By Stefica Nicol Bikes
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Surrounded by tens of thousands of pieces of British royal memorabilia in her home in rural Australia, Jan Hugo now has one more thing to boast about: meeting the man who is now King Charles.
Starting in 1981 with a commemorative coin of then-Prince Charles' wedding to his first wife, Diana, the 64-year-old's collection has since grown to include over 10,000 pieces of crockery, coasters, and figurines that takes up several rooms in her home in Nulkaba, a town about 150 km (93 miles) northwest of Sydney.
One item, a tea towel bearing the likeness of Charles and Camilla, now the Queen Consort, landed Hugo a conversation with the royal couple when they toured Australia in 2015.
"Oh, the thrill of my life. Not many people can actually say that they have met now the king and queen of England," she said about the encounter in Sydney, where she held the tea towel up to attract the couple's attention.
"Camilla walked out first, looked up and went 'Oh my goodness, I'm on the tea towel.' So she came straight to me and we had a lovely chat," Hugo told Reuters on Thursday.
"Then Charles came along and I had a red shirt that I had taken the sleeves out and put Union Jack flags in for the sleeves. So he came along and gave me a rub on the shoulder."
Having celebrated the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth in June, Hugo was sad to learn about the monarch's death.
"There's just so many things, you can't single out one thing about her... she was just an amazing woman," she said.
With King Charles on the throne and William assuming the title of Prince of Wales, more memorabilia is on the way.
"So I need a whole new castle, not just another room to put it in but I think I'm up for a castle now," Hugo said.
(Reporting by Stefica Nicol Bikes; Writing by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)