A royal superfan that has idolised the queen for more than 50 years has described the monarch’s death as “like a passing in the family” – following the Queen’s death at the age of 96.

Anita Atkinson, 56, has been collecting royal memorabilia all her life, and has amassed a huge collection of items on her converted dairy farm in Weardale, County Durham – which boasts around 12,000 items in total.

Starting collecting from a young age, she now has a royal museum, a union jack Mini, cut outs of the Queen, as well as numerous other collectors’ items.

Read more: The Queen has died Buckingham Palace has announced

Like the majority of the nation, Mrs Atkinson, who is a retired newspaper editor and grandmother of five, heard the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s tragic death at Balmoral on Thursday (September 8).

Describing the moment she found out about the Queen’s death, the County Durham grandmother said she’s “not usually an emotional person” but broken down in tears at the sad news – saying that the Queen was “an absolute constant” in her day-to-day life.

“I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it. I know she’s 96, but she’s such a strong character, and I can’t remember the Queen not been in my life at any point,” Mrs Atkinson said.

The Northern Echo:

“She has been an absolute constant – I can’t get my head around her death.

“I’m a huge supporter of the monarchy and I’ve based my life around building such a huge collection of memorabilia.

“Today, when I found out, I was just stood in the museum – wondering what had happened.”

The Northern Echo: Anita with her car. Picture: PA MEDIAAnita with her car. Picture: PA MEDIA (Image: PA MEDIA)

As well as mourning the death of the treasured monarch, Mrs Atkinson also wanted to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II – praising her as “a perfect role model” and “serving the commonwealth with utter devotion”.

It was also a poignant reminder for the Weardale resident that the Queen had “filled the void” in her life after the tragic passing of her own mother 34 years ago.

The Northern Echo: Anita and a cut-out of the Queen. Picture: PA MEDIA Anita and a cut-out of the Queen. Picture: PA MEDIA (Image: PA MEDIA)

“I’ve studied the history of the monarchy – and watched on as the Queen gave such devotion to the commonwealth and serving people of this nation,” Mrs Atkinson added.

“I imagine she got out of her sick bed to appoint the new Prime Minister because she always endeavoured to be a leader – ever since she made a promise to the UK at 21 years old, she has never broken that promise.”

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