Most of us help our daughters become princesses or our sons become princes by giving them a makeshift crown, robe or sparkly clothes to wear.
However, one American dad has gone one step further. He has ‘claimed’ an uninhabited East African piece of land (or kingdom as he’s calling it) so that his 7-year-old daughter can be a real princess.
It all started when Jeremiah Heaton, from Virginia, was asked by his daughter, “Daddy, will I ever be a real princess?”
“The only answer I could give my sweet little girl was, ‘Yes, of course you will be a princess one day!’” he wrote on Facebook.
But this wasn’t the normal kind of, dare we say it, slightly empty parent-type promise made to please a fairytale-loving daughter. Oh no, this American dad was serious.
“As a father I do my very best to not make empty promises to my children. At the time I had no idea how I would honour her wish but I knew that I had to find a way,” he said.
So, after weeks of research, he discovered Bir Tawil – 800 square miles of desert territory that falls between the borders of Egypt and Sudan.
“Amazingly, Bir Tawil is the very last piece of Earth unclaimed by any Nation or man,” he said.
Delighted with his discovery, Jeremiah caught a flight to Egypt and then travelled 14 hours in a caravan to plant the flag – designed by his children – on the soil of Bir Tawil.
Jeremiah says his “physical clam on the land” has “the full support of the Egyptian government”.
“Therefore, so be it proclaimed on June 16, 2014, Emily’s 7th birthday, that Bir Tawil shall be forever known as the Kingdom of North Sudan. The Kingdom is established as a sovereign monarchy with myself as the head of state; with Emily becoming an actual Princess,” he announced.
“I kindly request that when you see Emily, to address her by official title, Princess Emily. Each time she hears this title she will be reminded of my love and the lengths I will go to fulfill her every wish,” he added.
One of Princess Emily’s first concerns was that children who were passing through her kingdom would have enough food. “We discussed what we could do to help,” explains Jeremiah. The family decided that they wanted to try to turn North Sudan into an agricultural hub for the area using technology to help with agriculture and water. Given that Sudan is facing its worst-ever famine and is struggling with a bitter civil war, it’s no small feat.
Meanwhile, Jeremiah still needs to get his ‘ownership’ recognised firstly by Sudan and Egypt, and then by the rest of the world.
Not that this will stop Daddy’s little princess feeling like a, well, princess. “I want my children to know I will do absolutely anything for them.”
A real Daddy’s little princess? What do you think?