Hutt River’s Prince Leonard dies aged 93

Prince Leonard in late 2014.
Prince Leonard in late 2014.

PRINCE Leonard, founder of the Principality of Hutt River in Western Australia, has died aged 93 with family at his bedside.
The self-proclaimed prince, who had a long battle with emphysema, was admitted to St John of God Geraldton Hospital at the weekend with a severe chest infection and died on Wednesday.
Leonard Casley set up the legally unrecognised independent state at a 75sq km property in WA’s Mid West region following a row over wheat production quotas in 1970.
He abdicated to his youngest son Graeme in 2017.
In a statement authorised by Prince Graeme, the family thanked hospital staff “for their loving care” and those who sent messages of support, adding the loss of Prince Leonard was a “great blow”.
“Your kind thoughts and actions are a blessing during this time and we benefit greatly from them,” the statement read.
“All love and support will be greatly appreciated through the rough days ahead as Prince Leonard is laid to rest.”
The border gates will be closed for three weeks of mourning.
The family is planning a private cremation service and Prince Leonard’s ashes will be scattered at a separate special memorial on another day.
Prince Leonard was married for more than 66 years to Princess Shirley Joy Casley, who died in 2013.
He is survived by his seven children, 22 grandchildren more than 30 great-grandchildren.
While it has never been recognised by the state or commonwealth governments, the Principality of Hutt River received a letter from Queen Elizabeth II in 2016 on its 46th anniversary.
The tourist attraction even has its own postage stamps and currency, about 10,000 non-resident citizens and a treaty with indigenous land owners.
But the “royal” family was hit with a $3 million tax bill in 2017, with Prince Leonard ordered to pay $2.7 million and his son Arthur to pay more than $240,000.
WA Supreme Court Justice Rene Le Miere dismissed their arguments as bizarre, irrelevant and gobbledygook.
“Anyone can declare themselves a sovereign in their own home but they cannot ignore the laws of Australia,” he said at the time.