Paddy Roy Bates

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Paddy Roy Bates
Prince of Sealand
Reign 2 September 1967 - 9 October 2012[1]
Coronation None
Predecessor Office created
Successor Michael Bates
Spouse HRH Princess Joan
Issue Michael Bates
Penny Bates
Dynasty Bates
Father Harry Bates
Mother Lilyan Bates
Born (1921-08-29)29 August 1921
Ealing, London, England
Died 9 October 2012(2012-10-09) (aged 91)
Leigh-on-Sea, England

Prince Paddy Roy Bates (29 August 1921 – 9 October 2012) was a British pirate radio broadcaster and founder of the Principality of Sealand.[2] He was also a military man holding the rank of major.[3]

Before Sealand[edit]

Bates was born in Ealing, London in 1921.[4] He served in the British Army, rising to the rank of major, and being injured several times.[5] Bates was at the Battle of Monte Cassino in the Italian campaign, and had been with the Eighth Army in North Africa.[6] He then became a fisherman before moving into pirate radio.[7]

In 1965, he ousted Radio City staff who had occupied Knock John Tower, a Maunsell Sea Fort (a World War II British naval defence platform).[8] Using the military equipment that was left on the platform, Bates used an old United States Air Force radio beacon to broadcast his station. From Knock John Tower, he ran Radio Essex from 1965 to 1966 and succeeded in becoming the first pirate radio station to provide 24 hour entertainment. The station changed its name in October 1966 to Britain's Better Music Station (BBMS) after Bates had been convicted of violating Section One of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949. Bates was then fined £100 for his continued illegal broadcasting. Due to insufficient funds, BBMS went off the air on Christmas Day of 1966.[7][9]

Formation and administration of Sealand[edit]

Royal Standard of the Prince of Sealand.

Bates moved his operation to the nearby Roughs Tower, another Maunsell Fort further out beyond the then boundary of the United Kingdom's territorial waters, but, despite having the necessary equipment, he never began broadcasting again.[7] On 14 August 1967, the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act of 1967 came into effect which forbade broadcasting from certain marine structures, namely platforms such as Bates'.[10] 19 days later, on 2 September 1967, Bates declared the independence of Roughs Tower and deemed it the Principality of Sealand.[3]

Ronan O'Rahilly of another pirate radio station, Radio Caroline, along with a small group of men, tried to storm the platform that Bates claimed. Bates and company used petrol bombs and guns to thwart O'Rahilly's attempt. As a result of the conflict, the Royal Navy went to Roughs Tower and were the recipients of warning shots fired by Bates's son, Michael, when they entered what Bates claimed to be Sealand's territorial waters.[3]

Bates and his son were arrested and charged in a British court with weapons charges. The court threw out the case, claiming that the British court did not have jurisdiction over international affairs as Roughs Tower lay beyond the territorial waters of Britain.[3] Bates took this as de facto recognition of his country and seven years later issued a constitution, flag, and national anthem, among other things, for the Principality of Sealand.[1][11]

Invasion and recapture of Sealand[edit]

In 1978, a German businessman, along with other Germans and Dutch, invaded Sealand and took Bates's son, Michael, hostage. Prince Roy and others then launched a counterattack in the early hours of the morning to recapture the fort. He held the German and Dutch men as prisoners of war. Because one had accepted a Sealand Passport, he was held and convicted of treason while the rest were released.[2] Germany then sent a diplomat to Britain to ask for intervention but Britain claimed they did not have jurisdiction. Germany then sent a diplomat to Sealand directly to negotiate the release of the prisoner.[3] He was released, and the act of diplomatic negotiation is claimed by Roy to be de facto recognition of Sealand, while Germany denies it.[5]

Later life and death[edit]

Bates retired and lived in England during his later life. Prince Michael is now in charge of the administration of Sealand as Prince Regent, though he lived on the British mainland.[3] On 9 October 2012, Bates died quietly at a care home in Leigh-on-Sea[12] after having suffered from Alzheimer's for several years.[13][14] His funeral took place at Southend-on-Sea Crematorium.[15] His death left his widow Joan, Prince Regent Michael, and his daughter Penny.[13] Michael reacted to his father's death by recalling him as a "huge, huge character."[12] "I might die young or I might die old, but I will never die of boredom," Bates said in a 1980s interview.[12]

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Monarchical styles of
Roy Bates,
Prince of Sealand
Sealand Coat of Arms.svg
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 29 August 1921 - 2 September 1967: Mr. Paddy Roy Bates
  • 2 September 1967 – 9 October 2012: His Royal Highness Prince Roy, The Sovereign Prince of Sealand

Full title as Prince[edit]

His Royal Highness Prince Paddy Roy Bates, The Sovereign Prince of Sealand

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Helen Nugent (8 January 2007). "World's tiniest country seeks new owners to fly the flag". The Times. Times Newspaper Ltd.. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  2. ^ a b Strauss, Erwin. How to Start Your Own Country, Paladin Press, 1999, p. 132, cited in admin (20 September 2008). "A Brief History of Sealand". Historia Infinitas. Retrieved 11 May 2011
  3. ^ a b c d e f Ryan, John; Dunford, George; Sellars, Simon. Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations, Lonely Planet Publications, 2006, p. 9-12.
  4. ^ The Telegraph
  5. ^ a b Bermingham, Finbarr (5 April 2011). "An Interview with Prince Michael of Sealand". Scrawls and Bawls. Retrieved 11 May 2011
  6. ^ Bannister, Matthew. BBC Radio 4, Friday, 26 October 2012.
  7. ^ a b c Edwards, Chris; Parkes, James (19 October 2000). "Radio Essex" and "Britains Better Music Station". Off Shore Echoes. Retrieved 11 May 2011
  8. ^ Frank Jacobs (20 March 2012). "All Hail Sealand". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ "Prince Roy of Sealand". The Daily Telegraph (London). 11 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Marine, &c., Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967". The National Archives. Retrieved 11 May 2011
  11. ^ "Initial Challenge to Sealand's Sovereignty". Official Website of Sealand. Retrieved 11 May 2011
  12. ^ a b c Lawless, Jill (10 October 2012). "'Prince Roy of Sealand' Roy Bates dead at 91". The Press-Enterprise (London). Associated Press. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Prince Roy of Sealand aka Roy Bates (passed away 9th October 2012) Obituary". Sealand News. 10 October 2012. 
  14. ^ Jill Lawless (AP) (2012-10-10). "Roy Bates, self-proclaimed prince who turned wartime fort into 'nation' of Sealand, dead at 91". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  15. ^ "'Prince of Sealand' Roy Bates dies in Essex". BBC. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
Regnal titles
New title
Sealand established
Prince of Sealand
(unrecognised)

1967–2012
with Prince Michael as Prince Regent (1999 - 2012)
Succeeded by
Michael Bates