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Thai princess clears shelves during 8-hour, $40,000 UK antique shopping spree

Adrees Latif / Reuters

Royal Consort Princess Srirasmi, left, and Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana take part in the pre-funeral ceremony for Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's late sister Princess Galyani Vadhana in Bangkok in October 2008. Srirasmi recently spent time shopping for antiques in Britain.

LONDON -- A Thai princess stripped the shelves and rang up around $40,000 through the tills of an English antiques center during an eight-hour shopping spree, storeowners said.

Antiques dealers in Battlesbridge, in the southeastern English county of Essex, said Royal Consort Princess Srirasmi of Thailand scooped up hundreds of items and paid for them -- on the spot and in cash – during her visit on Friday.

'Masses and masses of it'
The princess purchased a variety of antiques, including china tea sets, silverware and oil lamps.

“The princess was just choosing things that took her fancy. ... Very decorative items -- but masses and masses of it,” another dealer said.

The princess visited the antiques market accompanied by the Thai Ambassador Kitti Wasinondh, 15 assistants and the royal physician.

Local shopkeepers said they had no prior warning, although a few months ago they were told that a group of VIPs might be visiting in the near future.

“Other celebrities come here from time to time but, yes, that was a bit of an exception,” one local businessman said.

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By the time the princess and her entourage swept out of Battlesbridge in blacked-out limousines, most of the shelves in the antiques market were left bare, witnesses said.

Most of the items Princess Srirasmi purchased were priced between $15 and $60, local business owners said.

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