Royal Memories: Newton Woman Enjoys Collecting Queen Elizabeth II ItemsFree Access

Sondra Bandy Koontz of Newton is surrounded by some of her royal family collection at her home. Wendy Nugent/Harvey County Now
NEWTON—The death of Queen Elizabeth II last week was heard around the world, including in Newton.

When self-proclaimed anglophile Sondra Bandy Koontz of Newton heard the news, she was sad.

“I was watching TV when the announcer came on to tell us of the death,” Koontz said. “I knew it was coming that day because once the palace announced that doctors were watching the queen’s health, I knew the death would follow within 24 hours. I was very sad because I have watched her and her family for so long.”

Koontz, who has a collection of royal family items, has happier memories of the queen.

“I love the pictures of her laughing,” she said. “I think she had a subtle, wonderful sense of humor, which she turned on some of our presidents. I think particularly of her visit here when George W. Bush was president. There is a great photo of her laughing with Charles while they are watching Scottish games near her home in Balmoral. I also love the photo of Michelle Obama placing her arm around the Queen and the Queen hugging her back.”

Koontz first became interested in the royal family and became obsessed with Princess Margaret after seeing her wedding in Life magazine. Koontz majored in history at Bethel College.

“My favorite history is British history,” she said, adding she’s been to England nine times. “Then I went to England and got totally besotted with these things.”

Those things are the items she’s collected of the royal family or items that include their likenesses. Some of the items are kitschy, like a figure of the queen waving, while others are images of and/or information about the British royal family on various items, such as in books, on towels and in programs. Most of what she has is of Queen Elizabeth II. She also possesses items from Elizabeth’s parents—George VI and Elizabeth, and some from her uncle, Edward VIII, who married an American, Wallis Simpson, and had to abdicate. Koontz also has items representing Queen Elizabeth II’s grandparents, George V and Mary.

“I started collecting when I first went to England and that would’ve been in the 1970s,” Koontz said.

She’s purchased most of her items stateside in antique stores and Koontz has learned dishes don’t travel well.

“Friends have given me some because they know I’m obsessed,” Koontz said. “I do have a pin with Victoria’s face on it.” Queen Victoria was a relative to Queen Elizabeth II.

Koontz enjoys the thrill of the hunt, finding that perfect item.

There are also items representing the now King Charles and former Princess Diana, as well as Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York. There are cloth towels of Meghan and Harry, Di and Charles, and Prince Louie.

“I have pretty much back to George VI,” Koontz said, adding that Victoria, though, is back much further than that.

Koontz loves going into antique stores, where they ask what she’s looking for, and she doesn’t tell them because she wants to discover them herself.

In addition to England and the United States, Koontz also has acquired things from Canada.

“Anymore, I basically just collect the dishes,” Koontz said.

Koontz said she’s addicted to watching the ‘trooping of the colour in England.’ They’d watch the royals go by in the carriages and then run down the mall and watch them on the balcony there.

“I am basically pretty crazed about them,” she said, adding she can identify the Queen’s family and extended family.

There are some items in Koontz’s collection she likes better than others. One is the coronation ceremony program for Queen Elizabeth’s parents. Her father was crowned in 1937.

She also likes a compact with the image of a young Queen Elizabeth on it.

“I’ve always been fond of this because I’ve never seen one,” she said, adding there’s no powder left in it.

Another item she likes is a Demitasse mug and saucer of Edward VIII.

“I love the ones that look old,” she said about her cups and saucers.

Royal memories: Newton woman enjoys collecting Queen Elizabeth II items

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