Hutt River micro-nation founder Prince Leonard dead aged 93
Prince Leonard, founder of the Principality of Hutt River, has died aged 93.
Over the weekend Prince Leonard was admitted to St John of God Hospital in Geraldton with a severe chest infection.
The prince, who stepped down from the throne in 2017, had lived with emphysema for 20 years.
The family confirmed Prince Leonard passed away in his sleep this morning, surrounded by family and friends.
Prince Leonard’s youngest son Prince Graeme, Sovereign of the micro-nation, said his dad lived an incredible life.
“He was a man of small stature but a man of big shoes,” Prince Graeme said.
“He was so sharp of mind right to the last 24 hours, it was incredible.
“His emphysema was manageable but he was susceptible to bugs and he was so frail.
“This time he didn’t have any resistance to fight the infection and he slowly went downhill.
“He’s a man that lived three lifetimes, and he did very well to get to 93.”
The principality, located near Northampton, was founded in 1970 when Leonard Casley declared his farm an independent province following a dispute about wheat production quotas.
With its own currency, stamps and passports, the micro-nation has become a major tourism attraction, with 40,000 visitors each year.
But the principality has faced many battles; in 2016 the Australian Taxation Office filed a writ against the province, claiming Prince Leonard owed around $2.64 million in unpaid taxes.
Prince Leonard ruled over the principality for 47 years before passing the reins to Prince Graeme.
The Principality’s Acting Minister for Electronic Communications Lord Steven Baikie said the border will be closed for three weeks and no visitors will be admitted.
A service will be held in the principality at a later date.
He is survived by seven children and “many grandchildren and great-grandchildren”.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails