SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The corner of 2nd Street and Santa Monica Boulevard is a hub of British social life.  

Accents from across the British Isles intermingle in ways they never would in the UK. Liverpudlians, Mancunians, and Scots — even people from Ireland sometimes stop by. All the excitement revolves around the Ye Olde Kings Head, a traditional pub, and an adjoining convenience store where you can buy all your classic British goods from Marmite to steak and kidney pie. 

What You Need To Know

  • Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have had a sit-down interview with Oprah that airs Sunday

  • The couple are speaking out about their experience leaving the U.K. and their titles behind

  • Buckingham Palace has begun an investigation into bullying allegations against the Duchess

  • Expats living in Los Angeles say they understand why the couple chose to come to California

The iconic pub and shop have been on the same corner in downtown Santa Monica for over 40 years. In recent weeks, the conversation between patrons has revolved around the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. 

The royal couple has been making major headlines, with their Oprah interview airing Sunday. The snippets CBS has aired are already quite groundbreaking. Meghan speaks candidly about feeling hemmed in by the palace and royal protocol. 

"As an adult who lived a really independent life, to go into this construct that is different than what I think people imagine it to be, it's liberating to be able to have the right and privilege to be able to say, 'yes,' [to the interview]," she told Oprah. 

And at the Kings Head, shop assistant Sarah Stebbings said she totally sympathizes with the famous couple. 

"I can really relate to Harry and Meghan. A lot of us expats came over. It was a choice, to live what we deem a better life here," she said. 

Stebbings said she moved to Los Angeles 25 years ago and has never regretted coming to California. 

"The differences I find between living here, and there are huge. The freedom aspect is a big part of it. England's a small island, you don't think about the size of [the] country, but it's confined," she said.

And Stebbings said she felt that confinement physically and mentally. When she got off the plane at LAX all those years ago, she said she felt a sense of relief and then excitement. 

"Here, as soon as you arrive, it's a breath of fresh air, you can feel it, the energy is totally different — for me, it's a no-brainer in terms of where I prefer living," she said. 

And yet, she works at the Ye Olde Kings Head and speaks with British people all day long. 

"Even though I came to California and I absolutely adore it, it's really nice to have the support of the British community, and they really are supportive," Stebbings said. 

Chris Green came into the Kings Head to buy a new tea cozy. He's lived in Los Angeles for over 30 years but still relies heavily on the store to supply him with essential goods from home. 

"It's a real community, it's one of our favorite shops, and they've treated us really well over the years," he said. 

When asked about Meghan and Harry, Green immediately went back to the heartbreaking image of a young Prince Harry walking behind his mother Princess Diana's funeral procession. 

"Watching Harry at the age of 8 or 9 walking behind his mother's coffin, being forced to do that in front of millions of people — and the card that was on her coffin saying mummy, of course, he wants to protect his wife, and why shouldn't he?" Green asked. 

There's a similar sentiment among other people who visit the pub and shop. They just want the Prince to be happy after all the challenges he's faced. And if the royal couple ever decides they have a hankering for a taste of the U.K., they can always drive down from their new home in Santa Barbara to stop by the Kings Head — where they and all expats are greeted with open arms.