Sealand is an unrecognized state that mints currency, prints stamps, issues passports, grants noble titles (the singer of Ed Sheeran is a baron) and has been holding out for 52 years now (and until a few years ago also had a national football team). This “island” is located 7 miles off Sussex, England. HavenCo, The Pirate Bay, Wikileaks wanted to base their servers on it, but it didn’t work.
Michael of Sealand, prince of the smallest state in the world
Michael Bates (in the photo above), is the Prince Regent. We met him in Genoa, Italy, where he was the host of a meeting organized by Fabio Pozzo, journalist for La Stampa, about his crazy story.
A utopia, an island that does not exist. It was founded by a former major of the British Army and entrepreneur, by Michael’s father, Paddy Roy Bates, on 2 September 1967. Bates hoisted the white and blue flag on a former military platform that he had occupied and defended with weapons some time before, located 7 miles from the southeast coast of England (then in international waters), in front of the port of Felixstowe.
He proclaimed himself prince and made his wife, former model Joan Collins, his princess. Since then, Sealand’s history has lived through storms and waves, assaults of coup d’état and failed deals with hackers, dreams and devastating fires, always keeping faith with the motto “E mare, libertas” (From the sea, freedom)”. Now the family tradition is carried on by Michael Roy Bates, also known as Prince Michael of Sealand. He has claimed the title of “Prince of Sealand” since 2012.
Would it be possible to create another Sealand today?
“No, I don’t think so – Prince Michael s say Well, you know, it was a different time. I think we were lucky because today I do not believe that any state would allow you to do what my father did.”
What do you like most about being Prince of Sealand?
“Well, no doubt, the experiences. Ever since a group of people tried to take the island by force. Or the fact that I receive invitations from all over the world by people that I don’t know. As well as now, for example. I’ve been to many places in a “special” way. Without Sealand would not have happened.”