DENVER (KDVR) – Colorado has one of the highest percentages of expats from the United Kingdom in the U.S., with their population being twice that of the entire United States. Thousands of them were shocked by Queen Elizabeth II’s death Thursday.
“I was just absolutely floored,” said Lindsey Grogan, who was born in England and has been in Denver for 37 years. “We thought she’d live forever. I’m very sad. I wish I was in England at the moment. It’s devastating. We all knew this day would come, we just weren’t prepared for it.
“She’s been the queen my whole life. I remember her at the Jubilee in 1977 and with my grandparents, the big street parties. I was at the unveiling of Winston Churchill’s statue and when I was 6 and I was on my grandfather’s shoulders, I saw the queen.
“She had a great life. She’s with Prince Philip now. We have to take pause and realize it’s the end of an era. My whole family’s upset and my friends in England are texting. I’m bombarded by texts. We’re all getting our British flags out, same as we did when Princess Diana died.”
Grogan, of Centennial, pointed out the queen worked until only a couple of days ago.
“I have huge admiration for her. We’ll never see the likes of her again,” she said.
More than 15,000 Coloradans were born in the U.K., according to the census. About 2.8% of Colorado’s foreign-born residents are from the U.K., as opposed to 1.5% of the U.S.’s foreign-born.
Sandra Shayler, of Highlands Ranch, also attested to a large British community in Denver.
“It’s like losing your favorite auntie,” Shayler said. “She was an amazing lady. Anyone who would do that job til they’re 96 years old is a strong person. After 70 years on the throne, it’s certainly going to be a change for Britain.
“I’m sure she’s got a huge following.”
Shayler and several British women locally will be having a tea tomorrow in remembrance of the queen.
“There will be many many weeks and months of mourning,” she said. “I don’t know how Prince Charles is going to fair. He’s not as popular with the people.”
Others were also uncertain as to the future in England.
“Although I’m saddened to hear the Queen has passed, in itself that fact doesn’t really affect me or my family at all,” said Gin Walker, a local actress and freelance copy editor. “I think it will trigger changes in the structure of the monarchy in the UK — in general, I think people supported the queen as an individual, but there has been increasing dissatisfaction with the behavior of the royals more broadly, and the dated, inflexible structure of the crown. (Prince) Charles isn’t universally popular, so his becoming king now is likely to meet a mixed reception.
“William is more popular, and Kate, and there have been suggestions of the crown being passed directly to him, and skipping Charles, but there’s no precedent for that I think in the ‘rules’ so I don’t think it’s likely,” Walker said.