Thai royal spends EIGHT HOURS – and at least £20,000 – buying treasures at arcade (and carries them off in 15-car convoy)
Spree: The princess, seen attending a dinner at Buckingham Palace, paid a surprise visit to an antiques centre in an Essex villag
It was a rainy afternoon at the antiques centre and traders were wondering if they’d see another customer before closing time.
Then suddenly all their pay days came at once.
A Thai princess arrived unannounced in a 15-vehicle motorcade and spent the next eight hours snapping up china plates, glass and ornaments.
By the time her shopping spree had finished, many shelves were empty and the dealers were planning celebration suppers.
The surprise visit of Princess Consort Srirasmi happened this week at the Essex village of Battlesbridge, where 80 antiques traders sell their wares.
Sweeping into the car park came a convoy including chauffeur-driven limousines with blacked-out windows, a mini bus and vans.
The 40-year-old princess immediately set about selecting items before an army of assistants labelled them and packed them into boxes.
Dealer Jim Gallie estimated she spent at least £20,000 at different stalls.
‘She was mostly after china,’ he said.
‘She wasn’t buying particularly expensive items – but she bought a lot.
‘One dealer was completely cleared out of Lladro figurines.’
Another seller, Helen Smythe, said the princess bought more than 100 items at her store alone.
They included solid silver and porcelain tea sets, Royal Worcester china and Tupton Ware ceramics, Royal Doulton figurines and more than 30 oil lamps.
It was about 3pm and the rain was falling and I’d been thinking about having a cup of coffee – you just don’t expect a Royal to run up.’ she said.
She added: ‘There were between 15 and 20 people in the party including the princess, diplomats and the royal physician.’
Joe Pettitt said the princess had ‘literally cleaned out’ some traders.
‘Some of them are back out scouring the country to replace the goods she bought,’ he said.
‘It’s great for us because it puts us on the map but also it’s a recession and we need business like this.
‘I really am delighted on behalf of all the dealers here that the princess chose to visit us.’
Trader Jon Bedford, 29, shows off an antique vase snapped up by the Thai princess
Princess Consort Srirasmi spent thousands during an eight-hour shopping spree at the village antiques centre
In July the princess visited another antiques centre, in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, and spent more
than £10,000 on 300 pieces of bone china.