Sealand lordships to be offered to stars

CELEBRITIES are to be offered lords and ladies titles of one of the world's smallest nations as a thank you for their perceived support.

Richard Cornwell

CELEBRITIES are to be offered lords and ladies titles of one of the world's smallest nations as a thank you for their perceived support.

Prince Michael Bates of Sealand is offering the titles to writer and producer Danny Wallace, adventurer and TV presenter Ben Fogle, Sir Terry Wogan, Canadian radio personality George Stroumboulopoulos and motoring expert Jeremy Clarkson - people he feels have supported his cause.

The Prince believes they have all helped promote the independent mini-state - which stands just seven miles off Felixstowe - and its aims in the media, with Fogle visiting and devoting a chapter of his travel book Offshore to it, and Wallace claiming it was the inspiration for his own micronation project.

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However, the celebrities views on the invitation or whether they will accept the titles is not known.

The principality was annexed in 1966 by businessman and former army major Roy Bates, Prince Michael's father.

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He installed himself as Prince Roy and his wife as Princess Joan on the fortress, which is not officially recognised by the British Government.

Prince Michael said the honorary titles would be made “in appreciation for their services” to a select group of supporters, including the celebrities.

In addition, Sealand's government has decided to celebrate 30 years since its victory following the forcible takeover by a group of Dutch and German citizens by offering people the chance to have individual noble titles of Lord, Lady, Baron and Baroness in recognition of their support of the state, the former Roughs Tower war-time fort.

Recalling the takeover in August 1978, now 31 years ago, Prince Michael said: “During the invasion I was held prisoner for some four days until I was landed illegally on the Dutch coast.

“We then launched a counter attack, sliding down ropes from a helicopter 100 foot above the raging North Sea, and recaptured our fortress island.”

After Sealand was recaptured, some people were held as “prisoners of war'' initially and then released - except one.

An international row erupted because Gernot Putz, a 34-year-old German lawyer, was thrown into Sealand's jail.

A Sealand passport holder, he was charged with “treason'' - and held for seven weeks before receiving a royal pardon from the fortress island's leading family.

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