The ‘leave' campaign won by 52 percent, compared to 48 percent for ‘remain', sending shockwaves across Europe.
“It's a disaster, I'm speechless,” said Tony Randell, a Briton living in Rome.
“It will cost a fortune. Stupid, stupid people in the industrial Midlands and north of England – and I say that as someone who comes from the north of England.”
After it initially appeared that the "remain" campaign was on course for victory, the results that drifted in throughout the early hours of Friday morning proved that many opinion polls, the bookmakers, and political experts had got it wrong.
The result sent the value of the pound crashing, recording its biggest drop in over 30 years. Financial forecasters believe it will tumble even further throughout the day.
“It's still hard to believe this is really happening,” said Nick Norvell, another Briton in Rome, before reflecting:
“Right now, I'm thinking a lot less will change than we think...I don't think 1.2m Britons will get thrown out of the EU nor 3m EU people thrown out of the UK...the campaign was like a game of poker, but now the deed is done. We are still Europeans and friends with all European countries, and the government and the EU, what's left of it, will have to cooperate. That said – as a consultant paid by the EU for the last few years – maybe I should be looking for another job!”
While the result will have a major bearing on the future of Europe and on the futures of Britain's political parties, it will also have a major impact on the lives of many Brits living throughout the EU.
The fall in the value of the pound will have severely hit the value of pensions - often the only form of income for British expats and may make it unaffordable for many to stay abroad.
“I feel lost, and worried about the future,” another Briton, who chose to remain anonymous, living in Italy
“I'm also disappointed and concerned about the damage this will do to Britain's image abroad.”