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Royal-mad nan with £200,000 memorabilia has a framed napkin that was used by Prince Charles

Anita Atkins, from County Durham, has always been a monarchist and has added to her collection of royal memorabilia since Silver Jubilee in 1977 – but she is dedicating her Platinum Jubilee to helping others celebrate

Anita with all her royal memorabilia
Anita has been royally insane for most of her life

A royally mad grandmother from County Durham believes she owns more than £200,000 worth of royal family memorabilia.

Anita Atkins, who lives on their Weardale farm with her husband John, boasts a napkin used by Prince Charles and an oil painting of the Duke of Kent in her 12,000-item collection – and she has big plans for the upcoming anniversary weekend .

While some people call her a “royal superfan,” she prefers to call herself a monarchist and says she’s “destined” to be a passionate supporter of the Queen.

“My parents married in 1936, in the ‘Year of the Three Kings’ when George V died, followed by Edward VIII who abdicated and was succeeded by his brother George VI,” the 65-year-old said.

Born three years after Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, Anita grew up with a mother who was similarly royally obsessed — and had a closet full of collectibles in her family home.







It has the largest collection of royal memorabilia
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Picture:

Will Lailey/Cater’s News)

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She recalled that her mother had a particular fondness for the love story of King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, describing it as “the greatest love story of the century” when he abdicated to be with her.

In her adult life, Anita has followed in her mother’s footsteps, expanding her collection to the largest in the world and even opening a royal museum on the farm – with items dating back to the reign of George III in the 18th century.

Since Prince Phillip’s death last year, she has added mugs and plates in his honor to her collection.

Throughout her life, Anita has noticed parallels with the royal family, which she believes made her a royalist.

She married John in 1979, the year Lord Mountbatten was assassinated, and had their eldest daughter Ruth in 1981, the year Charles and Diana were married – with their due date even on the same day as the wedding.

She recalled telling doctors, “I’m not having a baby that day,” in hopes of watching the show on TV.

Anita’s son Jimmy was born in 1984, the same year as Prince Harry, and their youngest daughter Gemma was born in 1988 – the same year as Princess Beatrice.







Judith’s oil painting of the Duke of Kent is worth around £60,000
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Picture:

Will Lailey/Cater’s News)

The grandmother began collecting her royal memorabilia in 1977 – the same year as the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

Anita bought a Union Jack flag to mark the occasion, visited her tailor and asked him to make a vest out of it, which she wore to celebrate Her Majesty’s 25th anniversary on the throne.

“I also organized a Silver Jubilee street party and bought a small coin for all the children on the street. We’ve had three-legged races, all-rounders, all sorts of things,” she said.

And for next weekend’s platinum anniversary, Nan, of four, is dedicating her time to helping others enjoy the celebrations.

“I have agreed to help at a royal pop-up tea room in Bishop Auckland where a cousin of mine runs a business for adults with learning disabilities who will be great British bakers for a day,” she said.

Despite living far from the Queen’s residence at Buckingham Palace, Anita traveled south to attend the Queen’s Garden Party in 1992 after her aunt wrote a letter.

Anita’s incredible knowledge of all things royal has seen her speak at events and while running a community newspaper, she has often brought stories about it.

She said: “I have no idea what I’ve spent on my collection of royal memorabilia over the years, but I will never sell it.

“I will leave it to my grandchildren. They are not ardent monarchists like me, but they show interest and the two eldest always help me with my museum.”

Anita added: “I think of the Queen every day. I don’t know her, but she kind of feels like family.

“During Covid, when Boris was in hospital, it was the Queen who stepped in.

When she said, “Don’t worry. We will meet again,’ it reassured us all.”

Anita said the Queen’s reassuring words dated back to 1940 during World War II, when she reassured Commonwealth children and said: “Everything will be fine.”

She said, “She was right then and she was right this time too.”

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