A man who is obsessed with the royal family has spent more than $10,000 on a dazzling collection of diamond encrusted crowns and tiaras. Michael Blakley, from Taylorsville, Georgia, has collected 65 royal replicas that were custom made for him by the same people who make jewelry for The Crown TV show.
Michael, 30, has a passion to ‘live like a royal’ and has spent an additional $20,000 on transforming his house into a miniature palace. Like a scene straight out of Netflix’s The Crown, his home’s interior is kitted out with sparkling chandeliers and gold-gilded furtniture akin to the sort found in an 1800s royal residence.
Events manager, Michael, said: ‘I have a fascination for the extreme and the complete opposite of what I grew up with. I had a humble upbringing and didn’t have much growing up.
‘This is my way of escaping how we live our lives in modern day. When I have my friends over I wear my tiaras and my crowns and I feel blissful in my element.
‘I want to live uniquely, I actually feel like I was born in the wrong era. I can’t afford to live like a true royal so I am trying to live as close to that as I can.
‘I’ve been collecting crowns and tiaras for several years now, I love them and I’m fascinated by them. They replicate the highest form of royalty and I want in on that.
‘I have about 50 tiaras and 15 replicas of royal crowns. The are as close to the real thing as you can get, I get them all custom made.
‘I never wear them out of the house because there’s nowhere that’s suitable. The only time I wear them is when I’m hosting a dinner party or gathering.
‘I love to entertain just like the royals.’
Michael’s discovered his love for royal jewelry at the age of seven, inspired by his favorite film, Anastasia. As he grew up he said spent his spare time learning about royal families from around the world and developed a specific interest in crown jewels.
He owned his first crown at the age of 11 after begging him mom to get him one for Christmas. Some two decades later and Michael is the owner of stunningly realistic crowns that are worth up to $1300 each.
Some of Michael’s most iconic headpieces are identical to those worn by members of the British, Russian and Dutch royal families.
His favorites include the $700 honeycomb tiara that used to be worn by the Queen Mother and is now regularly worn by Camilla, Dutchess of Cornwall. Michael also has replicas of those worn by Queen Elizabeth II one of which, the royal sapphire tiara, is his heaviest at 3lbs.
‘I love what crowns and tiaras stand for, I love the idea of showing off’, said single Michael.
‘All of mine has Swarovski crystals and are coated in paladium.
‘The most expensive one I have is a Russian diadem, it’s gorgeous, it’s adorned with stones.
‘I’ve probably spent $10,000 on tiaras and crowns. I want to experience as close to royalty as I can.
‘No one lives like this and that’s what I like, I like to be different.
‘I feel like I have more in common with Marie Antoinette than I do with people of today.’
Michael’s love of all things royal stretches beyond crowns and tiara. The entire inside of his house is styled like a ‘royal palace’, Michael said.
His curtains, cutlery, wallpaper, bed, chairs, drawers, wardrobe and dinner table are all antique items some of which date back to the 1800s.
Michael said he has purchased most of his hand-carved French furniture from antique stores or online for several hundred dollars a piece. His gold gilded sofa cost $450 whilst his nightstand and bedroom lamps cost around $3000.
Michael also has gold encrusted designs on his walls similar to those found in a luxury palace and a banquet style dining table that he uses for hosting dinner parties of up to 30 people at a time.
He estimates to have spent between $25,000 and $30,000 on his entire collection of royal items.
Michael said: ‘I just love the royal palace style, all of the pieces I own are special and make me feel special.
‘I do own beautiful things but it’s not a museum. I want my place and my items to be used and enjoyed.
‘I love the lifestyle I have but I do feel like I’d have been better off living in the 1950s.
‘A lot of what I own is expensive but I live a very humble life. I don’t have a job that pays crazy money, I just enjoy a hobby like everyone else.’
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