King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire: A Tale of Boredom, Lies, and Empire Building

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Press: Ebury Press (June 1, 2005)
Publication Date:2005-5
Author Name:Copeman, Nick


What would you do if you were twenty-five, unemployed, still living with your parents and had absolutely nothing to move on to in life? Nick Copeman's answer was to change his name by deed poll to His Majesty King Nicholas I and found an empire from his royal seat—a caravan just outside Sheringham, Norfolk. 
Originally done as a bet—part of which was to arrive to sign on at Cromer Job Centre on a horse and wearing a crown—the scam soon escalated and took on a life of its own.
He sells peerages over the internet, receives corporate sponsorship, becomes a local celebrity and dreams of a date with Zara Phillips.
But as His Majesty starts to believe his own hype, his ever more outlandish claims start catching up with him and not all the locals are happy.


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  •     Twenty-five-year-old Nick Copeman's accomplishments were few and decidedly unimpressive before he became King. Unemployed and still living with his parents in the coastal town of Sheringham, Nick spent his days watching schlock TV--Zena: Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica--and playing Connect Four or grabbing meals with his friend John Painter at Roy Boy's Truck Stop. But all that changed when Nick and John paid £29 apiece to legally change their names to, respectively, Henry Michael King Nicholas and The Right Reverand [sic] Baby Face Archbishop of Fantaberry. Having thus become royal, HM King Nicholas determined to look and act the part. He details in King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire how he and Baby Face set about acquiring the trappings of their new stations--the crown, the vestments, the stationery and trailer-turned-royal residence--and the various adventures the two had after adopting their new personae. Most dramatic among these was the pair's successful infiltration of the Pride of Norfolk Awards, an annual black-tie event held in the Ramada Norwich Hotel, at which King Nicholas managed to get himself photographed for the local society pages. Not all of their schemes were as successful, or as above-board: the King and Archbishop also collected for charity, the money going mostly toward keeping them in snacks, and they sold a number of peerages over the internet for large sums of money. You won't be surprised to learn that the whole enterprise ended rather badly.We are apparently to understand that the events described in King Nicholas are true, that Copeman and Baby Face really did engage in imaginative fundraising and generally make themselves unpopular in Sheringham with their stunts and affectations. Their prank is amusing--apart from the illegal and/or immoral among their undertakings--though not laugh-out-loud funny. The one joke of the book, that Copeman's something of an idiot who makes an ass of himself, often unwittingly, wears thin after a while. Still, the book is a nicely written and unusual read that will appeal to readers who like a good caper.Debra Hamel -- author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in ancient Greece (Yale University Press, 2003)

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