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Why the son of an Australian forklift driver may be the rightful heir to the British throne

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Either someone's been reading too much Game of Thrones — or Prince Harry could really have a serious rival for the British crown. Last month, a 71 year-old Australian forklift driver passed away. Now, while that might not seem like news, he was considered by some to be the rightful heir to the British throne. He never made much of the possibillity, often making light of it. But now, his 37-year old son, Simon, is taking the claim a bit more seriously.

Amy Friedman of TIME explains what's going on:

So what's behind the Hastings' claim to the crown? Here's a little history: Way back in the 1400s, Richard of York was Lord Protector of the realm and father of the future King of England, by dint of a hard-won agreement with the childless King Henry VI. Richard was married to the lovely (and possibly unfaithful) Cecily, and while he was off fighting the French, according to some historians, a child was conceived. That child grew up to be King Edward IV. However: if Edward really was illegitimate, the crown should have been passed down to his brother, George. And 500 years of royal geneology later, according to research by Britain's Channel Four television, the true head beneath the crown should not belong to Queen Elizabeth but to Hastings.

The new heir, Simon Abney-Hastings, is much like his father before him. He's an average bloke who "prefers a bourbon and coke and a Barbie to tea and scones served on a silver tray," according to the Telegraph. Abney-Hastings also gets a kick out of making his friends call him "your lordship" now that he knows he is, in fact, an earl. While he seems content enough in Australia, however, the Telegraph says that the "reluctant royal" takes his new connections seriously and hasn't ruled out making a grab for the crown.


Interestingly, Abney-Hastings has expressed patience over the situation, citing his family motto, "I Byde My Tyme."

Top image via FanPop.