Two JCU Students Receive Lordships


Wikimedia Commons

Sealand, a man-made island off the coast of the UK, is a self-proclaimed sovereign nation which two JCU students recently became lords of.

Mario Ghosn, Multimedia Editor

Have you ever thought that in any one of your classes, you could be sitting next to European royalty? I did not until my friends, who have too much time on their hands, found out about obtaining lordship titles through the Principality of Sealand.

Sealand is a small, self-proclaimed sovereign state situated on an abandoned naval fort in the North Sea, about 12 kilometers from the coast of Suffolk, England. The micronation was established in 1967 by Roy Bates, a former British Army major who, along with his family, occupied the fort and declared it an independent nation.

Sealand’s history dates back to the aftermath of World War II, when the British government built a series of naval forts in the North Sea for protection from German naval attacks. After the war, the forts were abandoned until the Bates family found out that one tower, the Roughs Tower, was built illegally in international waters. Outside the jurisdiction of any country, the Bates family founded Sealand.

The Principality of Sealand has its own flag, currency, national anthem, and constitution. Its population comprises the Bates family and a few trusted associates that help maintain and protect the structure. Despite its small size, Sealand has been involved in several noteworthy events, including a hostage crisis in 1978 when a German businessman tried to stage a hostile takeover of the micronation.

The legal status of Sealand has been debated since its inception, with the British government not recognizing it as a sovereign state and the United Nations not classifying it as a member state. Nonetheless, Sealand has its own legal system and has been involved in several legal battles.

Sealand is a unique and captivating micronation with an intriguing history and culture. Despite its controversial status, it has managed to thrive and attract attention from around the world, including here at JCU. 

Seniors Nicholas Trybucki and Ryan Samko found the story about Sealand to be both intriguing and motivating; so much so that they decided to become lords of the micronation. While performing research on the principality, they found that Sealand offers various titles for sale. Depending on the budget, an individual can purchase the title of Lord/Lady, Sir/Dame, Duke/Duchess, etc. 

The Bates family declared themselves royalty upon the founding of the principality. Therefore, they found it appropriate to make it possible to bestow titles upon those interested in purchasing them. Nicholas and Ryan decided to do just that, purchasing titles of lordship that come with an official-looking document sporting the signature of Prince Michael, Roy’s son. In the eyes of Sealand, Lord Nicholas and Lord Ryan are official members of the principality. 

I decided to interview the two lords to better understand how lordship has changed their lives. When asked about why they decided to purchase these titles, Lord Ryan stated, “Receiving lordship has provided me with a new level of conceited bliss; a feeling of superiority over my once-fellow peers. It is now socially acceptable for me to address those who are not lords as peasants.” Other than the supposed prestige that comes with being a lord, Lord Nicholas claims there are additional perks that come with it, stating, “Before becoming a lord, I had to approach women at the bar. After becoming a lord, maidens approach me at the pub. Think about that.”

Lords Ryan and Nicholas have high hopes for their lordship. They hope to be addressed at graduation as lords by President Miciak when receiving their diplomas. They are also researching how to change their legal documents to include their new title. 

As ridiculous as this whole ordeal may sound, the purchase of titles from Sealand highlights the allure of prestige and the desire to be part of something unique and exclusive. The idea of owning a title, even if it comes from a micronation with questionable legal status, appeals to some individuals. Lord Ryan encapsulated this concept by stating, “Receiving lordship has been a unique experience and opportunity. Learning the rich history of Sealand has been engrossing. One day, I hope to visit the country that has granted me such a privileged title.” 

However, it’s important to recognize that the titles purchased from Sealand hold no legal significance outside of the micronation. In fact, some may view the purchase of such titles as frivolous and lacking in substance.

Regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, the story of Sealand and its sale of titles adds to the list of unique and unusual phenomena that exist in the world. It serves as a reminder that there is always something new to discover and explore.