Emperor’s great-uncle Lord Geoffrey passes away aged 94

Lord Geoffrey Trory, 1926-2021

Lord Geoffrey Trory, Duke of Belfast yesterday passed away aged 94.

A great uncle of Jonathan I on his mother’s side, Lord Geoffrey was first made properly aware of Austenasia during a visit to Wrythe in September 2009. He expressed great interest in and enthusiasm for the then relatively new country, and was named Duke of Belfast by the Emperor in September 2014, a title for which he expressed great thanks.

Geoffrey was born in Essex in 1926, and moved to London in 1940. An accomplished church organist, he was a Graduate of the Royal College of Music and held a professional diploma from the Royal College of Organists. He moved to Belfast in 1953, where he spent the rest of his life.

Lord Geoffrey is survived by his wife Lady Mabel, whom he married in 1963, their three sons (the eldest of whom, Lord Graham, has inherited his peerage) six grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

Emperor Jonathan I has called for a state of mourning to be observed through the Empire until his late great-uncle’s funeral.

UPDATE 13 APRIL 17:10 – Lord Geoffrey’s funeral will take place on the morning of Thursday 15th.

Third confirmed coronavirus case amongst Austenasian population

A third Austenasian subject has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The two other infected Austenasians – one reported in December 2020 and another in February 2021 – both made a full recovery.

Meanwhile, the number of Austenasians vaccinated against coronavirus continues to grow. Emperor Father Terry was vaccinated on 12 March last month, and Emperor Mother Margaret on 10 February.

The Austenasian Times has not received permission to publicise the name of the most recently infected subject, but can confirm that they are a non-residential subject, hence posing no direct threat of infection to inhabited Austenasian land claims.

UPDATE 13 APRIL 17:05 – The Austenasian Times is pleased to report that the infected subject has now recovered from the symptoms of coronavirus.

Friendly ties re-established with Delvera

The Empire of Austenasia and the Grand Republic of Delvera re-established friendly diplomatic relations yesterday with the signing of a treaty.

Flag of Delvera

Diplomatic relations with Delvera – which the Empire had recognised along with its predecessor state NottaLotta Acres since 2010 – were cut on 4 September 2017 after it was discovered that a member of the Delveran government had contacted an Austenasian official with a suggestion to launch a coup against Emperor Jonathan I.

Delvera claimed the incident was “trolling”, but in the context of a low-point in relations (animosity arising from the aftermath of a controversial Facebook Messenger discussion the Emperor had been invited to by the Delveran head of state) was taken as the final straw, and the decision was made to sever diplomatic ties.

With the passage of time, tensions subsided, and last year the Delveran government was contacted with the offer of restoring diplomacy on the condition of an apology.

The Emperor agreed to make the apologies mutual, admitting that the Austenasian government had at points dealt unsatisfactorily with Delveran concerns.

The new treaty, signed yesterday by Jonathan I and Delveran leader Consul Hannah Callahan, has re-established friendly diplomatic ties, including mutual apologies for past wrongdoings and pledges of non-aggression.

There now remain no counties with which the Empire is in a state of mutual recognition without diplomatic relations, with ties having been similarly restored with Sandus in 2019.

Pontunia downsized with cession of claims

Pontunia, Austenasia’s most populated land claim, has been “streamlined” into New Pontunia with the cession of much of its land area and some of its population.

“The Strip”, New Pontunia’s administrative centre

Pontunia, which had functioned as an independent micronation for nine months prior to its annexation by Austenasia in October last year, had been comprised of twenty three people living in thirteen houses, with two public parks also claimed.

Despite being annexed as a Crown Dependency – giving its leader, Duke Andrew, a completely autonomous local administration – concerns within Cabinet have often been raised over the stability of Pontunia. In one occasion in early December, the Duke led a force of Pontunian knights to apprehend and arrest a group of his citizens after they rebelled against his rule.

Embarrassment was also caused for the Empire on the international stage after the Duke – eager to play an active role in diplomatic affairs – repeatedly attempted to apply for membership in international organisations such as the Grand Unified Micronational on behalf of Pontunia, despite it being made clear by said organisations that as a constituent part of Austenasia, it was ineligible.

After consultation between Emperor Jonathan I and Duke Andrew, an Act of Parliament was therefore passed yesterday which has reduced Pontunia to a more “manageable” size. Austenasia has relinquished sovereignty over four houses containing those least happy with Austenasian rule, as well as the two public parks (one of which was over 147 acres and unable to be realistically governed by Pontunia).

These properties have been claimed by the Duke as a new, independent Duchy of Pontunia, enabling him to take an active part in foreign affairs as per his wishes and to deal with his more troublesome followers outside of Austenasia’s jurisdiction. To avoid confusion, the original polity – retaining Duke Andrew as Governing Commissioner, but now much smaller in size – will from now on be referred to as New Pontunia.

The downsizing of New Pontunia has reduced the Austenasian population by eight people, down to one hundred and thirteen.

Second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Austenasia

A second Austenasian subject has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The subject, who has asked to remain anonymous, has only mild symptoms and is not expected to be at any risk of serious harm.

