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The Queen remembered: British ex-pats in the Tri-Counties talk about Queen Elizabeth II


Some say even though they have lived in the United States for decades, she was still their Queen.

It’s hard for Patricia McCarthy to talk about Queen Elizabeth II.

"She means everything, doesn't she? I mean, she's been her 70-something years," said McCarthy.

The Conejo Valley woman’s eyes fill with tears as she remembers the monarch.

"Oh, everybody respected the Queen," said McCarthy. "She stood by everybody... she did a good job."

McCarthy owns Hare and the Hounds. It’s a Thousand Oaks store which caters to expats from Great Britain with items from home like tea, and chocolate bars. She’s originally from Scotland. As a young girl, she actually got a chance to see the queen.

"When she became Queen, she came to all the schools. I was probably 12," said McCarthy. "We were all excited. Everybody got a tin off toffees. To see the Queen was really something."

McCarthy says the reality is still sinking in.

Ventura County resident Craig Walchover is originally from London. Walchover is meeting friends at his favorite British Pub in Ventura County, Crown and Anchor, to watch soccer. But, the talk is mostly about the passing of the Queen.

"She was in her 20's when she became the Queen," said Walchover. "She did great... she was a classy lady."

He admits it's strange now saying "King Charles," after having a queen all his life. But, he thinks Charles will do a good job.

Word of the queen’s death brings back memories of a slice of history from Santa Barbara County. It was nearly 40 years ago that the monarch, and her husband, Prince Philip, visited Santa Barbara County.

It was 1983 when they visited. They were the guests of then President Reagan, and First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Queen Elizabeth II with President Reagan during her 1983 visit to Santa Barbara County
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Queen Elizabeth II with President Reagan during her 1983 visit to Santa Barbara County

The royals landed at Santa Barbara Airport during a major storm. A reception was held in a hangar. Then, they rode through heavy rain in jeeps to the Reagan Ranch in the Santa Ynez Mountains, staying for a visit with the first family.

Patricia McCarthy has lived in the United States for more than four decades, and became a U.S. citizen. But, she says Queen Elizabeth II was still her queen.

"It's just so sad... you just don't know what to say about it. But, she's at peace now, isn't she?" said McCarthy.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.