Australia’s own heir to the British throne has died. The 14th Earl of Loudoun and Jerilderie councillor Michael Abney-Hastings died on Saturday morning at the age of 69, the Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser reports.
Mr Abney-Hastings is well known in the Jerilderie Shire but is most famous for the 2004 documentary Britain’s Real Monarch, which suggests he should be the King of England in place of Queen Elizabeth II. Mr Abney-Hastings had been battling a debilitating illness and had been in and out of hospital in the lead-up to his death.
But he continued to serve Jerilderie Shire Council to the end and council general manager Craig Moffitt yesterday paid tribute to the “much-loved guy”. “It is very sad,” Mr Moffitt said.
“He was quite a character around the town.” Mr Abney-Hastings was born in Sussex in 1942 and attended a private school in Yorkshire before moving to Jerilderie with his family.
His parents were Captain Walter Strickland Lord and the 13th Countess of Loudoun Barbara Abney-Hastings, making him the 14th Earl of Loudoun.
He made world headlines in 2004 when Britain’s Real Monarch explained King Edward IV was conceived illegitimately, and therefore as the direct descendant of the 1st Duke of Clarence he should be the rightful King.
But Mr Abney-Hastings was voted onto Jerilderie council that same year and decided to focus his energy on that. “He didn’t take his royal position too seriously, at least here in Jerilderie,” Mr Moffitt said.
“He would go over to England for royal ceremonies which he took seriously, but he always found it quite funny.” Mr Abney-Hastings’ funeral will be held from 11am on Thursday at St Joseph’s in Jerilderie.