A record-breaking owner of one of the largest collections of royal memorabilia in the world has flown from rural Australia to join the crowds in London during the King’s coronation.
Jan Hugo, 64, owns more than 10,000 objects honouring the royal family and has known for months that she would be flying across the world for the “once-in-a-lifetime” event, she told the PA news agency.
Starting in the early 1980s with a coin commemorating the engagement of Charles and his late wife Diana, Ms Hugo has amassed thousands of collectibles dating back to Queen Victoria’s reign, which she displays in her home in Nulkaba in New South Wales.
Ms Hugo said Ms Atkinson “gave me a big hug as soon as I got out of the car” and showed her Aussie counterpart objects from her impressive collection, which Ms Hugo said was a “lovely” experience.
Ms Hugo explained that she had sent Ms Atkinson a Christmas card and a letter and the English collector got in touch with her and said “come on up”.
She said: “There’s no way I will ever catch up to her because she gets things here for a couple of pounds and for me to get things in Australia, it could be 200 dollars for the same thing.”
Ms Hugo said tourists would sometimes tell her and her husband David, 66, about their memories of past royal celebrations and the couple was inspired to be among the crowds for the coronation.
She said: “Some of the older people would tell us they remembered Elizabeth’s coronation when they were little children or, you know, their parents went to the coronation.
“We thought, this is our chance now to be a part of history so we can tell our grandchildren that we were there.”
She said that the morning the date of the coronation was announced “we were on the phone booking the flights and the accommodation”.
She added: “We’ll be too old when William becomes king so it was now or never.”
She added: “With all the issues that people have had with Camilla, I think it might be really nice to show that she’s now our queen and we should have a little bit more respect for her.”
Not letting the celebrations distract her from growing her collection further, Ms Hugo said she has gathered a “suitcase full” of more royal memorabilia to take back to Australia.