It’s no secret that many of Kilkenny’s citizens have left these shores and gone on to the echelons of rank and status, but it recently transpired we had our own member of a royal family – and she was a descendant of the Earls of Ormonde.
The Principality of Hutt River, some 550km north of Perth, Australia is the oldest micronation in Australia. Around the same landmass as Hong Kong, it claims to be an independent sovereign state having achieved legal status in 1972 .
The principality was founded by Leonard George Casley – ‘Prince Leonard’ – and his wife was a woman called Shirley Joy Butler. She passed away earlier this year, July 7, and an eagle-eyed Kilkenny People reader spotted her obituary in an edition of the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Her Royal Highness Princess Shirley of Hutt’ as was her official title, married Casley when she was just 19. They had seven children.
Nee Butler, she was apparently descended from the Earls of Ormonde, with the family seat of Kilkenny Castle.
Other titles to be bestowed upon the princess include ‘Dame of the Rose of Sharon’, and Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Hutt River Legion. She even appeared on the region’s postage stamps, with other family members appearing on a local currency.
The Hutt principality has become a major regional tourist attraction in recent years, with 40,000 people visiting annually. Prince Leonard continues to reign in Hutt, although it remains unrecognised by other countries, if any, and its population numbers just 30 people.