning to watch Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. The pub was dim and the mood subdued as the mourners dined on a breakfast of beans and toast. Clad in black clothes and sipping black tea, the typically rowdy crowd reflected on the queen’s legacy.

For them, the closest thing to attending the ceremony was congregating at the pub. In front, the owners constructed an altar and dressed it in red roses.

Gregg Donovan, an actor who has been coming to Ye Olde King’s Head since its opening in 1978, felt a responsibility to show up.

“I saw British tourists crying on the streets. I had to come and pay my respects,” Donovan said.

Lisa Powers, 46, the pub’s operations manager for 20 years, praised the queen and how she still brings people together.

“She gave her life serving others,” Powers said. “She’s a good example of what we should all be doing to be selfless, to, you know, come together. She’s uniting people.”

Two blocks away from the pub however, other Santa Monica locals didn’t share the same sentiment.

Brandyn Phillips, 33, who works as a safety ambassador on the Santa Monica Promenade feels differently about the queen’s legacy.

“I don’t know why she’s so important other than the fact that she’s the queen,” Phillips said. “She had a whole life track record of being a specific type of person to people of color. So I take offense to that 100%.”

Phillips criticized the media’s focus on the queen, calling it an overreaction. “They’re doing it because they’re bored,” he said.

Noora Malik, a Pakistani American USC senior, said the queen didn’t do enough to atone for Britain’s legacy of colonialism and exploitation of Pakistan’s resources. Pakistan gained independence from Britain in 1947 and is still a member of the British Commonwealth nations.

“She could have returned the jewels to our country, but she didn’t,” Malik said, referring to Koh-i-Noor, or the mountain of light, a crown jewel illegally taken from Pakistan by Great Britain in 1849.

Powers, the pub’s manager, acknowledged we are living in an ever changing world and that the queen was good at adapting to change.

“You know, we are all human beings and we’re living in a world, learning as we go,” Powers said. “Nobody is perfect.”