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Micronation Master: Prince Leonard of Hutt River

The self-crowned prince of Hutt River set the model for secession Down Under
Prince Leonard of Hutt, a wheat farmer, surveys his 18,500-acre micronation
Prince Leonard of Hutt, a wheat farmer, surveys his 18,500-acre micronationPhotograph by Andrew Quilty for Bloomberg Businessweek

The sun is setting on the undulating wheat fields of Western Australia, and the prince wouldn’t mind getting back to have his supper. At 86, he does not like to eat after six o’clock. And given that he is the sovereign of the realm and master of all that he surveys, the man does not have to wait for his turkey. “Sometimes it does pay to be a prince,” he says with a wink, climbing into the front seat of his visitor’s Hyundai Getz. His Rolls-Royce, he’d said earlier, is in need of service.

He is Prince Leonard of Hutt, the absolute monarch of 18,500 acres of farmland in Australia’s sparsely populated wheat belt, about a five-hour drive north of Perth. His kingdom, the Principality of Hutt River, declared its independence on April 21, 1970, to protest newly introduced grain quotas that Prince Leonard (a farmer whose real name is Leonard Casley) says would have crippled him financially. After unsuccessfully petitioning the government for an exemption, he brushed up on his English common law and promptly seceded.