Jeremiah Heaton of Virginia has laid claim to an 800-square-mile patch of desert between Egypt and Sudan so that his daughter could be a real-life princess of her own kingdom.
While playing at their home in Abington one day, Emily asked him if she could be a real-life princess. Heaton, who works in the mining industry, told her yes, and set out for a way to make that happen.
According to Time magazine
, it all began with him searching for "terra nullius," or unclaimed land, on the Internet. He came across the piece of land about half the size of Connecticut called Bir Tawil by locals, and received permission from Egyptian authorities to visit it.
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"As a parent you sometimes go down paths you never thought you would," Heaton told The Washington Post
. "I wanted to show my kids I will literally go to the ends of the earth to make their wishes and dreams come true."
On his trip to Bir Tawil, Heaton planted a blue flag in the middle of the desert, dubbing it the "Kingdom of North Sudan" on June 16, in honor of his daughter Emily's seventh birthday.
He is the land's self-proclaimed king, and she, its princess.
Heaton said that after planting the flag, he now plans to reach out to the African Union for further recognition of the country.
According to Slate, however, "To be considered a state
under the common definition used by international law, North Sudan would need 'a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.' At the moment, it maybe has b."
In the meantime, congratulations to King Heaton and Princess Emily.
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