Nick Squires: Former "Jackaroo" Renounces Rightful King of England Claim

Roundup: Talking About History

Queen Elizabeth can breathe easy. A former jackaroo identified by historians as the rightful king of England has renounced once and for all any claim to the British crown by taking Australian citizenship.

Michael Abney-Hastings, 63, was stunned when he learned last year that a kink in the line of royal succession during the 15th century meant he should be sitting on the throne rather than Queen Elizabeth.

The discovery was made by a team of British historians backed by a television series presented by Tony Robinson, the actor best known as Baldrick in the Blackadder comedy series.

The historians said Queen Elizabeth's claim to the throne was false because her distant ancestor, Edward IV, was illegitimate.

Edward IV's father was not Richard, Duke of York, but a lowly archer with whom his mother was having an affair, according to the historians. They concluded the crown should have instead passed down the Plantagenet line, ending at Mr Abney-Hastings and making him King Michael I.

The former farmhand, who emigrated to Australia in 1960 and lives in a modest weatherboard house in New South Wales, was amused to find himself the centre of attention.

He said he had no intention of flying to London and claiming his inheritance, declaring himself a "typical Aussie bloke" and a staunch republican who believes Australia should cut its constitutional ties with the British crown.

Now he has confirmed his allegiance to his adopted country by formally applying for, and being granted, Australian citizenship.

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