Battle royal rages in Wales' mini-kingdom

IT MAY be the smallest kingdom in the world, with a modest five subjects, but a war of succession has sprung up on the Welsh island of Bardsey, off Lleyn peninsula. Last month the Bardsey Island Trust said that, 70 years after the last monarch died, it would crown an opera singer as king of the two-by-one-mile island.

Bryn Terfel said he would return from overseas engagements for his coronation later this month. But yesterday a furniture salesman from Stourbridge, West Midlands, said he was the only heir of King Love Pritchard. Ken Pritchard, 56, said he and his four sisters were great-grandchildren. "My grandfather was an only son, as was my father and so am I ... we had ... to let people know the family had not died out."

Mr Pritchard said he had no desire to be crowned but did not want the title to leave the family. "The crown is in Liverpool Maritime Museum and we have been assured it will not be leaving there. I am not worried about Bryn Terfel being given some other title with a crown from another source but I do object to the implication that the family has died out." Though the Welsh royal lineage ended in the 15th century, Bardsey hung on to its royal family until 1927, when King Love died. The title died with him.

Simon Glyn, director of the island trust, said: "People are coming out of the woodwork all over the place saying `I'm related to the king'." But he would be discussing Mr Pritchard's claims with him.