Sky News first met Karen Anvil from Norfolk on Christmas Day at Sandringham just moments after she had captured one of the most striking images of Harry and Meghan taken throughout their engagement.
She had beaten all the professional photographers who were there on the day to get the best photo of Harry, Meghan, William and Kate together – the first time “the Fab Four” had stepped out together.
At the time Ms Anvil didn’t realise the picture would be worth any money but since Christmas Day the photo has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world, making her thousands of pounds and allowing her to do up her house.
She told Sky News that she used to be too embarrassed of her home to encourage her daughter Rachel to invite friends round.
Ms Anvil said: “I wouldn’t let her have friends over, well I would, but I think because we’d had such a bad couple of years with my health and everything had just gone to pot basically.
“I don’t have to work two jobs anymore, I have no debt, I went for the first time away, I got my passport, I’ve never had a passport, I went to Dublin when I turned 40 and that was fun that was amazing. Really good things have come from this.”
With the money from the photograph, Ms Anvil has been able to repair her kitchen and her bathroom, and buy a new bed after months of just sleeping on a mattress. Even her eight pet guinea pigs have been bought new homes.
The Daily Mirror was one of the papers that put the photograph on their front page on Boxing Day.
The newspapers editor Alison Philips said it has all the hallmarks of an iconic image.
She said: “When we chose that picture, it was purely on the merits of the picture, there were other photographers there that day and when we chose the photograph we didn’t necessarily know that it was from an ordinary sightseer there on the day but the story behind it makes it even more special.
“I think the idea that this picture is the beginning of ‘the Fab Four’ and our new monarchy means it will remain in the public imagination for a long time and will be one of the defining pictures we have of various members of the Royal Family.”
In a message to Harry and Meghan, Ms Anvil said: “I wish them all the happiness in the world and they will have a special place in my heart because, unbeknownst to them, they have changed my life and made a real difference for myself, my daughter, my dog, and my guinea pigs, and it may not be anything amazing but it means everything to me. Thank you.”
One thing Ms Anvil hasn’t invested in is a new camera. She says she’s happy to keep using her phone.
:: Sky News will broadcast live in Windsor the week before the royal wedding with all the build up to the big day, with exclusive live coverage of the wedding in UHD in a special programme ?from 9am to 3pm on Sky News and Sky One ?on Saturday 19 May.