‘Rightful King of England’ dies
An Australian forklift driver who some historians argued was the true heir to the British throne has died in the small New South Wales town he called home.
Friday 13 July 2012, 12:12PM
Mike Hastings, 71, was a real-life aristocrat, born the 14th earl of Loudoun, who moved to Australia in 1960 in search of adventure.
He made international headlines in 2004 when a documentary team from Britain’s Channel Four conducted extensive research into the monarchy and concluded his ancestors were cheated out of the crown in the 15th century.
Hastings, an avowed republican, died on June 30 and was buried in Jerilderie, about 750 kilometres southwest of Sydney.
Hastings was a descendant of England’s House of York, whose dynastic struggle with the House of Lancaster became known as the Wars of the Roses and was dramatised by William Shakespeare.
Hastings showed little interest in pursuing his claim to the monarchy when interviewed in 2005, citing the intense public scrutiny endured by the royals.
However, he joked that his claim to the crown could prove lucrative if confirmed.
“I reckon I might send Lizzie (Queen Elizabeth II) a bill for back rent. The old girl’s family have been living in my bloody castle for the last 500 years,” he said.
His son Simon, who now becomes the 15th earl of Loudoun, also appears in no hurry to try to seize the throne.
“It’s something that I’ll have to look into in the near future,” he said ahead of his father’s funeral.