A father from Virginia has gone to extreme lengths for his daughter, flying to Africa and claiming a "kingdom" between Egypt and Sudan so that she can be an actual princess.
Jermiah Heaton, a father of three from Abingdon, Virginia, was playing with his daughter, Emily, when she asked him if she would ever be a real princess. As The Huffington Post relates, Heaton told her that she would, but didn't know how he would make the request from his daughter, who was "big on being a princess," come true. Investigating the idea, he stumbled upon an 800-square-mile area of land called Bir Tawil. One of the last places on the Earth that is unclaimed, the plot is situated between Egypt and Sudan, neither of which assert dominion over the region.
A father claims unclaimed land between #Egypt and #Sudan for his daughter to be a princess. http://t.co/Yac4SeFxi9 pic.twitter.com/2UZBjrHOkJ
— CairoScene.com (@CairoScene) July 13, 2014
Heaton traveled to Bir Tawil, and on June 16, his daughter's seventh birthday, planted a flag designed by his children and claimed the land as the "Kingdom of North Sudan." Returning home, Heaton requested that people refer to his daughter as "Princess Emily," even purchasing her a crown. Heaton, who ran for Congress and lost in Virginia's 9th district in 2012, claims that while there is historical precedent for such an action, his is the first kingdom founded as an act of love:
"I wanted to show my kids I will literally go to the ends of the earth to make their wishes and dreams come true."
Lest anyone think Heaton's claim is simply a stunt, he is currently seeking official recognition from Egypt and Sudan, and is confident that he will receive it. His daughter, "Princess Emily", expressed to the Bristol Herald-Courier that she was worried about whether children in that region of the world have enough food, and Heaton has toyed with the idea as well. "If we can turn North Sudan into an agricultural hub for the area... a lot of technology has gone into agriculture and water," he said.
Heaton claimed he was "fearful of going into a toxic environment," according to The Washington Post, and those most critical of him say he has done just that. As The Inquisitr has previously reported, Sudan was most recently in the news for sentencing a woman to death for apostasy, the crime of renouncing her religion for another faith.
Despite his critics, Heaton says that his daughter and family are "really getting into the idea" of the kingdom:
"I think the idea of a nation with a clear purpose of helping other people... I think that'll be well-received and we'll get recognition from other nations to partner with."
Heaton asserts, however, that the real point of claiming the kingdom is to show his daughter, Princess Emily, and his other children that he "will do absolutely anything for them."