'Rightful Heir' to British Throne Dies in Australia

A man, who some historians have argued is the rightful heir to the British throne, has died in Australia. The forklift truck driver who many connected to the British monarchy died at his small New South Wales residence on June 30 and was buried on Thursday, according to local media reports.

Queen Elizabeth II
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (2nd L) waves, with Prince Philip (L), Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (2nd R) and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, from the Spirit of Chartwell during the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on the River Thames, in London June 3, 2012. |

Mike Hastings, 71, was both as the 14th Earl of Loudoun, in England, but moved to Australia in 1960. The basically unknown man was suddenly thrust into the global spotlight in 2004 when a documentary team from British TV's Channel 4 did extensive research into the British monarchy. The documentary claimed that in the 15th Century, Hastings ancestors were "cheated" out of the throne, and that Hastings was in fact the current rightful heir to the British throne.

The "cheating" that led to Hasting's ancestors being removed from the line of British monarchs took place in the famous "War of the Roses," which saw the House of York conduct a fierce feud with the House of Lancaster. Hasting's ancestors were on the side of England's House of York.

The Channel 4 documentary team claimed that King Edward IV, who ruled from 1461 to 1483, was in fact illegitimate. The historians believe that King Edward's father, Richard of York, was away fighting the French when Edward was conceived, making him illegitimate, and not the rightful heir to the British throne.

The documentarians believe instead of King Edward IV, the crown should have been passed to his younger brother, the Duke of Clarence, George. Hastings, they said, was a direct descendant to the Duke of Clarence, and therefore should now be king.

The claims sparked a frenzy of media attention at the time, but Hastings was not fazed by the attention, but simply joked, "I reckon I might send Lizzie (Queen Elizabeth II) a bill for back rent. The old girl's family have been living in my bloody castle for the last 500 years."

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