Minnesotans say goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II has been a symbol of her country, a job she took very seriously, for the last 70 years.

On Thursday, people all over the world, including here in Minnesota, are mourning the loss of Britain's longest-reigning monarch.

The mood was somber at Brit's Pub in downtown Minneapolis, as Minnesotans said goodbye to an icon.

"So even when times are bad and everything, the queen’s always been there, and we're talking like very single generation I've ever known," said customer Rob Church, who served in the British Army.

Customers, some with British ties, listened to bagpipes played in the queen’s honor and watched BBC coverage from thousands of miles away.

"Probably most people have never known another monarch, so it's a big, big deal," said Susie Steinbach, a professor of history from Hamline University.

Steinbach is a local historian of women in Britain, including queens. She said love for the 70-year ruler runs deep, not only in England but in the United States, as well.

Queen Elizabeth II waves during a walk about around Windsor on her 90th Birthday on April 21, 2016 in Windsor, England. (Getty Images)

"That's why we love Bridgerton so much, that's why we love Downton Abbey so much. The queen fulfills and speaks to a lot of those fantasies: just what we think Britain ought to be," Steinbach said.

For decades, people have felt connected to Queen Elizabeth, a mother and a philanthropist who had a strong sense of duty and did not share her personal views.

"She has done an exceptional job at a very odd job," Steinbach said.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz expressed his condolences on Twitter Thursday, writing, "Queen Elizabeth was a force on the world stage, and her leadership through some of the darkest times in recent history will not be forgotten. Minnesota joins the nation in lowering our flags to honor her life and legacy."

There's no doubt the queen leaves behind big shoes to fill.

"It's like the whole of London comes to a standstill. That's what it's going to be like now," Church said.

People with British ties are hoping King Charles III is up to the task.

"I think it does remains to be seen what image he decides to project, what projects he decides to pursue, what persona he decides to adopt. I think he has every chance of being popular, but it is not a given," Steinbach said.

One thing the British monarchy does very well, she explained, is tradition. So Steinbach said over the coming days, there will likely be moments of silence, and other rituals fit for a queen.