After we had written about a few of the 'titles' companies in the UK, we thought we'd seen everything. From dodgy websites to legal loopholes, but we'd never thought we'd come across a Royal family who live on an old war sea fortification, now known as the Principality of Sealand.
Other than being a sovereign nation just off the Uk's shore by Felixstowe, Sealand offers titles to those who purchase them. From Knighthoods to Lordships and Baronships.
The question remains whether they are legit or a complete scam.
Who is Sealand Titles?
Sealand titles is an extremely interesting company and look, and acts, as though it is an arm of an official government, rather than a company using a legal loophole. The reason for this is down to the fact that Sealand is claimed as a sovereign principality that was established in international waters in 1967 by Roy Bates. The company is now owned and run by his one, Michael Bates (known as Prince Michael).
The story goes: On the 24th of December 1966, the Bates family (led by Roy) occupied HM Fort Roughs, an offshore WW2 fortification, and set up a pirate radio station. Roy moved his family prominently to the platform and claimed sovereignty.
As you'd expect, the British government didn't approve of this occupation and set out to destroy the platform and remove the family, leading to a short scuffle (of shots fired) where the UK government backed off. From this day on, Sealand is claimed as the smallest nation on earth, and the Bates as it's the royal family.
We've written a blog post about the story, but you can also purchase the book about the sort online.
Are Sealand Titles Legit?
Well, looking at some of the laws around the practice of bestowing titles, in the UK, a title is given to a person by the state or member of the royal family. Titles such as knighthoods (Sir/Dame) cannot be purchased in the UK.
The question here is whether Sealand is an official state with its own legitimate Royal Family.
While Sealand is not 'officially' regarded (in all senses) as a nation, the family point toward the Montevideo Convention, and there are a number of legal presidents and evidence to suggest that they have been regarded as a sovereign nation by members of states. The family state that they have never needed to be recognised by any other nation-state, but they are a sovereign nation.
As a point of balance, there is room for legal academics to disagree and discount the family's claim to the fortification.
A fascinating story regardless - It makes me want to be part of the journey.
So, if you do follow this line of legal thinking then the royal family of Sealand can certainly bestow you with a real noble title.