Sunday 25 February 2018

Forklift driver claiming to be 'rightful king of England' dies

Jonathan Pearlman in Sydney

An Australian who purported to be the rightful king of England, the 14th Earl of Loudoun, has died aged 69 in his hometown where he worked as a forklift truck driver.

Michael Abney-Hastings, or "King Michael", was a British-born self-proclaimed republican who made headlines in 2004 when a Channel 4 documentary suggested that Edward IV was conceived illegitimately.

It said the crown should have been passed down the Plantagenet line -- ending at Mr Abney-Hastings.

Mr Abney-Hastings was born in Sussex and went to school at Ampleforth College in Yorkshire but moved as a teenager with his family to the small Australian town of Jerilderie, about 400 miles from Sydney.

His "claim" to the throne first became apparent after the documentary, 'Britain's Real Monarch', put forward a thesis by Dr Michael Jones, a historian, who said Edward IV, who reigned from 1461 to 1483, was conceived when his parents were 100 miles apart.

At the time, according to a document unearthed by Dr Jones in a library in Rouen, France, Edward's supposed father, Richard, third Duke of York, was said to be fighting the French near Paris, while his mother, Lady Cecily Neville, was at court in Rouen.

Lady Cecily was also rumoured to be having an affair with a local archer named Blaybourne. It was therefore proposed that Mr Abney-Hastings, the direct descendant of George Plantagenet, first Duke of Clarence and brother of Edward IV, should be the rightful king.

When the claim was raised with Mr Abney-Hastings, he said: "Titles don't mean much out here and I have no intention of leaving Jerilderie." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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