LONDON | It takes agility to weave through the thousands of frames and teacups bearing the image of the British royal family stored at Margaret Tyler's, one of the biggest collectors of "Royals" objects in the United Kingdom.
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At the approach of the platinum jubilee which marks from Thursday the 70 years of reign of Elizabeth II, this 78-year-old retiree, dressed in a jacket with Union Jack prints, proudly presents her immense collection which clutters the entire floor. floor of his home in Wembley, north-west London.
“It is magnificent that the Queen has spent 70 years on the throne. The only thing that saddens me is that Prince Philip is not there”, she regrets, scanning the shelf dedicated to objects representing the husband of the monarch, who died in April of the year last shortly before his 100th birthday.
The exterior of the septuagenarian's house sets the tone: the front door is guarded by two garden gnomes in the shape of a queen, a replica of a royal guard and pennants in the colors of the British flag.
And inside, Margaret Tyler has amassed more than 12,000 objects related to the "Royals" in 40 years, from the essential teacups bearing the effigy of all the members of the monarchy to posters, frames, books, statuettes or even ashtrays and slippers.
“If I like, I buy,” she summarizes. So much so that her children now forbid her to go on the internet to prevent her from spending too much. "I should go to the library," jokes the retiree.
When she begins her collection, Margaret Tyler dedicates a room in her house solely to her passion and forbids her four children to set foot there. "They weren't very interested anyway," she recalls.
The collection inevitably grows and as the children become adults, she uses their rooms to store other items. She even goes so far as to push back the walls and enlarge the house to create a “Diana room”, a space entirely devoted to the late first wife of Prince Charles, his favorite princess.
In this room, she had a portrait of “Lady Di” painted on the ceiling. "It was a hell of a job because we have our arms in the air all the time, we always have to rest," she says.
If she hunts for royal souvenirs, Margaret Tyler does not miss an opportunity to meet the royal family either.
When she was 19, this is what prompted her to leave Herefordshire, a rural region in the west of England, to settle in London and be closer to Buckingham.
She has since met Elizabeth II four times. "I gave him a bouquet of flowers and a cake in the shape of a crown," she says with a lively look, with undisguised pride.
"Moment of Respite"
Inexhaustible on the subject, she hopes that the jubilee celebrations will be a success for the queen, still very popular at 96, after the death of her husband, repeated scandals and health concerns.
"I wish her a happy time with her family (...) and a moment of respite because she works so hard," says Margaret.
Saddened that Harry, the monarch's grandson, and his wife Meghan left the royal family and went to live in the United States, Margaret is delighted that the couple will travel to London for the celebrations.
"I think they didn't want to miss something like that, they didn't want to be left out," she said.
If she is one of the Brits who are looking forward to the Jubilee, Margaret will follow the festivities from her home in Wembley because she wants to take care of a loved one who is struggling to get around.
She will therefore watch everything on television, surrounded by her friends: “And on TV, I will be able to watch a second time in replay in the evening when everyone is gone!”