Snap of Royals at Sandringham last Christmas 'like lottery win'

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Image copyright Karen Anvil
Image caption The picture everyone wanted; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Sandringham in 2017

A woman who snapped smiling Royals leaving church last Christmas Day said the photo had been "like a lottery win" and had made her £40,000 so far.

Karen Anvil, 40, who had two jobs, was in the crowd at Sandringham when she captured Princes Harry and William with Kate and Meghan greeting well-wishers.

Sales of the photograph have enabled her take a year off work, clear debts and pay for a house revamp.

Ms Anvil will be poised with her camera outside the Norfolk church this year.

After taking the picture with her phone, she posted it on social media before a professional photographer at the church put her in touch with his agent.

She said by 17:00 GMT the same day, the picture had gone viral and it has since been sold to at least 50 countries, appearing in several editions of Hello and OK!, various British newspapers and on TV stations across the world.

Image copyright Karen Anvil
Image caption Karen Anvil in Paris celebrating her daughter Rachel's 18th birthday

Ms Anvil, from Watlington, Norfolk, said the picture had provided her with a regular monthly income, ranging from £600 to £6,000.

"The biggest change for me was that it was so nice to go shopping at Tesco and not be worried about whether I've got the cash in the bank," she said.

She has used the cash to "do up" her council house, changing the bathroom, kitchen and her bedroom.

One of the first things she bought was a new bed, having spent 18 months sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

"I couldn't afford to replace my bed frame which had broke," she said.

The photo has led to many new experiences, including being chosen to be BBC Radio 5 live's Royal photographer at Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding in May.

Image copyright Karen Anvil
Image caption Karen Anvil took this picture as BBC Radio 5 live's Royal wedding photographer

She managed to talk to Prince Harry after the BBC's One Show put her up against a professional photographer to see who could get the best picture of the royal.

"I asked him if he had seen my Christmas photo and, after looking at me quizzically, he suddenly smiled and said: 'I hope you've been paid a lot of money for it.'"

In May, she bequeathed all earnings from the photo to her daughter Rachel Anvil, to pay for driving lessons and a car.

Miss Anvil, who wants to be an oncology nurse, now hopes to get on the nurse training programme at Addenbrooke's Hospital, where she currently works as a receptionist.

"Mum knew this was a one-off and wanted to use every penny wisely," she said.

"Every penny the photo has made has gone on our family and our home. Even the guinea pigs. I'm so proud of her," she said.

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The photographer has also donated the use of her snap to Crown from the Crowd, a book of Royal photos taken by the public and sold to raise cash for the Help for Heroes charity.

She is planning to return to her day job at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn in February.

Earlier this month mum and daughter went on their first trip abroad, to Paris, to celebrate Miss Anvil's 18th birthday in style.

"It's been an all-round amazing experience," her mum said.

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