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EDITIONS
royal wedding Tuesday, 15 June, 1999, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
Fan fare: Monarchist memorabilia worldwide
diana dolls
Images of the British royal family fill homes around the globe
The British royal family attracts a serious following the world over. Dedicated fans share their experiences and memorabilia with BBC News Online.

Tamara Gardner, Canada
Lisa Mundy, California, USA
Marti Maraquin, San Diego, USA
Gareth Green, Niagra Falls, Canada
Estelle Bouthillier, Ottawa, Canada
Lisa Snoddy, California, USA
Joe Segreto, Sydney, Australia
Lisa Trask, Georgia, USA


Tamara Garnder, Canada

Tamara has a dedicated "Royal Room" in her home, where she stashes the many items of memorabilia she has collected over the past 18 years.

tamara gardener
Canadian Tamara Gardener in her Royal Room
She said: "I also have a walk-in closet - a room 6ft by 3ft - and all that is in there are my newspaper and magazine clippings on the royal family.

"I first saw the Queen in 1971 when I was two-and-a-half. Since then I have seen her four times, and I managed to give her a bouquet of freesias, and then afterwards had my picture in the local paper and in a national newspaper."

She recalled one occasion when she drove herself and her three children six hours to see Prince Charles and his sons.

Canada's minister of culture noticed how well-behaved her children were and brought the prince over to see them all.

Tamara's daughter is named Alexandra Elisabeth Louise, and was born on the Queen's 67th birthday. One of her sons also has "royal names", and is called Derek Charles William.

She added: "My husband and I were married on July 28 - we wanted to be married on July 29 like Charles and Diana, but the minister of our church at the time didn't like performing weddings on a Sunday, so consequently we were married one day earlier."

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Lisa Mundy, California, USA

Lisa's obsession with the Royal Family revolves around the Duchess of York. She says Fergie is her favourite person, and that she treasures photos and home videos shot when she met her.

lisa mundy
Californian Lisa Mundy meets her heroine at a Dieting with the Duchess booksigning
As a live-in nanny, 34-year-old Lisa has just one room, which is crammed with Fergie memorabilia, including dolls, porcelain, signed books and T-shirts, stickers, toys and newspaper cuttings.

And as a devoted Weight Watcher, she not only lost 57lbs, but received a note of encouragement from the Duchess.

She told BBC News Online that she was in London in 1986 for the wedding of Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew.

fergie doll
Lisa's Fergie wedding doll
She added: "I met her at a book signing on 21 January - it was a total dream come true. I stood in line for over five hours and was first in line.

"I had on a sweatshirt with her picture on it and the words 'Surviving Life' on top and then underneath 'Sarah Style'. She signed this wonderful piece for me and now it is hanging in a custom-made frame in my room.

"After the book signing I saw her car on the car park and recognised it. I walked past the car with my friend, and we just saw her coming.

"She was so nice and warm she stopped and gave me a hug, and for that moment, I was the happiest person.

"She is very sweet and she even autographed a Budgie book for the little boy I watch."

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Marti Maraquin, San Diego, USA

Marti Maraquin's interest in the British Royal Family started as he watched HRH Princess Anne's first wedding, and he now plans to be in the UK for the marriage of Sophie and Edward.

He said: "I was captured by the pageantry of it all. I went to London to see the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981.

marti maraquin
Marti Maraquin visited London for the Queen's Golden Wedding
"I then booked to be in London for the Queen's Golden Wedding celebrations, but after I had booked, the tragedy of Diana happened, and I almost cancelled.

"However, I went, and I met the Queen on her Golden Wedding walkabout - it was magic."

He returned to London in 1998 and saw the Queen welcome the Japanese Emperor and watched the Trooping the Colour.

He added: "I am booked to come to London to attend a service at St Paul's Cathedral on 8 July in the presence of the Queen Mother.

"I will arrive in London early on 16 June to take in the wedding celebrations."

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Gareth Green, Niagara Falls, Canada

gareth green
Gareth's answering machine plays the British Grenadiers
Gareth's anglophilia even runs to his answering machine giving "a fine rendition of the British Grenadiers". He describes himself as a "long time follower of the Royal Family".

