New Richmond adopts constitution

The Dominion of New Richmond, an Austenasian Crown Dependency in North America, has adopted a constitution after confirmation by the Emperor and approval by the population of New Richmond.

The flag of New Richmond.

The constitution, which was written by the Crown Dependency’s Governing Commissioner, Dux Sir Joseph Kennedy, has established the Dominion Assembly, which will act as New Richmond’s legislature and judiciary. It held its first meeting earlier today.

The constitution – which can be read here – came into effect yesterday, after receiving the assent of the population. While it has not transferred the source of authority – as a Crown Dependency, all power is held by the Emperor and exercised through his Governing Commissioner – it has made the government of New Richmond somewhat more representative and accountable.

Dux Sir Joseph Kennedy is currently on a week-long visit to New Richmond, which has a population of two. In his absence, it is administered by his deputy Legate Barger, who holds the title Lord Lieutenant.

Contract and family law passed

Two Acts of Parliament were given Imperial Consent yesterday evening forming a basis for Austenasian contract law and family law.

The first, the Contract Law and Magistrates Act 2014, defines a contract, who can enter into them, and how they can be breached or repudiated, generally following the same principles of British contract law.

The second, the Parents, Guardians and Children Act 2014 codifies the responsibilities of parents and guardians to children, and also lists children’s rights (based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child).

Provision has also been made for magistrates to be appointed, judges who will settle disputes in civil law including contractual and family matters, but also covering issues such as property ownership and inheritance. Furthermore, compromises – legally binding agreements made outside of court – have been established as an alternative means of conflict resolution.

Speaking in Parliament, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor stated that he felt the Empire “really should expand our civil law”. Nearly all Austenasian legislation to date has been concerned with criminal law, administration, and titles.

Austenasia featured in Sutton Guardian for a fourth time

The newspaper article on the cession of the Zone.

The Sutton Guardian has run an article on the Empire of Austenasia for the fourth time since 2009.

The article, printed on the fifth page of the weekly free newspaper delivered throughout the London Borough of Sutton, was published in response to the recent cession of the Zone to Renasia. A more detailed version of the article has been uploaded to the Sutton Guardian website.

The article printed in the newspaper contains a large photograph of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Jonathan I, and a smaller one of the Zone, the area in Poulter Park which was ceded to Renasia last month.

Unfortunately, there were some slight factual inaccuracies in the printed edition. The paper stated that Austenasia declared independence in 2009 rather than 2008, and that the Empire is comprised of 11 rather than 17 pieces of land. The headline also referred to Renasia as a “rival”, but did correctly state in the article that it enjoys good diplomatic relations with the Empire.

This is the fourth time Austenasia has featured in the Sutton Guardian; previous articles on the Empire were published in January 2009, September 2011, and February 2013.





Lady Evren Filgert and Sir James von Puchow visit Carshalton

The Emperor, Lady Evren and Sir James pose with the national flag in Parliament Hall, Wrythe.

His Imperial Majesty the Emperor yesterday gave Lady Evren Filgert and Sir James von Puchow a guided tour of the Carshalton Nations.

Emperor Jonathan I met Filgert – currently Acting Representative of the newly annexed Town of Porthbokon – at Mile End in London, where they were then joined by von Puchow of Landashir, who became a non-residential subject of Austenasia last month.

The three travelled by train to Carshalton station, and walked the short distance to Orly, where they were given a tour by the Emperor of its constituent states Copan and the Grove and their respective capitals of Memphis and the Secluded Place. The Emperor spoke at length about the history of Orly, mentioning the recent floods, its liberation from foreign rule, and the strange discovery of a turkey carcass in the Grove one and a half years ago.

After the tour of Orly, the three of them went to Carshalton High Street and had lunch at a café there. The tour then continued, with Filgert and von Puchow being shown the former site of Rushymia and the Midget Empire from the vantage point of the neighbouring recreation ground.

The final point of the tour was the capital itself, Wrythe. The two guests briefly met Crown Princess Caroline and pet bullmastiff Edd, and were then shown Wrythe Pet Cemetery and the ruins of the Orange Pyramid in Wrythe Public Park.

The tour of the Carshalton Nations over, the three went back into London. After von Puchow left for Landashir, the Emperor explored Mile End with Lady Evren until it was time for them to depart.





Annexations continue amidst warnings of over-expansion

Flag of Oregonia

Parliament yesterday evening passed an Act annexing a new Crown Dependency in North America and authorising the annexation of another in the Canary Islands in two weeks.

Oregonia, an area of wooded parkland measuring roughly 650 square feet which borders the Kingdom of Überstadt, has joined the Empire as a new Crown Dependency, with King Adam I of Überstadt appointed its Governing Commissioner.

The growth of various plants in the area, some of which can be used for dyeing textiles, has opened up an opportunity for Austenasian-Überstadti trade.

