Founder of Sealand passes away aged 91

LEGEND: Paddy Roy Bates, widely attributed to have started the concept of micronationalism, has passed away aged 91.

Leigh-on-Sea, England, Oct 12 – Paddy Roy Bates, founder of the Principality of Sealand and widely considered to be the father of micronationalism, has died.

He was 91 years old.

Bates, more well-known by his micronational title of Prince Roy, occupied the WWII-era Fort Roughs offshore platform in 1967 and declared his independence from Britain. He built upon this base in 1975 by adding a currency and constitution.

Bates had fought in the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War before opening up several enterprises in Britain. He entered pirate radio in the 1960s. British attempts to shut him off prompted him to take Fort Roughs and declare independence on September 2, 1967.

Bates passed away on Wednesday (NZDT) from Alzheimer’s disease in a retirement home in the English town of Leigh-on-Sea. The announcement of his passing was made public by the Sealand government early yesterday morning.

Micronations across the world have mourned his passing, with many announcing official days of mourning and some bestowing posthumous honours on him.

“We all have to thank Prince Roy for micronationalism.” Premier Daniel Anderson said in a statement yesterday. “Were it not for him the micronational community would be very small, if around at all. He was a true icon. One simply cannot put into words the effect he had on us. Sirocco, like many other micronations, was partly inspired by him. His passing is a great tragedy, and today is a sad day for every micronation, from New Zealand to America, Britain to Australia. He will be remembered as the father of micronationalism, and he rightly deserves his place up there with Emperor Norton himself.”

Flags across Sirocco have been lowered to half-mast in his honour, with the Premier announcing three days of national mourning from yesterday.

Bates will be posthumously awarded the Order of the Commonwealth, Sirocco’s highest and rarest honour, tomorrow.

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