ROSE HILL, Kan. (KSNW) — There’s no doubt the impact of Queen Elizabeth II‘s death has been felt by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, including here in Kansas.

For Rose Hill resident Adam Smith, Exploration Place is a home away from home. Smith became the museum’s president in 2019 but is originally from Burnley, England. Years ago, he worked alongside Prince Philip to open another museum in Scotland and eventually met Queen Elizabeth II.

Years later, despite being so far from home, Smith says he feels just as connected to this tragedy, remembering the Queen as a mother and grandmother not just to her family but to an entire nation.

“For me, this feels like losing a close family member,” Smith said.

Growing up in England, Smith says Queen Elizabeth II was a constant part of life for himself, his parents and his grandparents.

“My grandparents bought their first television to watch the coronation, and you’ll find a lot of British people tell that story. 1953 was the date my mother first saw a television,” Smith said.

Smith’s first memory of the Queen also revolves around a special occasion: the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

“I was a young boy at school, and it was a very big deal,” Smith said.

Roughly 20 years later, Smith would get to meet the Queen face-to-face.

“I was working at a museum in Scotland at the time, and I had spent a lot of time working with her husband, Prince Philip, and he must have remembered that because they had a special reception,” Smith said.

Smith received a handwritten invitation to Buckingham Palace. His conversation with the Queen left a lifelong impact on the then 24-year-old curator.

“I think she personifies the whole concept of duty. She dedicated her entire life to public service, and I think that will be her legacy,” Smith said.