The Principality of Hutt River, the oldest micronation in Australia, has finally received an official nod from Australia’s head of state.
Prince Leonard, the sovereign of Hutt River, 595 km north of Perth, has received a letter with the Queen’s good wishes on the anniversary of the principality seceding from Australia 46 years ago today, on April 21, 1970.
The principality is 75 square km in area, about the size to Hong Kong if the New Territories are excluded.
The letter from Buckingham Palace is signed by Mrs Sonia Bonici, Senior Correspondence Officer.
It reads in part:
“I am to convey Her Majesty’s good wishes to you and to all concerned for a most enjoyable and successful celebration on 23rd and 24th of April to mark the forty-sixth anniversary of the Principality of Hutt River.”
The Queen was replying to a letter from Prince Leonard congratulating her on her 90th birthday. The sovereign of the Principality of Hutt River himself turned 90 last year.
The prince is recovering from a recent fall requiring six stitches. However, his family says he is in fine form.
Prince Leonard, who was the farmer Leonard Casley before establishing the principality, has invited all Australians to join with him in celebrating the anniversary of Hutt River and the Queen’s 90th.
Hutt River, now a significant tourist attraction with its own coins and stamps, broke away from Australia over a dispute on the size wheat quotas.
Prince Leonard later received a letter from then Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck addressing him as the “Administrator of the Hutt River Province” which was, he said, legally binding recognition of the principality.
The principality has its own royal family, including a crown prince, Ian, who is the Grand Duke of Hutt and the prime minister, and an honours list which regularly appoints new knights and dames, whose appointment is no longer done from within the Order of Australia.
The 46th anniversary celebrations kick off this weekend with the release of a special edition of stamps and the public announcement of honours recipients.
There will be award presentations in Princess Shirley’s Chapel of Nain at the principality. Princess Shirley was the late wife of Prince Leonard.
Pies, pasties, sausage rolls, hot and cold drinks will be available in the principality tea rooms.
Here is the letter from the Queen: