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Piel island, Cumbria
Photograph: Shutterstock

A man just been crowned the new ‘king’ of this remote British island

The coronation ceremony will involve him being soaked in alcohol while holding a sword

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson

Being king of your own island sounds like the stuff of dreams. No more rules, no more irritating neighbours, just you and your dominion. If you don’t mind having a lot of your own company, sounds kind of perfect, right?

Well, for Aaron Sanderson, that’s now a reality. The 33-year-old beat hundreds of other applicants to take over the 50-acre Piel Island, off the Cumbrian coast in the UK. He won’t actually be the king, of course, but the island’s caretaker. That means running the Ship Inn pub, managing the island’s campsite and doing his bit to help protect its abundant wildlife.

The local council launched a competition in December to find someone up for the (admittedly quite lonely) job. Sanderson will be initiated via the traditional ‘crowning ceremony’, where he’ll ‘sit in an ancient chair, wearing a helmet and holding a sword’ while being drenched in alcohol.

Sanderson told the BBC that he was willing to give up his well-paid job as a submarine electrician to maintain Piel Island. ‘It’s an incredible risk and a wonderful opportunity’, he said, adding that he visited the Ship Inn often as a child and has a strong emotional connection to the place.

Fancy making a visit to his realm? Want to eye it up for next time there’s a vacancy? There are two (weather-dependent) ferries a day to the island – find out more here.

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