He said: "I have attended many royal occasions whilst resident in London up to 1974, as a private member of the public and also as a member of the reserve armed forces.

"I have a large collection of royal memorabilia in my home and take a very keen interest in the happenings of the Royal Family."

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Estelle Bouthillier, Ottawa, Canada

estelle bouthillier
Estelle Bouthillier has a large collection of articles on European royalty
Professional archivist Estelle has amassed her own private library of press clippings, pictures, records, video tapes and cine reels relating to various European monarchies.

She wrote: "I collect books and periodicals about the European Royal Families from Queen Victoria to the present day."

Her collection runs to several thousand items and fills an entire room.

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Lisa Snoddy, California, USA

Lisa explains how during a semester spent at an American college in London in the 1980s, she devoted her spare time to "hunting royals around the city".

lisa snoddy
Lisa Snoddy's Diana Beanie Babies can be seen to the bottom left hand side of the picture
She said: "I watched the Court Circular and waited for a London event with the Prince and Princess of Wales."

She waited for several hours at a cinema premiere in Leicester Square, and was rewarded with a ringside view of the couple.

She said: "The crowd erupted. I remember being surprised to hear my own voice calling out Diana's name. She was stunning in a full-length, white sequinned gown.

"I couldn't believe she was only a few steps away from me. I called her name and she looked in my direction. I was snapping away furiously with my little camera. I was elated and overwhelmed."

Lisa's enchantment with the Royal Family began when she was 13. She was soon making her family acknowledge the Queen's birthday, and threw parties for the birth of each royal child.

Now she is expecting her first child, and is due to visit Althorp to get "Diana's blessing" for her baby.

She said: "It seems fitting. Diana was such a wonderful mother, and cared for her boys above all else. And she meant such a great deal to me. She was a part of my every day life."

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Joe Segreto, Sydney, Australia

Music promoter Joe has inherited his father's love of the Royal Family, and is part of a "non-political" movement in Australia against the Republican referendum.

His main interest is what he calls the "royal outcasts", and his proudest posessions amongst his huge collection of royal memorabilia are two of Edward VIII's suits.

edward viii
Joe Segreto has two of Edward VIII's suits
He said he felt "almost guilty" at having them, because he really feels that all the items auctioned at Sotheby's in 1997 should be in a museum.

He said; "I have never worn the suits. I keep them near a beautiful old photo of Edward VIII taken in 1919 when he was Prince of Wales and signed by Edward himself.

"They do mean a great deal to me, albeit I was mortified that so many possible museum pieces were auctioned off to private American parties.

"Can you believe that the Prince of Wales investiture sword, his POW garter, the abdication desk etc are all sitting in private American homes?

"More generally though, I have a great deal of respect for the Royal Family, and the very hard work that they do."

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Lisa Trask, Georgia, USA

Lisa says Americans love the Royal Family so much because they have nothing comparable in the States.

lisa trask
Lisa Trask: "Diana was a lady"
The 33-year-old mother of two says her interest in the Windsors came initially from her grandmother, and the two share subscriptions to magazines on the monarchy.

But it was the wedding of Charles and Diana which really fired her enthusiasm for royal watching.

She told BBC News Online: "Diana was so beautiful and she looked very shy, the whole thing was like a fairytale and I was hooked.

"My husband and I lived in Germany for a time and we managed to get a weekend in London, which was just fabulous for me because I got to see all the royal sites.

"Most of my collection of royal things centre around Diana. She was so special. I have many, many books about her.

"Also, I have every copy of People magazine that she was ever on the cover of."

Lisa is also the proud owner of a Diana Beanie Baby - a purple soft toy with a white rose stitched over its heart.

She said: "I admired her very much, she was a lady and was kind and helped people."

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 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Audio
Joe Segreto: Deep respect for Royal Family
Video
Lisa Mundy's magic Fergie moment on home video
Audio
Lisa Snoddy: "I miss Diana so much"
Audio
Lisa Trask: Asked Queen for autograph
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