Self-styled Prince Roy of Sealand has died peacefully at the age of 91 years.
Roy Bates life was never dull, at the age of 15 he joined an international brigade as he sought adventure in the Spanish civil war. Returning to Britain he served an apprenticeship at Smithfield meat market before going to Argentina to work on cattle ranches.
With the outbreak of World War II he joined the army and worked his way up to the post of Major in the First Battalion Royal Fusiliers, serving in Africa, Italy, Iraq and Syria to name just a few.
After the war he imported meat from Southern Ireland, Latex from Malaysia and built up an impressive fishing fleet on the Essex coast. He owned butcher shops and wholesale meat suppliers. In the 1960s he developed an interest in pirate radio and ran his own radio station on a Thames ex military fort called Knock John from where he operated Radio Essex.
When the future of pirate radio seemed doomed Roy moved lock stock and barrell to Roughs Towers, seven and half miles off Felixstowe (at that time in International Waters) where he declared the fort an independent state and named it Sealand. The principality had it’s own currency, stamps, flag and passports. Roy became Prince Roy and his ex beauty queen, wife Princess Joan.
Over the years there’s been attempts to overthrow the Prince, all ending in failure. The British Government while technically owning the fort have been powerless to recapture it and therefore it’s been a thorn in their side. There’s been plans to build casinos, hotels and more on the fort, none of these have come to fruition. Still it stands defiant visible from the Felixstowe shoreline.
Just recently Sealand has been back in the news with the plans to host the WikiLeaks website on Sealand and thus outside of control of other nations.
In recent years Prince Roy has suffered ill-health, his passing leaves the world minus a man who’s life was never boring.
Official website www.sealandgov.org