Sealand: Prince Roy dies

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POSTED: October 12, 2012

On October 9th an era came to an end at Sealand, when, according to the Buxton Advertiser, the micronation’s founding Prince Roy died at the age of 91 in “a care home in Leigh-on-Sea after a long battle with Alzheimer’s”.

The Principality of Sealand

The Principality of Sealand was founded in 1975 by Roy Bates, on his wife’s birthday. Its motto is E Mare Libertas (From the Sea, Freedom).

Bates had been occupying it as a commoner since 1967, when it had formed part of the wave of offshore pirate radio stations, These ranged from massive popular successes like Radio Caroline and Radio London, to exotic and eccentric fringe stations like Radio Sutch. Bates was part of the fringe.

Prince Roy fought numerous battles to establish the legitimacy of the Principality as a sovereign nation, although none of these were eefinitively conclusive one way or the other. He claimed that both Britain and Germany had, in different ways both recognised the right of the state to exist. They both denied it. Neither side forced the issue.

The Principality went on to issue stamps, coins and passports, and in 2000 The Guardian published a lengthy article about its history and continued existence. At approximately the same time Sealand established a “free data haven”, a kind a proto-Pirate Bay, which ceased operating some years later under mysterious circumstances.

The flag of Sealand

Nonetheless, those who wish to may still purchase titles from the government of Sealand, complete with official ID, along with a number of other official items. Those who possess titles may also make use of a sealand email address. Passports are no longer issued, however, since an incident in which a number of fake passports were implicated in international criminal activities.

The Principality is now in the hands of Crown Prince Michael. We wish him, his mother Princess Joan, and his sister Princess Penny, all our condolences and await further developments both in Sealand and in any of the other micronations whose existence makes everything just a little less dull.