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Superfan’s glimpse of UK royals results in trans-Atlantic pilgrimage

NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Reuters) – What makes a grown lady cross an ocean and sleep for 3 nights on the road in a “pink princess tent” together with her legs hanging out within the hope of seeing Britain’s Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle on their marriage ceremony day?

Royal superfan Donna Werner poses with a few of the photographs and memorabilia she has collected touring to England for the weddings of Prince Andrew, Prince William and Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday celebration, at her home in New Fairfield, Connecticut, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin

“I’m definitely a Royal Superfan,” stated Donna Werner, 66, of New Fairfield, Connecticut, about 62 miles (100 km) north of New York City.

The probability to lock eyes with Harry or alternate smiles with Meghan as their gilded coach rolls by St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19 is sufficient to encourage Werner to pay for a aircraft ticket and a lodge room she’ll seemingly use just for its restroom whereas she camps on the road for 3 days to safe a primary viewing spot.

Early that marriage ceremony day morning, Werner plans to emerge from the pink round tent that matches solely half her physique – her legs tucked right into a sleeping bag poking outdoors. She intends to be properly rested, having warded off any in a single day chill by plastering her physique with a few of the 100 hand hotter warmth packets she ordered for the journey.

Wearing a tiara with a veil and a T-shirt proclaiming “Back-up Bride,” she expects to toss her tent, sleeping bag, camp chair and practically all her different possessions right into a rubbish bag in a safety sweep. Then, she is ready to face for hours within the roadside spot the place she bivouacked for 3 days.

“The kings, the queens, the castles, the jewellery and glamorous parties. It’s like a fairy tale,” stated Werner, describing what fascinates her about all issues royal.

“Sometimes, with all the problems in the world, it’s just nice to think that this sort of thing still happens,” stated the married, stay-at-home mom whose three grownup youngsters are actually dwelling on their very own.

Royal superfan Donna Werner poses with a few of the photographs and memorabilia she has collected touring to England for the weddings of Prince Andrew, Prince William and Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday celebration, at her home in New Fairfield, Connecticut, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin

At her sprawling suburban home, Werner’s cabinet is filled with mementos of British royal celebrations she managed to wedge her manner into since her fascination with the royal household started in 1973 with the marriage of Princess Anne and her first husband Mark Phillips.

Her Anglophile awe is anchored in analysis, from her every day verify of a web-based calendar that tracks the royals to tracing her personal family tree again 500 years to the North Yorkshire city of Bedale. To pinpoint her upcoming tenting spot outdoors Windsor Castle, she has been scouring accounts of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones’s marriage ceremony at St. George’s in 1999.

“I want to see what did they do and which way did their carriage turn so I can figure out the best place to stand,” Werner stated.

Her chiffonier overflows with Union Jack-emblazoned souvenirs just like the tiny porcelain thimble to commemorate the 1981 marriage ceremony of Prince Charles after which Lady Diana Spencer, and the hefty ceramic whisky bottles to mark Princes William’s and Harry’s births in 1982 and 1984 respectively. But her most prized keepsakes are reminiscences captured in her pictures, together with one of many Queen wanting immediately into Werner’s digicam throughout her 90th birthday parade in 2016.

“She looked right at me and she nodded her head. I just freaked out,” Werner stated.

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“She’s an icon. Somebody who has devoted her entire life to the public and her country,” she stated.

Werner’s final royal fantasy?

“To just shake hands with the queen,” she sighed.

Werner’s household tolerates her regal ardour, which prompted her to decide on center names of “Elizabeth” for one among her daughters and “Spencer” for her son “much to his chagrin.” Mother’s Day items from her youngsters have included dozens of books concerning the royal household and one other pink princess tent to interchange one she needed to toss in a safety sweep for the 2011 marriage ceremony of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

“They think I’m nuts,” Werner stated. “They just sort of giggle and say, ‘Oh yeah. She’s a Royal Superfan.’”

Her husband Mark, 66, a retired funding supervisor, stated he accepts his spouse’s preoccupation and her annual pilgrimages to England with a girlfriend as one thing that strengthens their 45-year marriage, a lot as she accepts his U.S. motorbike excursions.

“It may be a little weird but she really enjoys it,” stated Mark Werner, himself a fan of what some baseball fanatics take into account America’s royal household: the New York Yankees. “She’s met so many others who love them. Can you really call that crazy?”

Donna Werner shrugged off any denigration of her enthusiasm.

“It’s a hobby. It’s not an obsession,” she stated, gazing at a espresso cup dated July 22, 2013 and declaring “It’s a Prince!” for Prince George’s birthday, stuffed amongst commemorative biscuit and tea tins, fragrance bottles, milk pitchers and different objects.

“Well, maybe a little obsession,” she stated.

Editing by Stephen Addison/Guy Faulconbridge


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