Father claims a kingdom so his daughter can be a real princess
When a daughter tells her father she wants to be a princess, he usually buys her a plastic tiara.
Not Jeremiah Heaton.
The American father of three, who lives in Virginia, planted a flag his children had made and claimed a stretch of African desert on Emily's sixth birthday. Just so she could be a real princess.
"As a parent, you sometimes go down paths you never thought you would," said Heaton.
Mr Heaton began his journey by searching online for unclaimed land all over the world. And he stumbled on Bir Tawil, which became unclaimed territory after a border dispute between Sudan and Egypt.
After getting permission from Egypt to travel to the remote, unpopulated land, he took the blue flag designed by his children. On June 16, he claimed the kingdom as his own.
Heaton then named it Kingdom of North Sudan.
He said: "I founded the nation in love for my daughter."
But planting a flag is not enough to claim a territory as your own, said Sheila Carapico, professor of political science and international studies at the University of Richmond.
Legal recognition from neighbouring countries, the United Nations or other groups is crucial to have political control of the land.
But Heaton, who ran an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2012, is determined.
He has since reached out to the African Union for assistance in formally establishing the kingdom of North Sudan and said he is confident they will welcome him.
And what is Emily's reaction to all this?
"It's cool," she said.
Crazy or devoted father? What do you think?
Photos: BHC, Google Maps
Sources: Washington Post, Boston Herald Courier