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Cricket hero joins the aristocracy of an island off Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 10:17 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 17 July 2019

England's World Cup final hero Ben Stokes - now a Lord of Sealand Picture: STEVEN PASTON/PA WIRE

England's World Cup final hero Ben Stokes - now a Lord of Sealand Picture: STEVEN PASTON/PA WIRE

PA Wire

England cricket World Cup final hero Ben Stokes has been made a Lord - of Sealand, the tiny self-proclaimed principality seven miles off the Suffolk coast.

Sealand, off Felixstowe Picture: RYAN LACKEYSealand, off Felixstowe Picture: RYAN LACKEY

Stokes, who scored 84 runs in the final and eight in the crucial super over, was caught by surprise as he was made a member of the nobility.

TV presenter Piers Morgan presented the cricket star with a Lord of Sealand award on Good Morning Britain as he called for him to knighted for his role in England's victory against New Zealand.

But Morgan didn't reveal that anyone can become a Lord of Sealand - for the princely sum of £29.99 from the country's website.

Stokes appeared on the show this morning to talk to Morgan and fellow host Susanna Reid about cricket, his life and the court case two years ago following an incident outside a Bristol club and of which he was acquitted of all charges.

Piers Morgan, who made Ben Stokes a Lord Picture: MARTIN RICKETT/PAPiers Morgan, who made Ben Stokes a Lord Picture: MARTIN RICKETT/PA

Morgan called for Stokes to be made a Sir in the New Year's Honours and said that in the meantime he had gone "one better" and made him a Lord of Sealand.

What is Sealand?

Sealand - visible on the horizon from Felixstowe prom - is a former war-time fort.

Originally called Roughs Tower, it was built in 1942 and is a platform of 932 sq yards in area supported by two 'legs', which look like huge oil drums and contain accommodation for around 160 people along with offices, storage and other facilities.

Ben Stokes in action Picture: JOHN WALTON/PABen Stokes in action Picture: JOHN WALTON/PA

During the 1960s several old forts around the coast were used for pirate radio and Roughs Tower became a hot property. After several battles between would-be rulers, in 1967 the Kingdom of Sealand was declared by Major Roy Bates, whose family still rule the mini-state today.

It has its own constitution, flag, currency, stamps and passports.

Can it really be a separate country?

While Britain doesn't recognise Sealand as an independent state - officials say it is in UK territorial waters and subject to British and civil law - other countries do.

The government has had more than 50 years to decide what should be done about Sealand - and, other than rumours of invasions and plots to blow it up, has done nothing except made one offer to buy it.

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