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The Royal Family

Sealand Royal Family

The Royal Family circa 1967

HRH Prince Roy of Sealand (Born 1922)

As a young man, “Paddy” Roy Bates served in the British Army, rising to the rank of Major. While in the army, he fought for freedom against the Nazis in North Africa and Italy.

After World War II he became the owner of a large fishing fleet before moving into pirate radio.

From 1965 to 1966 he ran the legendary Radio Essex from Knock John Tower, an abandoned World War II British naval defence platform in the Thames estuary.

In 1966, Bates was convicted of violating British broadcasting law, so he moved his broadcasting equipment to Roughs Tower, another former anti-aircraft platform further out beyond the then boundary of the U. K.’s territorial waters.

Even though Radio Essex never began broadcasting from its new location, Roy Bates decided to stay on Roughs Tower. Bates proclaimed Roughs Tower to be the Principality of Sealand in 1967 and gave himself the title HRH Prince Roy of Sealand.

Prince Roy poured millions into Sealand, transforming the inside of the ugly, wind-battered concrete slab balanced on two giant pillars into a luxurious palace for his family.

“It’s taken a bloody long time to achieve my ambition but I always knew I’d win,” says Prince Roy. “Nobody took me seriously at first, but my lawyer told me I had a legal right to stay on Sealand and make it my Principality. From that day I have been determined to prove the point. I never imagined I would have such a devil of a job, but I don’t regret a moment of it. It’s been a huge adventure. We’ve had a privileged life even if we have had to invent our own privileges. We fought for liberty and won. Isn’t that everybody’s dream?”



HRH Prince Roy of Sealand


HRH Princess Joan of Sealand (Born 1926)

Princess Joan, formerly a famous model from Essex, met Roy Bates when she was 18 years old and married him only six weeks later.

“It’s been a fairytale,” recalls Princess Joan, whose head is featured on the coins of the Principality. “What greater compliment can a man pay to a woman than to make her Princess of her own Principality? I love being able to call myself Princess. When we travel abroad on our Sealand passports we are always greeted with a lot of fuss and treated like royalty.”

Prince Roy and Princess Joan are currently retired and living in Spain.

Sealand Princess Joan


HRH Princess Joan of Sealand

Prince Roy and Princess Joan have two children, the charming Princess Penelope (Born 1950), who lived on Sealand in the Sixties and Seventies, and her brother, “His Royal Highness Prince Michael”. Princess “Penny” has since dropped her Royal title and married a solicitor.

Sealand Prince Michael


HRH Prince Regent Michael of Sealand (Born 1952)

Prince Michael was on Sealand from the start.

“It was the Christmas eve of 1966,” Prince Regent Michael remembers. “I was only 14. It was a funny old setup: very scruffy, with candles and hurricane lamps. I went there in the spring of 1967, on holiday from boarding school, and I ended up not going back. I thought it was a six-week adventure, not 34 years.

In 1978 – then aged 26 – Prince Michael was abducted to the Netherlands by a group of armed Dutch and German soldiers of fortune, who tried to take over Sealand by force. He escaped and helped Prince Roy recapture his country in a daring helicopter assault.

“We phoned a friend who owned a helicopter,” Prince Michael recalls. “He’d performed stunts in James Bond films, but this was the first time he’d done it for real. I descended from the helicopter to the platform with a gun, fired a shot and said: ‘Everyone put their hands up!’ and that was that.”

Prince Michael has been referred to as the “Prince Regent” since 1999 and serves as Sealand’s acting “Head of State” and “Head of Government”.

HRH Prince Regent Michael, who lives on Leigh on Sea on the north coast of England, when he’s not acting as Sealand’s Head of State, also manages the Sealand based high-tech internet hosting company HavenCo and runs a successful cockle fishing business.

Sealand Prince Michael


Prince Regent Michael of Sealand


Prince James (Born 1986) and Prince Liam (Born 1988)

Prince Michael’s sons Prince James and Prince Liam are the Prince William and Prince Harry of Sealand’s Royal Family.

HRH Prince Royal James, heir to the throne of Sealand, represented the Principality of Sealand at the Micronations conference hosted by the University of Sunderland in 2004.

The young princes helped to rebuild the Principality after the disastrous fire of June 23rd 2006. The fire renovations, which were managed by Church & East Ltd, were completed in November 2006.