ABINGDON, Va. (CBSDC) — A man made his daughter’s dreams come true by claiming a kingdom so she could become a princess.
Jeremiah Heaton traveled to Bir Tawil, a small mountainous region between Egypt and Sudan in the Egyptian desert. The area is about 800 square miles but isn’t claimed by Sudan nor Egypt because of land disputes dating back more than 100 years.
Heaton planted a flag designed by his three children when he journeyed to the site to claim the land. Now, he has fulfilled a promise to his 7-year-old daughter who he now calls Princess Emily.
“Over the winter, Emily and I were playing, and she has a fixation on princesses. She asked me, in all seriousness, if she’d be a real princess someday,” Heaton told the Bristol Herald Courier. “And I said she would.”
Heaton explained that he began researching what it would take for him to become a king so that his daughter would be a princess and found that Bir Tawil happens to be among the last pieces of unclaimed land on earth.
Heaton, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2012, got permission from the Egyptian government to travel through the country to the Bir Tawil region.
“It’s beautiful there,” Heaton told the Herald Courier. “It’s an arid desert in Northeastern Africa. Bedouins roam the area; the population is actually zero.”
Heaton journeyed to the region in June to plant the flag, blue with the seal and stars representing the Heaton kingdom, in Bir Tawil soil. When he returned, his wife, Kelly, and he purchased a princess crown for their daughter and asked family members to address her as Princess Emily.
His daughter Emily said that it was cool and that she wants to make sure children in the region have food.
“That’s definitely a concern in that part of the world,” Heaton shared to the Herald Courier. “We discussed what we could do as a nation to help.”
After consulting with his children, he named the land the Kingdom of North Sudan.
“I do intend to pursue formal recognition with African nations,” Heaton told the Herald Courier.
The man who works in the mining industry explained that the first step would be to get Sudan and Egypt to recognize the newly formed kingdom.
“I feel confident in the claim we’ve made,” Heaton told the Herald Courier. “That’s the exact same process that has been done for thousands of years. The exception is this nation was claimed for love.”
His children, Emily, Justin and Caleb, will be the deciding factors for what happens with the new nation his family formed.
“If we can turn North Sudan into an agricultural hub for the area … a lot of technology has gone into agriculture and water,” he explained to the Herald Courier. “These are the things [the kids] are concerned with.”
Heaton shared that one of his sons created a serving tray at camp with the flag on it and that he has ordered letterhead with the country’s seal.
“They are really getting into the idea,” Heaton told the Herald Courier of his children. “I think the idea of a nation with a clear purpose of helping other people … I think that’ll be well-received and we’ll get recognition from other nations to partner with.”
Heaton said the main thing is that he followed through on the promise he made to his daughter.
“I think there’s a lot of love in the world,” Heaton told the Herald Courier. “I want my children to know I will do absolutely anything for them.”