Jeremiah Heaton just set the bar very high for fathers and their “daddy’s girls” everywhere. Forget ponies – This Virginia father of three promised his little “princess” that she would indeed be a formal princess, and then he made it all happen. While land grabs in the Middle East rage on, the magnanimous dad quietly went about staking claim to an 800 square mile plot of land in Egypt, over which Princess Emily will rule from afar.
Reports the Washington Post: “Jeremiah Heaton was playing with his daughter in their Abingdon, Va., home last winter when she asked whether she could be a real princess. Heaton, a father of three who works in the mining industry, didn’t want to make any false promises to Emily, then 6, who was ‘big on being a princess.’ But he still said yes.”
“As a parent you sometimes go down paths you never thought you would,” Heaton said.
But for the rest of us, while that may mean putting in some overtime so that we can reach a little deeper come gift-giving time, Heaton outdid all of us and claimed an African country, traveling to Bir Tawil, and actually stuck a family flag in the ground. He’s now working on getting formal recognition for his daughter’s newfound kingdom.
(And, the family says, they must now address their daughter as Princess Emily – because, well, she is one.)
Heaton once ran for Congress, back in 2012, and knows a thing or two about foreign politics. But he’s not quite ready to be a king, though he did take the regal step of obtaining permission from the Egyptian government to travel to Bir Tawil to make his claim.
“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 and I said she would,” Heaton said. Now what dad wouldn’t want to make that dream come true? After researching for countless hours, he found the unclaimed acreage.
“It's beautiful there,” added Heaton. “It's an arid desert in Northeastern Africa. Bedouins roam the area; the population is actually zero.” So Emily just needs some subjects to rule over.
Emily’s response? “It’s cool!”
Heaton has named the land the “Kingdom of North Sudan,” choosing a proper name in order to “pursue formal recognition with African nations.” After all, the “Sovereignty of Noblewoman Princess Emily” just wouldn’t look right in geography books.
Says the Huffington Post:
Shelia Carapico, political science and international studies professor at the University of Richmond, told the Bristol Herald-Courier that likely both Egypt and Sudan will have to recognize Heaton's stake as legitimate before he has any legal claim over the land.
Her father says he plans to use his newfound sovereignty to set up an “agricultural hub” for the area and says his “nation” will have “a clear purpose of helping other people.”
It's unclear whether Heaton's other two children, Caleb and Justin, will be adopting the titles of "Prince."
As her first order of business, Princess Emily said she “is concerned about children in the region having enough food,” reports HuffPost.
Kudos to dad, and long live Princess Emily.