Royal fanatic unveils massive memorabilia collection

·2 min read
Derek Saikali stands in front of some of the pieces in his Royal collection. (Sannah Choi/CBC - image credit)
Derek Saikali stands in front of some of the pieces in his Royal collection. (Sannah Choi/CBC - image credit)

For decades, Derek Saikali has been collecting various pieces of Royal mementos and storing them in his suburban Ottawa basement.

Now for the first time ever, he's brought out thousands of items dedicated to the Royal family and displayed them around his house to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's death.

"I didn't even realize that I had this much stuff until I started taking it out," said Saikali.

"I find every piece is a piece of history."

Collection dates back to 1837

The Kanata resident started collecting items in 1977 for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. His vast collection now ranges from memorabilia of Queen Victoria's coronation in 1837 and King Edward's abdication in 1936, to recent items like Funko Pop bobbleheads and cookie tins commemorating Royal births.

Sannah Choi/CBC
Sannah Choi/CBC

"They just find me," he said when looking at the hundreds of plates, teacups and towels adorning his kitchen.

He said he's found many of the pieces in flea markets and antique shops in Canada and the U.K., but mostly credits his friends for bringing back items from holidays and vacations.

"My friends know about this collection. I don't think they realize the extent," he said.

Saikali said his most cherished piece is a bright and vibrant portrait of the Queen that he commissioned Ottawa artist Cor Beattie to paint a few years ago.

"I just had two stipulations: it had to be the Queen from the '50s and she had to wear a tiara," he said.

Numerous sightings of the Queen

Sannah Choi/CBC
Sannah Choi/CBC

Saikali doesn't have direct ties to England but has been fascinated by the Royal family and their sense of duty since the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

He has seen Queen Elizabeth II several times from a distance — when she visited Ottawa and when he visited London for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. He recalled the excitement and energy of seeing the Queen's flotilla in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

"It was incredible," Saikali recalls. "Like there was such energy and love for the Queen."

'Back into the vault'

Submitted by Derek Saikali
Submitted by Derek Saikali

Saikali said he plans to watch the Royal funeral on Monday at home with some friends.

"[The Queen] left a great legacy behind. I think she'll be remembered really fondly," said Saikali.

He said after the funeral he's going to put all of the memorabilia "back into the vault" in his basement.

He plans to keep adding to his collection, which now includes all European royal families.

Submitted by Derek Saikali
Submitted by Derek Saikali