The Act of Parliament also authorised Lord Hengest Crannis to annex a holiday home owned by his family in the Canary Islands when he visits there later in the month. This will make Africa the fifth continent to have an Austenasian presence, and the new Crown Dependency there – which will be known as Heischierland – will be somewhat of a tourism hub, with friends and family of Lord Hengest frequently staying there.

However, concerns were raised in Parliament as to the rate at which the Empire is expanding. Lord John Gordon voiced his opinion that the Empire needs “to slow down”. Emperor Jonathan I replied agreeing that “some consolidation is indeed necessary”, and that Austenasia does not “need a new piece of land every month”. It is therefore thought that the Empire’s rate of expansion will significantly slow down, if not stop, for the next several months.

Land in Carshalton given to Renasia

An area of parkland just under half a mile away from the Imperial Residence has been annexed by the Free State of Renasia.

A declaration fastened to a tree in the Zone announcing the transfer from British to Renasian sovereignty.

Recent discussions between Emperor Jonathan I and Chancellor Kuri Kabanov of Renasia resulted in an agreement that the former would grant an area of land in Carshalton to Renasia after the Emperor suggested it as a means of strengthening Renasian relations with the Empire.

Today, by order of the Emperor, a detachment from Centuria II Midgetae occupied a corner of Poulter Park in Carshalton and declared Renasian sovereignty over it at precisely 11:09. The area of parkland has been named the Zone, after some graffiti on the main entrance to the area.

This is the first time that Centuria II Midgetae has conquered territory since the War of the Upper Playground in May 2006.





Micronational book club: King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire – Book review and interview with the former king

Article by Evren Filgert, Duchess of Dumnonia – originally at Porthbokon News

Part micronational memoir and part ballsy fictionalised tale, ‘King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire’ is a story of a man with a Hyacinth Bucket-esque talent for self delusion with a wit that makes all the ludicrous events described excusable. Most of the facts about the author’s life are completely made up, but it’s told with such a straight face that you can’t help but play along – something that fits with the subject matter of the yarn itself.

Peppered with documentation of the Copeman Empire’s rise (something I was very thankful for, since any actual micronational information seemed to have disappeared from the web) and obsessively detailed accounts of local fast food establishments, this book works as both an entertaining, dryly humorous tale and a micronational account, like an explorer’s journal. As someone who immediately put his micronation into the ‘real world’, so to speak, going about town in micronational dress, becoming the gossip of his town and issuing royal warrants, Copeman gets quite a bit further than many of his micronational readers have before.

With a national religion based on the ‘Order of the Zinger’, a KFC burger, headed by the ‘Archbishop of Fantaberry’, a royal signet ring made out of a cannibalised pound coin and a Throne Room which is actually a caravan’s bathroom, it reminds one of the Kingdom of Lovely documentary quite a lot, and it’s just as entertaining and hard to put down.

I read it obsessively at work, during snatched breaks, because it was so engaging, and it gave a micronational zeal that’s sadly hard to regain sometimes when reading an endless barrage of internet micronationalism. Though the story is about a man’s dramatic, flourishing failure at life, in terms of micronationalism – and having a good time – Nicholas gets things done, whether it be outfitting a static caravan into a lushly kitsch palace or gatecrashing a  regional society ball in his kingly persona.

I contacted the former King (now just plain Nick Copeman), who was polite and accommodating when speaking about the former micronation, despite it having been defunct for nearly a decade. He put up an archived version of the Copeman Empire’s site, a very well-designed and funny example of a micronational web presence, complete with custom headers featuring the king and his inspirational quotes and a parodical citizenship qualification list:

  • 1. Get hold of a copy of King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire
  • 2. Read it
  • 3. Give it to a friend/enemy/stranger
  • 4. Tell them to read it
  • 5. Buy a Zinger Tower burger from KFC
  • 6. Eat it, while listening to Zadoc the Priest on your iPod
  • 7. Buy a Zinger Tower Burger for a friend/enemy/stranger
  • 8. Watch them eat it while they listen to Zadoc the Priest on their iPod
  • 9. Get a £1 coin and bore the middle out
  • 10. Stick it on your finger
  • 11. Change your name by Deed Poll to something snazzy-sounding
  • 12. Eat a 10p bag of spicy Transform-a-Snacks
  • 13. Email me

Which gives you a clue as to the nature of the micronation (I’m at no. 4, planning to complete 5-8 this weekend!).

Nick also agreed to an interview about the book, his life, and his former micronation, but unfortunately some of it might not make sense to those who haven’t read it. All the more reason to buy a copy! They’re a couple of quid on Amazon.

Evren: The book is told with this very straight-faced dry wit as if Adrian Mole were the heir to Grand Fenwick, but a lot of the events described seem very fantastical. Are any of the people or events in the book exaggerated or did everything really play out like that? 

