Prince Leonard of Hutt River remembered in final goodbye to principality patriach
Prince Leonard Casley, the founder and first sovereign of the principality of Hutt River, has been remembered as a humble and down-to-earth man who was not afraid to fight for what he believed in.
On Sunday about 200 people gathered in the principality’s capital Nain — about 93km from Geraldton –– to say a final goodbye to the 93-year-old patriarch.
The self-proclaimed prince, who seceded from Australia and formed the micro-nation in 1970, died in February. During the service, friends, relatives, neighbours and supporters shared stories about the man who was no stranger to thumbing his nose at authority.
When Prince Leonard was nine he sold wildflowers to cruise ship tourists without a permit, and after serving in World War II he went up against agricultural boards.
He became a household name when the family withdrew from the Commonwealth on April 21, 1970, after a dispute with the State Government over wheat production quotas.
Prince Leonard’s youngest son Prince Graeme said his father had touched many lives during his 47-year reign.
“He welcomed everyone who came here and his eyes always lit up whenever he got a next level question about Hutt River, life, mining, anything,” he said.
As pictures of Prince Leonard were displayed, Frank Sinatra’s My Way played in the background — a fitting song for the rebel farmer who went up against the State, Federal and British governments.
A headstone dedicated to Prince Leonard was unveiled opposite the headstone for his wife Princess Shirley Joy Casley, who died in 2013. Prince Leonard’s ashes were then scattered around the headstone.
“Now dad will never have to leave home again,” Prince Graeme said.
The service was also a chance to celebrate the Principality’s 49th anniversary, with the family planning celebrations for next year’s golden anniversary.
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