Joan Bates

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Joan Bates
Joan Bates princess of Sealand.jpg
Born Joan Collins
(1929-09-02)2 September 1929
Aldershot Barracks, Hampshire, England
Died 10 March 2016(2016-03-10) (aged 86)
Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England
Title "Princess of Sealand"
Term 2 September 1967 – 10 March 2016
Spouse(s) Paddy Roy Bates
Children Michael Bates
Penelope "Penny" Bates
  • Albert Collins (father)
  • Elizabeth Collins (mother)

Joan Bates (2 September 1929 – 10 March 2016) was the co-founder, with her husband Paddy Roy Bates, of the Principality of Sealand of which they appointed themselves Prince Roy and Princess Joan.

Early life[edit]

Joan Bates was born Joan Collins on 2 September 1929 at Aldershot Barracks, England, the daughter of RSM Albert Collins of the Royal Horse Artillery, and his wife, Elizabeth.[1][2] The family were later stationed at Shoebury Barracks.[1]

As a young woman, Joan was a carnival queen and model who,[3] according to her son Michael, "modelled for all sorts of companies".[4]


Joan met British Army major Paddy Roy Bates at the Kursaal dance hall in Southend-on-Sea, at a time when he was recuperating from serious burns suffered during World War II. They married three months later in 1949[3][5][6] at the Caxton Hall Registry Office in London.[2] They had two children, Penelope "Penny" and Michael.[4]


In the 1960s, Roy and Joan launched a pirate radio station and on Joan's birthday on 2 September 1967, they declared the Principality of Sealand independent, appointing themselves Prince Roy and Princess Joan,[5] thus making Joan the "self-proclaimed ruler of the world's smallest kingdom".[7]


Bates died on 10 March 2016 at a Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, nursing home, following a long illness.[4] Her funeral was held on 17 March, with her coffin draped with the flag of Sealand. She was survived by her two children, four grandchildren, six great grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.[2]

Bates featured on at least one postage stamp issued by the Principality, as well as coins inscribed "Princess Joan".[2]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 2 September 1929 – ?: Miss Joan Collins
  • ? – 2 September 1967: Mrs. Joan Bates
  • 2 September 1967 – 10 March 2016: self-proclaimed: Her Royal Highness Princess Joan of Sealand


  1. ^ a b The Princess of Sealand - self-proclaimed ruler of world's smallest independent state whose kingdom was North Sea platform the size of two tennis courts - dies aged 86. Hugo Gye, Mail Online, 15 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Remembering Sealand’s First Sovereign Princess Joan, 1929-2016. Michael Alexander, Coin Update, 22 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b Joan Bates dead: Founder and 'princess' of Sealand dies aged 86. Cahal Milmo, The Independent, 14 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Joan Bates who raised her family on the principality of Sealand dies aged 86. Harwitch & Manningtree Standard, 16 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b 'Princess' Joan of Sealand independent state dies at 86. BBC News, 14 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  6. ^ ‘Princess Joan of Sealand’: Former carnival queen who became Princess of Sealand after she and her husband Roy set up the 'micro-nation'. Martin Childs, The Independent, 15 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  7. ^ First Princess of Sealand dies aged 86. Caroline Argyropulo-Palmer, The Times, 14 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016. (subscription required)