Nick: Yes, everything is distorted and screwed up. All the characters are 100% real but some had their names changed so they wouldn’t beat me up, and certain episodes are slightly Walter Mitty.

I think there is a term for it .. something along the lines of “unreliable author”, where one isn’t clear whether the narrator is telling the truth, deluded, outright lying, or a mixture of all three.

But one thing is totally true: I became King Nicholas. I walked this earth for some time — not as a mere mortal — but as God’s anointed one.

The ending to the whole tale, on the other hand, is quite sobering, a sharp turn away from stuff like having lobster on a bed of pot noodles and riding around town on a horse. Did everything work out all right in the end?

I can’t stand happy endings. They just don’t happen. Life is bitter-sweet. The problem is that consumerist society wants you to believe that if you buy a certain fragrance, then you’ll attract an aspirational partner, get a free upgrade to business class, whitened teeth, and generally live the dream.

Becoming “King” was escapism and wanting to feel good about doing badly in life, but it was a doomed dynasty from the start. That was the whole point really. To be an epic failure, rather than just a meek, downtrodden and apologetic failure

Coming from a small seaside town myself, I know how much people like to gossip. It seems like the whole endeavour had a big effect on the residents of Sheringham. If you still live there, do people still talk about it? Is the Copeman Empire alive in the hearts of Norfolk (or, some of Norfolk’s hearts)?

One interesting thing about living on the coast is that there is one less direction to run in if some yobos happen to be chasing you, and also your community is much denser, simply because it can’t dissipate out in one direction — everyone’s crowded around the waterfront.

So yes, people did gossip about me and my empire: most people were just perplexed by it, some thought I was acting above my station and a minority was outright hostile.

But some people loved it. The sort of can-do people I admire.

I still reminisce about the Empire with Roy Boy occasionally (the owner of the truckstop cafe who had my Royal Warrant proudly displayed on the side of his trailer).

In fact, I’d take Roy as a prime example. Since the book came out he made the move from the layby into the town, opened a cafe, and later extended it — the guy is an absolute legend, fully deserving of an MBE in addition to the MCE I awarded him.

And my official barber has since opened a newer and bigger shop, yet he still comes out to cut my elderly dad’s hair at home as a favour. All the people who were positive and self-motivated at the time of my empire were the people who supported me then and they’re all still going strong now.

Leading on from that, do you regret anything about the whole business, or was it just a strange chapter in your life? 

I don’t regret any of it all! It made perfect sense at the time and it still makes perfect sense now.

For example, I stopped wearing my one pound coin ring when I abdicated. But I came across it in a box of trinkets the other day. I’d had a few months of people turning down my current project and I just decided to try it on again, like it was “The Precious” off the Lord of the Rings or something. And as soon as I put it on, I suddenly felt all my regal powers coming back — not in a cocky way, just I felt the legacy was alive again. I’m wearing it as I type.

The book is really interesting to me and other younger micronationalists, because it resonates with a lot of us now but actually happened in this time where the internet was a totally different, younger, place, and things like BT broadband installation and floppy disks. What do you think would happened if you’d had the idea in 2014? Would you have been too busy watching Countdown on iPlayer or would you have gotten really into it, like micronations such as the Federal Republic of St.Charlie or Molossia?

I think if I’d had the idea now, not much would have changed. I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all that. I still believe that meaningful interactions are what count. Face-to-face, ideally.

You had to do a fair bit of digging around to get hold of me. Not that that makes me special or anything. But I think doing a bit of legwork means you care about the interaction, rather than just liking someone on Facebook to boost your network of so-called friends.

Thanks for answering all my questions! Last one: what’s so bad about drinking pink gin in the navy? [at a Naval officer interview, Nick orders a pink gin, a traditional naval drink, and instead of camaraderie is met with coughs and muttered 'w***er's.]  

Pink Gin was a popular naval drink, in the nineteenth century I believe, up until the days of David Niven or thereabouts (1940s-ish). I think angostura bitters were added to gin in the Caribbean or there abouts as some kind of health thing, perhaps to do with sea sickness or warding off tropical illnesses.

It was still a popular drink when my uncle was a naval officer, hence him teaching me how to make it.

But fast-forward to my appearance at the Admiralty Interview Board, and no one drank cocktails anymore. Most of them now drink bloody lager!

So when I ordered a Pink Gin (thinking myself the pinnacle of sophistication), they assumed I was taking the p*ss.

Incidentally, I currently favour a Gin ‘n’ Mixed Vermouth on occasion.

Take a Martini glass and fill with five shots of gin (Plymouth/Tanqueray/Beefeater) followed by 1 shot of Extra Dry Martini and 1 shot of Rosso Martini and garnished with a maraschino cherry on a cocktail stick.


So, there you have it. Hopefully this has inspired you to read the book, given a new lease to your real-world micronationalism or at least, inspiration for any new gin-based cocktails. I think I’ll mix myself one in honour of the Copeman Empire.


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