CAIRO: Seven-year-old Emily Heaton is the rightful princess of the Kingdom of North Sudan, according to her father, Jeremiah, who claimed an 800-square-mile swath of land on the Egypt-Sudan border last month.
The Virginia father of three apparently set out to claim his kingdom after promising his daughter she could be a princess, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.
“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 local paper. “And I said she would.”
So Heaton set out to see how he could become a king, thus making his daughter a princess. He found Bir Tawil, which lies between the Red Sea and the Nile River on the Egypt-Sudan border and has not been claimed by either country for more than a century. Heaton traveled to Egypt and raised a blue flag with four stars and a crown – designed by his children – on his “kingdom” on June 16, Emily’s seventh birthday, according to the Courier.
“I wanted to show my kids I will literally go to the ends of the earth to make their wishes and dreams come true,” Heaton told the Washington Post.
He also said he intends to pursue formal recognition from Egypt, Sudan, and other African nations, adding that he “founded the nation in love for my daughter.”
Princess Emily, as family members have reportedly been asked to call her, told the Bristol Herald Courier that as a princess she wants to make sure children in the area have food.
A voice message to the Heatons asking for comment was not immediately returned.
Bir Tawil lies south of the 1899 border between Egypt and Sudan, but was given to Egypt in return for the neighboring Hala’ib Triangle in 1902, according to Atlas Obscura, which claims to be “the definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places.”
The CIA World Factbook notes that Egypt “no longer shows its administration of the Bir Tawil trapezoid in Sudan on its maps.” Various sources report that neither country wants the arid patch of land, while both hope to retain the Hala’ib Triangle.