Meeting Prince James And Liam Of The Principality Of Sealand. Let’s face it, many people around the world are fascinated with the royals. Just think of the obsession with Princes Diana or the weddings of Harry & Meghan and William & Kate. Royal family intrigue is not typically of interest to me, but I had the awesome opportunity to meet with Prince James and Prince Liam during a recent visit to Europe.
There are many expectations when you are meeting with royalty. Will they be a pompous jerk, a dismissive twerp, or an empty-headed royal? Well, I am pleased to note that Prince James and Prince Liam were down-to-earth, regular guys.
You might not recall seeing Prince James or Liam’s faces splashed across People Magazine or the Daily Mail; they are lesser known royals. The Princes are third generation royals of the Principality of Sealand, an independent sovereign nation found in the North Sea near the port city of Harwich in England. The Principality was founded in 1967 when their grandfather, Prince Paddy Roy Bates, stormed the former military fortification and ejected the current occupiers at that time. To learn more, read about my visit to the Principality of Sealand.
The Principality of Sealand is a very isolated nation and generally does not issue tourist visas. I am fortunate to be associated with the Extreme Travel International Congress. ETIC over many months negotiated with the Royal family and our group was granted the privilege of visiting the Principality. Twenty-five extreme travelers gathered in the port city of Harwich and anxiously waited for the arrival of the two Princes who would escort us to the Principality via boat.
It was our second day gathered in the hotel lobby at the Pier Hotel in Harwich. On Saturday, we were left in frustration as the oceans were too rough to travel to the Principality of Sealand. On Sunday, Poseidon smiled on the 25 intrepid travelers who had gathered in Harwich. As we sipped coffee and tea in nervous anticipation, Prince James and Liam entered the lobby bar. Prince James and Liam, both trim and bearded, struck a casual pose, no royal affect for these two. Both wore jeans, with Prince Liam sporting a dark jacket and Prince James wearing a Principality of Sealand logoed sweatshirt. After a round of handshakes and smiles, the Princes overviewed the process of attaining visas.
The group moved outside of the hotel to receive a briefing by Prince James of what we can expect at the Principality of Sealand. I noted Prince Liam grasping a Principality of Sealand folder, I pondered what state secrets were contained in its pages.
Our group was divided in two smaller groups. I was fortunate enough to be in the first group that boarded the boat for the 45-minute ride to the Principality. The Principality of Sealand appeared on the horizon, a majestic structure being propelled from the ocean depths by two circular columns with a large rectangular platform resting on top. Our boat circled around the platform and I noted a swing on a winch had been dropped from the platform which towered 18 meters over us.
Prince James grabbed the swing from the boat, and Prince Liam adeptly hopped on as the winch deliberately brought him to the platform. Despite being the grandsons of the founder, I marveled at the Princes’ work ethic. No need to hire proletariats, they were willing to do the work themselves.
The Princes formally welcomed us to the Principality of Sealand. They provided us with a formal tour of the facilities and shared more of their experiences growing up in the shadow of this independent nation. Then things settled down, I was able to get some private facetime with both Princes. Prince Liam even made British tea, which we enjoyed in the warm sun, leaning on the railing, just talking. At the end of the day, they were just two regular guys.
After a bit, I broke out my camera and shot a couple of videos to learn more about the Principality and their experiences.
I also had the opportunity to meet Mike, the Director of Homeland Security. There is always at least one person stationed at the Principality. Mike explains his role in this nation-state.
While I did not meet Prince Michael, the father of James and Liam, in person, he joined me on my podcast, Counting Countries, for an extensive conversation. (This is a long interview with many extreme travelers. If you wish to listen to Prince Michael only, go to the 1 hour and 38 minute mark).
Meeting Prince James And Liam Of The Principality Of Sealand