Excellent association copy, Iain Fletcher and Jon Wynne-Tyson were joint literary executors for John Gawsworth who was King of Redonda. Jon Wynne-Tyson claimed Gawsworth passed the title to him. This book and the accompanying letters reference the early friendship of Wynne-Tyson and John Gawsworth and appears to mark also an early stage of the future literary executors Fletcher and Wynne-Tyson.
First edition in a dust jacket.
From the library of Jon Wynne-Tyson.
Wynne-Tyson was an English author, publisher, Quaker, activist and pacifist, who founded Centaur Press in 1954. He ran Centaur Press from his home in Sussex and was a distinguished independent publisher. He authored books on animal rights and vegetarianism.
The Kingdom of Redonda
Jon Wynne-Tyson subsequently visited Redonda in 1979, on an expedition organised by the philanthropist and Shielian publisher A. Reynolds Morse. Wynne-Tyson ruled as King Juan II until abdicating in favour of the novelist Javier Marías of Madrid in 1997, transferring the literary executorship of Gawsworth and Shiel along with the title.
Arthur John Roberts’ title was subsequently inherited by William Leonard Gates, whom Gawsworth had given the title of “Baron L’Angelier de Blythswood de Redonda”. From his home at Thurlton, Norfolk, Gates, who was known as King Leo, presided over a group known as “The Redondan Foundation”, not be confused with “The Redondan Cultural Foundation” set up by Paul de Fortis (see below). Gates died on 2 January 2019 and his crown passed to Queen Josephine.
As in Gawsworth’s reign, meetings of these rival groups have been held at the Fitzroy Tavern in Fitzrovia, central London. King Leo reigned as king for thirty years, since 1989. Williamson, who lived on Antigua until his death in 2009, set himself up as the rival “King Robert the Bald”.[ King Robert the Bald was succeeded in 2009 by yachting writer Michael Howorth.
In 1988, the late London clergyman Paul de Fortis established “The Redondan Cultural Foundation”. Because of what he viewed as the inaction of the various rival monarchs, de Fortis promoted a new king, Cedric Boston (born on Montserrat in 1960). Boston claimed the Redondan throne in 1984, winning the allegiance of a number of Gawsworth’s peers.
On the question of the Kingdom of Redonda, Wynne-Tyson has written:
The legend is and should remain a pleasing and eccentric fairy tale; a piece of literary mythology to be taken with salt, romantic sighs, appropriate perplexity, some amusement, but without great seriousness. It is, after all, a fantasy.
Impostor Kings of Redonda Revealed
John Wynne-Tyson admits to being an impostor!
On 22nd May 2007, BBC Radio 4 at 11.00am broadcast the programme,
“Redonda: the island with too many Kings”. It was compiled by Roger Dobson, and purported to explore the theory that there were currently nine potential monarchs of Redonda.
King Leo was invited to take part, but unfortunately had to withdraw the day before the interview, due to ill health. A member of the Realm kindly offered his professional services, but these were declined in favour of a voice-over from a previous filmed recording of His Majesty for a BBC 1 programme, “Inside Out” East, transmitted on 30th September 2002.
In the course of the programme, Mr Wynne-Tyson finally admitted to the media that John Gawsworth (King Juan I), did indeed pass the Title Deeds of the Kingship on to John Roberts, (who took the Title of King Juan II). Also he was introduced as Literary Executor for Gawsworth, but chose not to mention that the post was held jointly with Dr Iain Fletcher. However, the descent of the Title of Kingship was endorsed by Professor A Freeman, an original member of John Gawsworth’s court, who affirmed that the present holder of the Title, King Leo, owned all the relevant documents of the succession. (These papers, which date back to MP Shiel, and are in the hands of King Leo’s solicitors, have never been challenged.) This uncomfortable fact, which was undisputed, left Javier Marias and Bob Williamson, to talk their way through the programme, both having supposedly inherited the Kingship from John Wynne-Tyson. A recording of this programme has been placed in the Royal Redondan Archives.