Prince Michael of Sealand on Unconventional Fatherhood - The Rebel Dad: Founding a Nation

Prince Michael of Sealand on Unconventional Fatherhood - The Rebel Dad: Founding a Nation
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In this firstย article-interview of our five-part series, "My Dad Founded a Country," Prince Michael of Sealand offers a unique perspective on unconventional fatherhood, sharing intimate insights into his father's rebellious spirit and the extraordinary events leading to the founding of Sealand. From Roy Bates' early entrepreneurial pursuits with pirate radio to the audacious declaration of Sealand's independence, Michael recounts his experiences as a young boy witnessing his father's unwavering determination and defiance. Through this interviews, Michael reveals the profound impact his father's belief in possibilities, courage, and resilience had on shaping him into the person he is today.

Join us in the upcoming weeks as we delve deeper into the extraordinary story of Sealand and the remarkable legacy of Roy Bates, as told through the eyes of his son.

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Interview with Prince Michael of Sealand about his Dad, Roy Bates, founding theย Principality of Sealand


Can you take us back to the very beginning? When did you first realise your Dad wasn't planning a normal life?

Prince Michael of Sealand:

"My father was the quintessential straight-backed, well-spoken British army officer. He was very proud to have retired from the army after the Second World War with the rank of Major.ย ย 

He was a paradox of a man in many ways.ย  He would dress up in a 'Saville Row' suite one day (his London Taylor's displayed a magnificent undelivered due to war breaking out with France, uniform made for the Emperor Napoleon in their shopfront) to attend to business interests, and the next day be at sea on a fishing boat battling the elements.ย  ย ย 

I knew our life would be different when, at sea with him one day, he announced to me that he wanted to get involved with a new phenomenon, 'offshore radio' or 'pirate radio' as the government described it, to the delight of the press.ย ย 
He pointed to a distant naval fortress on the horizon and said, let's go over and have a look at it.

The Knock John fort had been abandoned by the British government since the early fifties and was outside of UK three mile territorial waters.

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We both climbed up the rickety ladder to the main deck and toured the fortress. It was amazing and a real adventure for a twelve year old boy.ย ย 

When Dad got home, he commissioned the building of a transmitter and studio equipment.ย I returned to boarding school in Wales, but the Christmas holidays saw my whole family, including our cat, spending a week or so on the fortress and the now up-and-running 'Radio Essex.'ย "


Were there times when you felt scared, worried or excited about your dad's determination to create Sealand?

Prince Michael of Sealand:ย 

"When my Dad and I, along with some of the Radio Essex DJs, took over Sealand on Christmas Eve 1966 (then called Roughs Tower, another ex-naval fortress in international waters), I was just a fourteen-year-old boy, home from boarding school for the Christmas holidays.ย 

Doing this kind of stuff was starting to seem normal to me, and I just took it in my stride. In fact, I really enjoyed the adventure. It was the kind of thing none of my friends would ever do."


Tell us about a time Roy faced a massive setback in the early days. How did he react, and what did that show you?

Prince Michael of Sealand:

"I suppose Dad's first major setback was the government's bringing in the Marine Offences Act in an attempt to silence pirate radio stations. They also found his station to be inside UK jurisdiction. It is for this reason we moved to 'Roughs Tower.'ย 

But it didn't finish there with constant petty official interference from the Customs and Board of Trade bureaucrats.ย So, my father decided to declare independence and created the Principality of Sealand."


Looking back, how do you think your father's rebellious spirit shaped the kind of person you became?

Prince Michael of Sealand:

"My father taught me that anything is possible in life, to never give up, to never bow down to anyone, and to be courageous in defending myself and my family."

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Conclusion

Prince Michael's stories about his father, Roy Bates, remind us that fatherhood comes in many forms. It's not just about nurturing and providing; it's also about embracing a spirit of adventure, resilience, and the courage to create your own path. This Father's Day, let's celebrate all the unconventional dads out there โ€“ the dreamers, the rebels, the ones who inspire us to think outside the box. Just as Roy Bates built a nation on aย fortress in the North Sea, every father plays a unique role in building the foundations of their children's lives.

So, here's to the unconventional dads โ€“ the ones who make fatherhood a truly extraordinary adventure. Happy Father's Day!

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Lord Andrew Richards

A close friend and I became lords of Sealand last year. I am very proud to know I have a small part in supporting this very noble endeavor. Best of luck to Prince Michael as Sealand continues to show the world what true freedom looks like. Cheers!

May 17, 2024 at 23:46pm
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Baron Samuel Troy Miller

I have enjoyed the fact that if you put your mind to something it can be done. Glad to be a part of Sealand in a very small way. Let me know if you ever have a sale on becoming a Duke..

May 17, 2024 at 21:25pm

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