To say Prince Roy – formerly Roy Bates – lived an interesting life would be the greatest of understatements.
An obituary published on the Sealand government website, details how Roy fought with the international brigade in the Spanish civil war aged 15 and did an apprenticeship at Smithfield meat market with a plan to move to Argentina and run cattle ranches for a rich Lord.
Always seeking adventure, he signed up for the Second World War and became an infantry Major in the First Battalion Royal Fusiliers City of London Regiment, serving in the 8th India division.
He was a POW, tried to escape by stealing a fishing boat and narrowly escaped execution.
Wounded several times, he claimed to have enjoyed the war and was proud to serve his country, despite breaking away from the UK in forming Sealand.
He imported meat from the south to the north of the UK and had a chain of butchers, brought latex from Malaysia to make flippers and formed a fleet of fishing boats on the Essex coast.
In the 60’s he launched pirate radio station Radio Essex on the Knock John forts.
He was prosecuted for the illegal radio broadcasts and moved his family to the fortress island Roughs Towers, off Felixstowe in the North Sea.
On the island he declared independence from the UK and dubbed it the Principality of Sealand – he was Prince and his wife would be its Princess.
He had stoushes with the British government and faced terrorist attacks, but from all accounts, was an all-in-all, one-of-a-kind champion.
Roy said this in a TV interview in the 80s: “I might die young or I might die old, but I will never die of boredom.”
He’s survived by his wife Joan and son Michael and daughter Penny.
Image via Getty
— Sealand (@SealandGov) October 10, 2012