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Friday, August 13, 1999 Published at 19:22 GMT 20:22 UK

Special Report

Salesman lays claim to island crown

The island's last ruler King Horace Love Pritchard

A furniture salesman is laying claim to the crown of a tiny island in north Wales.

Bardsey Island, which is overseen by the Bardsey Island Trust, measures two miles by one mile and has just five residents, including a shepherd and a nun.

BBC Wales's Louise Elliot reports on the debate of succession to Bardsey Island's throne
Ken Pritchard, 56, from the West Midlands, made his claim after reading newspaper reports that members of the trust were considering crowning opera star Bryn Terfel as king.

[ image: Ken Pritchard claims to be the rightful successor]
Ken Pritchard claims to be the rightful successor
Mr Pritchard and his four sisters claim they are the great-grandchildren of the island's last ruler, King Horace Love Pritchard, who died in 1927.

"My grandfather was an only son, as was my father, and so am I," he says.

"My sisters heard that Bardsey Island Trust was planning to give the title to Bryn Terfel and we felt we had to take action to let people know that the family had not died out."

[ image: Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel]
Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel
The father-of-two says he has no desire to be crowned king and is speaking out purely to preserve the title within the family.

"The crown is in the Liverpool Maritime Museum and we have been assured it will not be leaving the museum," he said.

"I'm not particularly worried about Bryn Terfel being given some other title with a crown from another source, but I do object to the implication that the family has died out.

"We are still going strong as people would have found out if they had checked the records."

[ image: Bardsey Island has only a handful of inhabitants]
Bardsey Island has only a handful of inhabitants
Describing himself as an "average working-class bloke", Mr Pritchard recalls being "gobsmacked" to learn of his heritage from his sisters.

But his claim to the succession has been treated with scepticism by Bardsey Island Trust's director Simon Glyn.

Mr Glyn said he had been overwhelmed by people claiming they were related to the king.

"I'm sure most of them are very sincere people and I'm sure they have a history of living on the island."

However he did say he would be contacting Mr Pritchard to research his ancestral claims.

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