LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — The lengthy summertime rain makes for a dreary Thursday evening at London Pride, the local British shop in Largo. It’s a reminder of home for many of the patrons—former Brits, British tourists, or Floridians—stopping by in a show of support on this equally dreary day for the United Kingdom.
“Deep, deep sadness,” said Mary Duhme. “Not that we didn’t expect it but — just total sadness.”
The death of Queen Elizabeth II is another reminder for the Redington Beach resident of her love of England and its people. Duhme lived in an English village for five years. It’s where she gave birth to her daughter, Robin Elizabeth, named after the queen in her Silver Jubilee year, 1977.
“Oh my God. This is the passing of an era,” Duhme said. “I watched her coronation in 1953.”
Duhme remembers how spectacular the event was — also how lucky she was to find a family with a TV to watch. Duhme and her friend Carol Feller planned on going to London Pride Thursday even before they found out about the queen’s passing. The storefront is a one-stop shop for all things Britain, including Queen Elizabeth.
“It really touched me,” said Feller. “The queen’s everybody’s grandma in England. You know, I remember times in England where I saw her in my hometown on Queen’s Avenue. She went through and I was waving my little British flag.”
Feller’s a regular shopper—sausage rolls and candy are her favorites.
“It’s a sad day for England,” Feller lamented. “We were blessed with 70 years of the most wonderful monarch we could ever have had.”
The owner of London Pride, Carole Lannon, bought the shop in 2017.
“It’s all of the things we miss the most from home,” Lannon explained.
Lannon lived in England until her 30s. When she moved to Germany, her daughter would only eat food from the British shop in Munich. From then on, Lannon always had the dream of owning her own place.
“I’ve got so many regular customers I’ve got to know. There’s a huge British population in this area. And people drive all the way from — I’ve got some customers now from the other side of Florida still drive back here.”
That support system showed up today, all feeling like they lost a family member.
“Today is a small taste of how I felt when I lost my parents, my grandparents,” Lannon told 8 On Your Side. “It’s just like an extended family member is not there. It’s just different.”
Queen Elizabeth is the only monarch Lannon has ever known. Now, it’s King Charles III, and ‘God Save the King.’