When 92-year-old great-grandmother Margaret Seaman set out to create a “knitted Sandringham” it was a charity project she thought would simply keep her busy after her husband died.
She could never have imagined that not only would it go on display at the Queen’s Norfolk residence but that she would get to show it to Her Majesty in person.
Mrs Seaman, who spent two years working on the woolly royal residence, knitting up to 15 hours a day, revealed that it was “absolutely wonderful” to meet the Queen and that she had appeared delighted with the efforts.
She began the intricate project in 2019 to raise money for local hospitals but it took off during lockdown, when she ended up spending all of her days – and even some nights – knitting.
The centrepiece is an 18ft-long, 6ft high Sandringham House featuring detailed architecture, chimneys and windows surrounded by knitted trees.
The work is astonishing in its size and detail
Credit: Yui Mok/ PA
Margaret Seaman with the piece, which even features miniature woollen versions of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on a balcony
Other landmarks from the Queen’s estate are featured, including St Mary Magdalene Church, where the monarchy attend the Christmas Day service, and there are even knitted members of the Royal family.
Mrs Seaman, from Great Yarmouth, had visited the estate to take sketches and photographs to aid her work and staff kept in touch with her throughout. The end result was so impressive that they suggested that it go on public display in the Sandringham House ballroom as a “knitting tribute” to her handiwork and dedication.
And as the Queen happened to be in residence last weekend, she popped in for a private viewing.
A royal aide said: “The Queen was able to privately visit over the weekend and was pleased to be able to meet Margaret and hear about the project.”
Mrs Seaman said of the visit: "That was absolutely wonderful, she seemed to enjoy it very much."
She added: "I started it two years ago and knitted the main house the first year and then the second year, while we were in lockdown, I did the remaining buildings, the church and the stables and the museum.
"Although we were in lockdown I was never bored, or never wished I could go out or anything, I was quite happy at home knitting Sandringham – I thoroughly enjoyed it.
"I live with my daughter since I lost my husband and I knit all day. She does everything else and looks after me and does all the cooking – and I knit between 12 and 15 hours a day."
As well as the knitted Sandringham House, the model – which has taken two years to complete – features St Mary Magdalene Church, stables and the Nest Summer House
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children also make an appearance
Mrs Seaman’s creation was originally available to view as a work in progress at the Forum in Norwich and has raised around £3,000 in donations from those impressed by the pensioner’s efforts.
The knitter is fundraising through a JustGiving page for projects at three Norfolk hospitals, including a dedicated breast cancer unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, a maternity bereavement suite at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn and a community improvement project at the James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston-on-Sea.
Visitors to Sandringham will be able to make a donation to the projects and the knitted display forms part of a visit to Sandringham House until Oct 14.