PORT Kennedy resident Chris Smith received a surprise award from the Principality of Hutt River, just days before its founder Prince Leonard died.
‘Sir Christopher Smith’ said he was gobsmacked when the knighthood arrived in the mail and still has no idea who nominated him.
Hutt River’s New Year’s Eve Honours List recognised Mr Smith’s 38 years of voluntary work and determination in the face of life-changing injuries.
Mr Smith was 34 when he received head injuries at the hands of bikies while on duty as a police officer. His injuries were so severe he was resuscitated twice.
Mr Smith began volunteering after he was medically retired from the police, becoming involved with a local women’s shelter and serving as president for a group of medically retired officers.
Mr Smith is still an active Justice of the Peace, serving in the Rockingham Courthouse, and said he didn’t shy away from getting new business cards printed up with his new title.
“The award arrived three or four weeks ago. I’ve never been to Hutt River Province but I’m now a Knight Commander of the Illustrious Order of Merit,” he said.
“I received an Order of Australia Medal a few years back and felt just as proud when I opened this award.”
Hutt River’s self-proclaimed ruler of 47 years, Leonard Casley, handed the reins to his son Prince Graeme in 2017 before a chest infection claimed Leonard’s life on February 19, aged 93.