A Virginia father trekked
across a remote desert region to claim a disputed stretch of land so his seven-year-old daughter can be a real princess.
Jeremiah Heaton began his unusual quest for the unclaimed piece of land sandwiched between Egypt and Sudan after making a promise to Emily that she would one dayberoyalty
" class="hjdict" word="beroyalty
After reaching the desert region of Bir Tawil in June, the father-of-three planted a flag his children had designed, and made the first steps towards claiming the land.
On his return Heaton and wife made a crown for their daughter and asked friends and family to refer to her as Princess Emily.
Her kingdom covers about 800 square miles of desert that has never been claimed by Sudan or Egypt.
Heaton found Bir Tawil, one of the last unclaimed pieces of land on the planet, after searching for how he could fulfill his promise to Emily.
It took Heaton 14 hours to travel by caravan
through the desert before he could plant the flag, which has a blue background and a seal and stars representing the family.
As well as designing a flag for their country, Heaton's children have also decided to name it the Kingdom of North Sudan.
The next step for Heaton is to get Sudan and Egypt to recognize his Kingdom of North Sudan.
Shelia Carapico, professor of political science and international studies at the University of Richmond, said the family's claim will need to be recognized by the other African nations.
She said it was not plausible for someone to plant a flag and say they have political control over the land without legal recognition from neighboring countries, the United Nations or other groups.
The Heaton family remain undeterred
however, and have ordered letterheads
bearing the country's seal. One of Heaton's sons also made a serving tray featuring the flag while at camp.
But the main intent, Heaton added, was to show his daughter he would follow through on the promise he made.
'I think there’s a lot of love in the world. I want my children to know I will do absolutely anything for them,' he said.