Page 3 Profile: Jeremiah Heaton, aspiring super-dad


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The Independent Online

Promises were made to be broken, right?

American Jeremiah Heaton would beg to differ. The father from Virginia has gone to great lengths to keep a promise to his daughter Emily, flying to Africa and claiming a “kingdom” between Egypt and Sudan so she can be a “princess”.

That seems a little extreme…

Mr Heaton began his quest for the piece of land sandwiched between the two countries, unclaimed due to decades-old disputes, after assuring Emily, seven, that she would be royalty someday. “While playing one day she stopped and posed a question, ‘Daddy, will I ever be a real princess?’” the father-of-three wrote on his Facebook page. “The only answer I could give my sweet little girl was ‘Yes, of course you will be a princess one day’.”

What more could any girl want?

Equal pay and destroying the sexist glass ceiling, perhaps. But Mr Heaton chose to grant her wish by travelling to the uninhabited mountainous region of Bir Tawil and planting a flag his children had designed, taking the first steps toward claiming the 800 sq mile plot of land. He named it the Kingdom of North Sudan. “I travelled 14 hours through the open desert,” said Mr Heaton.

This all sounds uncomfortably colonial for my liking…

Maybe, though experts have pointed out that just planting a flag is not enough for “Princess Emily” to claim ownership of a territory. Nevertheless, Mr Heaton has said he will seek formal recognition.