British Throne's 'True Heir' Dead at 71

Some historians believe Mike Hastings had a claim to the crown

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 5, 2012 10:05 AM CDT

(Newser) – The rightful heir to the British throne may have just died in Australia. Some historians considered Mike Hastings, the 14th earl of Loudoun, to be the true heir, descended as he was from the House of York. The AFP reports that the claim stems from documents uncovered by one historian that indicate that King Edward IV, ruler for most of 1461 to 1483, may have been illegitimate. If true, it would mean that Edward's younger brother, George—from whom Hastings is directly descended—should actually have assumed the throne, and Hastings would have eventually inherited the crown.

Instead, Hastings moved to Australia in 1960 and became a forklift driver. He died at age 71, having never shown much interest in making a bid for the throne. Interviewed in 2005, he 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."

Mike Hastings poses between the helmets of famous Australian outlaw Ned Kelly in his home town of Jerilderie, some 465 miles southwest of Sydney, October 2, 2005.   (Getty Images)
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