BILLINGS - Those with ties to the United Kingdom — including some from Billings — are mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
For many Queen Elizabeth II, with her 70-year reign, is the only monarch they've ever known. She died at the age of 96 on Thursday, having worn the crown since way back in 1953.
She steered the monarchy through decades of social change while remaining a symbol of national stability in a shifting world as well as a beloved figure.
"My mom was the first one that popped up in our family group chats," said Rocky Mountain College student-athlete Ethan McGuire. "And no way, the Queen's just passed."
McGuire — who is a sophomore and plays on the men's soccer team — is from Bolton, England.
"She's just like the kind of person that was the head of everyone and everyone looked up to her," McGuire said. "Buckingham Palace, like where she lives, just the biggest place, if you go to London."
Bradley Lowes lives in Hexham, England.
"It's a very surreal kind of historic monumental moment for us Brits," said Lowes, a former MSU Billings student-athlete who recently moved back after graduating this past spring.
For two years Lowe's called Billings home, attending college at MSU Billings, and playing on the men's soccer team.
"It's a pretty sad day for Britain," Lowes said. "Obviously we're saying goodbye to the longest reigning monarch in British history. Has been a great servant to our country. Regardless of politics, she's kind of stood the test of time and always dealt with issues and whatnot with a great amount of grace."
Lowes and McGuire say the entire country feels the loss. Public displays have popped up in small towns and cities across the country.
They say the death has been more difficult for some of the older British citizens.
"My parents are more in shock actually," Lowes said. "I think they feel it a lot more because again, they're of the age. They've known nothing but the Queen, setting the example for all of us and serving our country."
"My grandparents have taken it quite hard because it's been like some of them were there when she was very first appointed," McGuire said. "And now they've been there all the way to the end, which was a big thing for them.
And now they wait for Prince Charles, the queen's son, to become king.
"It's gonna be different having a king instead of queen," McGuire said.
"God save the king," Lowes said.