Margaret Tyler is an intriguing character. She is renowned globally as being an unofficial world record holder for the largest collection of British Royal Family memorabilia.
Close to Northwick Park Station; the heart of Metro-land, Wembley Stadium proudly rises above the distant homes. Margaret epitomises the hidden wonder of suburbia. Behind the doors of the detached and semi-detached ‘torture chambers’, it’s difficult to envisage that many of these homes are full of such dedicated, expensive and detailed collections.
From clippings to cardboard cutouts, magazines to mugs; the collection in Margaret’s home has outgrown her home. She has extended on more than one occasion. The living room expansion was followed by an additional room added to the back of the home. This became a room dedicated to the Princess of Wales, painted in a bright pink and adorned with stencil illustration of Diana on the ceiling. As a superfan of the Royal Family, Margaret has a clear favourite. She reserved a special adoration for Diana. She met the princess on several occasions. These meetings have been savoured by Margaret; her favourite anecdote is of the time Diana saw the elaborate badge Margaret was wearing with her face on it. The interaction with Diana left Margaret excitable. She ran home as she sought to tell her children as quickly as possible. In her flustered state, she had to rest before the words could come out.
The living room is full to bursting. A table of similar size to a grand snooker surface is laden with magazines, framed pictures and a large bust of Charles. There are pictures of the princes, detailing a journey from childhood to adulthood; their children have become part of the collection. The decision by Harry and Meghan to step back from their duties has upset Margaret, but she will still follow the couple intently.
Chaotic to most, there is order and uniformity in each of the rooms. Every object has a recountable past. Neighbours of Margaret have crowned her as the Queen of South Kenton; objects are regularly deposited on her doorstep, should anything of a royal nature be found. Even the front of Heritage House, a B&B that has welcomed many royal enthusiasts, is covered in plaques. Each sign is engraved with the name and face of a member of the Royal Family. A banner, worn from the rain and sun of many seasons, limply hangs from an upstairs window. The message upon it welcomes the birth of William and Kate’s first child.
The experience of a visit to Heritage House is impactful. Margaret emanates positivity; she claims that her lust for life has come from the pursuit of what she is most fond. Her hobby, researching and preserving artifacts related to the royals, has brought her significant joy.