The collection includes some personal letters that will not be sold.
By AMY HOUSLEY
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A former Warren woman is making news with her collection of royal memorabilia.
Alicia Carroll, the former Carol Kirk, will auction off her personal collection.
She operates Everything Royal, a business in Los Angeles that specializes in selling those types of items. No date or site have been chosen.
Carroll became interested in the memorabilia more than 20 years ago because of the amount of exposure the royal family received. She describes the catalogs of memorabilia she found at that time as "pathetic."
After deciding she could do better, she advertised a catalog she hadn't even put together yet. She had an overwhelming response of requests, which launched her into the business.
Carroll made contacts in England and began collecting. With the demand in the United States, she had little trouble selling here. She also built up her personal collection, which includes bracelets that belonged to Princess Diana, a box from the wedding cake of Diana and Prince Charles and personal letters.
"I remember the day I got my first letter," Carroll said, reflecting on her early days of collecting. She said that now, "it's time to let someone else enjoy them."
She had hoped to open a museum but the cost was prohibitive. An alternative she also considered was traveling with her collection, but the cost and the demands of traveling prevented it.
Everything Royal makes about $500,000 each year. The business will continue, even though Carroll will be selling her personal collection, valued in the millions.
"Now's the time to do it," Carroll said of her plans for the auction.
Since word of the auction got out, the press response has been overwhelming. She's hoping the added exposure will attract a private buyer for the collection, which she would like to keep together.
One letter generating a lot of interest was written by Charles dated less than a year before he married Diana. In it, he makes a reference to Camilla Parker Bowles, the woman who is blamed for breaking up the royal marriage.
Some of the other letters in the collection include ones written by Diana after her honeymoon and around the time of the births of her sons, Princes William and Harry.
Carroll said she has four letters she will never sell because of the personal nature of the contents. She also plans to keep one of Diana's bracelets and some photos.
"It's very hard to part with the things. I wouldn't do anything to offend the royal family," Carroll said, crediting them with giving her a livelihood.
Along with her trips to England, Carroll said she often returns to the Warren area. Her parents, Fran and Elsie Mendenhall, live in Bazetta.
When it comes to choosing between family and work, Carroll said, "my family comes first."