‘Never get rid of Britishness’ Proud UK expats on Spain’s Costa Blanca hail Queen Jubilee

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“The sentiment is that we’re all very patriotic, even though we live here in Spain,” Peter, 71, told from the outside Totty Teas’ Jubilee celebration on Sunday. His words echo those of Cindy and Derek, fellow Brits who have all made their way from different parts of the Valencian Community to this English restaurant and café about 10km away from Alicante. The occasion calls for the journey – no matter how long, they suggested. According to owner Neal, “everything the monarchy has done, particularly the Queen has done for the country” deserves to be honoured by bringing “a little bit of England and Britain to Spain this afternoon”.

And that includes, he proudly explained, “classical British street party food – sausages on sticks, pineapple and cheese on sticks, Union Jack sponge cakes”.

In Spanish style, they will toast to the Queen with a glass of cava, a popular type of sparkling wine.

Dubbing the Jubilee a “very British affair”, Neal thinks the energy invested in marking the monarch’s seven-decade-long reign can be hard to understand for Spaniards.

He said: “I just don’t think it [the Spanish monarchy] has that same sort of pomp and pageantry which you’ve come to expect from the British monarchy.”

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Derek agrees. Reflecting on a Spanish royal family that for a large part of the public “doesn’t exist anymore”, he said: “All their royalties tend to dissipate, especially the younger ones, so they don’t really understand what the hell’s going on.

“But we’re the longest reigning royal family in the world, and that means celebrating.”

He called watching the weekend celebrations over television “a little bit gutting”, as “we can’t get to be there, we can’t get to the atmosphere”.

Yet, he highlighted that he and his family have “built a community” in Spain – one they have found easy to integrate with.

Derek went to Totty Teas with a big group.

He said: “There’s 14 of us.

“It’s a good time to be patriotic. It’s a great time because its bonds and unites everybody.

“I’ve lived in many countries. I’ve travelled around the world for two and a half years, and you’d never get rid of your Britishness.”

Cindy, who speaking from the party described scenes of “crown-wearing and flag-waving”, spent the Sunday morning watching the Jubilee concert.

She said: “I did nothing today. It was, ‘Shall I go to the beach or watch the concert?’ So I watched the concert this morning. And I cried when she [the Queen] got the sandwich out of a bag.”

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She moved to Spain 15 years ago and married a local, so “life here is perfect”. Still, she explained, “although this is my home, my heart is UK – always has been”.

Peter, who has been there since 2003, said he feels just as connected to his home country — and the Royal Family — as ever. For his community over there, it is the same.

He said: “Particularly for the elderly. A lot of people here are retired. And there’s a little love and affection for Her Majesty the Queen.

“I think there’s a lot of affection for her because she’s never wavered. She’s been there for a while. She’s been through the Falklands War and the Second World War.”

Commenting on the Prince of Wales’s eventual accession to the throne, Peter said: “We’re all wondering, ‘what will be when our prison Queen is no longer?’

“I don’t know what the future holds for the monarchy. I think a lot of people here understand, Charles will obviously accede to the throne and then hopefully nothing will change.”

One aspect he does want to move away from, he said, is scandals, which he finds “a bit distracting”, adding: “I don’t think the British really value that.”

There were some 130 people at Totty Teas, “of which there are 127, British, there French, and one Swiss”.

Neal said: “The expat community here are just such a nice bunch and I think they will all get on.

“It just celebrates [the fact that] she’s done so many great things over these 70 years. She’s been through so much, so it’s great.

“Because, you know, whilst we have all chosen to live in Spain, we are still British.”

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