Escape To Sea
In 1965, movie star Marlon Brando bought Te'tiaroa Island, near Tahiti, from a British dentist who'd cured the local king's toothache. Brando had been there filming Mutiny on the Bounty and fell in love with it. Around the same time, dancer Rudolf Nureyev snapped up Isola Dei Galli, a picturesque isle off the Amalfi coast in Italy.
Forty years later, Nicolas Cage picked up a small island in the Bahamas called Leaf Cay, just upstream from singers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Meanwhile, Leonardo Di Caprio has invested in a small Caribbean island Blackadore Caye, off Belize, and is said to be turning it into an exclusive eco-friendly resort.
They're not the only celebrities buying up little pieces of privacy. Three years ago, Mel Gibson bought Mago Island, Fiji, for $14.8 million. The island has a farm, a small village (where his employees live), 400 cattle, 16 horses, and 300 goats. As well as three smaller islands nearby.
The list goes on… Apparently Johnny Depp owns Little Halls Pond Cay in the Bahamas, Robin Williams has an island in Pender Harbour, British Columbia, billionaire Richard Branson owns Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, and Diana Ross owns Taino in French Polynesia. Swedes Agnetha Faltskog of Abba and tennis star Bjorn Borg own Ekerö, near Stockholm, and Kattilo island respectively. And Celine Dion has an island in Rivière des Mille Îles, Canada.
No doubt celebrities have good reason to run away to far-flung isles where they can be alone, but some less celebrated mortals have done it too. Take former pirate radio broadcaster Paddy Roy Bates who, in 1967, with his friends and family, took over a rather unslightly World War II sea fort in international waters off the south coast of England, and claimed it as an independent sovereign state, Sealand.
Bates produced a constitution for Sealand, followed by a flag, a national anthem, a currency (the Sealand Dollar), stamps and passports.
According to its website, 'Sealand was founded on the principle that any group of people dissatisfied with the oppressive laws and restrictions of existing nation states may declare independence in any place not claimed to be under the jurisdiction of another sovereign entity.' Unfortunately, two years ago the island suffered a devastating fire which destroyed much of its infrastructure.
In 1949, Russel M. Arundel declared himself 'Prince of Princes' of Outer Baldonia in the Tusket Islands, Nova Scotia. Similarly, the Danish island of Elleore was taken over in 1944 by a group calling themselves the Immortals. Apparently it's not too tricky to declare yourself king or queen of your own island, especially if you do it with a sense of humor and low expectations.
If, however, you are more serious, the first thing you'll have to do is prove you own your kingdom outright. Better still, you could build your own island from scratch in international waters. It's an expensive way of doing it, but it circumvents quite a lot of legal issues. Alternatively, you can always scour the globe for new geographical outcrops that haven't yet been claimed. You never know…
If that all sounds too difficult, we've listed a few islands that are currently available for sale (Melody Key, Little Eden Cay, Leaf Cay). And here's a great blog (Private Islands Blog) we stumbled upon. You can pick up a nice crown at Party City and choose a really cool kingly title for yourself. Best of luck – and let us know how you get on!