The first case of COVID-19 in the Austenasian population was confirmed in December.

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Big cat sighting on Chester Meadows

Photograph of a large animal, reportedly a puma, on Chester Meadows.

Reports are circulating of a big cat – possibly a puma – loose in the wild in Cheshire and North Wales, with a photograph recently taken of a large creature seen on Chester Meadows.

Chester Meadows is one of the two oldest claims of Wildflower Meadows, and was the site of the Principality’s foundation in May 2016.

On December 13th last year, a delivery driver took a photograph of what he believed to be a puma on Chester Meadows, having seen the large animal from a nearby road.

News of a more recent incident has now emerged after a lady taking her dog for a walk on the Meadows reported hearing a “really deep growl” coming from dense undergrowth on Wednesday 27th January.

These reports from Chester Meadows have taken place in the wake of fatal attacks on farm animals and sightings of a big cat throughout the wider local area over the past two months.

Sightings of big cats have been reported in the region for several years. Many incidents, including these most recent sightings, have been recorded on the website of Puma Watch North Wales.

Large new Territory brings hope of gold deposits

Golcondiaurum, an 80.44 acre uninhabited piece of land bordered by Nevada, was annexed as an Austenasian Territory on Sunday 24th.

The new Territory was claimed for the Empire by its owner, Lord Michael Simpson.

Lord Simpson has been appointed Governor of Golcondiaurum. He already serves as Governor of Florencium Carolina and of Elliessium Colorandum, two other uninhabited areas of land also owned and claimed by him.

The annexation of Golcondiaurum is of particular interest due to the high possibility of gold deposits on the land.

Geological surveys and soil testing to ascertain whether such gold deposits are present have been planned by Lord Simpson for the near future.

Ministry of Territories and the Diaspora established

Tuesday 19th January saw a new Cabinet Ministry created by Parliament to enable greater political participation for non-residential subjects and for the governors of uninhabited territories.

Lord Andrew Creed, newly appointed Minister of Territories and the Diaspora

Out of Austenasia’s population of one hundred and twenty one, only eighty five live in Austenasia itself. The other thirty six, known as non-residential subjects, form an Austenasian diaspora the majority of whom live in the United Kingdom, USA, Greece, and New Virginia.

Given non-residential subjects do not live in a Town, they are not represented in Parliament. Their comparatively limited ability to have their voices heard has been noted before, but Emperor Jonathan I and PM Lord John Gordon agreed to enact concrete steps towards enabling their greater political participation.

The newly-established Ministry of Territories and the Diaspora has therefore been tasked with creating a group for non-residential subjects which will allow them to have a greater involvement in Austenasian politics and culture. The exact form this group will take and the time-frame for its creation have not yet been confirmed, but membership will be voluntary.

The new ministry has also been given the responsibility of “relaying to Cabinet the concerns, requests or opinions of Governors”, that is, the officials that administer uninhabited Austenasian land claims, who have prior to this not automatically had any official means of having their voices heard in lawmaking or policy.

Lord Andrew Creed has been appointed the first Minister of Territories and the Diaspora. He is Austenasia’s longest serving Governor, having administered Corinium Terentium since December 2013.

New territory annexed in Australia

Western Jarrahview

Earlier this week saw a new Territory claimed by the Empire of Austenasia in Australia.

The new land claim, Western Jarrahview, is comprised of an uninhabited roughly 155,000 square foot wooded area.

The area was claimed by the now Lord Daniel Roscoe, who has been appointed Governor of the new territory.

An Imperial Decree accepting the claim and officially annexing Western Jarrahview was promulgated by Emperor Jonathan I on the evening of January 5th. However, with the difference in time zones, this was past midnight on January 6th in Western Jarrahview, which will be considered its official date of foundation.

Western Jarrahview is only the second land claim of Austenasia in Australia, or in Oceania as a whole. The first, New South Scotland, became an Austenasian Crown Dependency in January 2013.

Princess Hannah and Bradley of Dullahan named Consuls of 2021

The Consuls of 2021

Lord John Gordon has named the first Consuls of his premiership, announcing that Princess Hannah and Bradley, Duke of Dullahan will hold the office for 2021.

The Consuls are the highest judicial authorities in the Empire, passing sentence when guilty verdicts are reached. However, due to Austenasia’s practically non-existent crime rate, their function is mostly ceremonial, primarily being used to name the year.

2021 will therefore be known as the year of the consulship of Hannah Augusta and Bradley Archidux Saxoniae.

Princess Hannah also served as Consul last year, becoming one of only three people to have held the Austenasian Consulate consecutively since its creation at the start of 2011.

A Consul may serve two consecutive terms, but the same two Consuls cannot serve consecutive terms at the same time.

Princess Hannah, in addition to being sovereign monarch of the Principality of Wildflower Meadows, is the fiancée and official consort of Emperor Jonathan I.

Bradley, who was recently appointed Archduke of Saxony in the Holy Roman Empire, in addition to his role as Prime Minister of Wyvern also serves in Austenasia as Princeps Senatus (leader of the Senate) and has held office as both Home Secretary and Minister of Defence.

Happy New Year from the Austenasian Times!