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Hello, Loudoun County. My name is Earl.

Simon Abney-Hastings, the 15th Earl of Loudoun, right, visited Loudoun County last week with a few traveling companions. Facebook/Loudoun County Government
Donning a black ball cap, casual jeans and a short-sleeve button-down, Simon Abney-Hastings didn’t arrive in Loudoun with much fanfare -- just some traveling companions, a likely case of travel lag and a nice-sounding title: The 15th Earl of Loudoun, a parish in Scotland and the county's namesake.

The 40-year-old Earl, who now lives in Australia, was making his first trek through the U.S. this summer, including stops in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and, of course, the county named after the fourth Earl of Loudoun, John Campbell, in 1757.

The coat of arms depicted on Loudoun's county seal and elements of the flag are modeled after the coat of arms of Campbell, a Scottish nobleman and military commander.

Abney-Hastings’ grandmother, 13th Countess of Loudoun Barbara Huddleston Abney-Hastings, is to thank for donating a stone from Loudoun Castle in Scotland to Loudoun County in 1976. That stone rests in the county government center just outside the Board of Supervisors chambers.

But while the Earl of Loudoun sounds prestigious, Abney-Hastings’ true title may be a bit more impressive. Some historians believe he’s the rightful heir to the British throne.

Abney-Hasting’s father, Michael, was in his 60s and far removed from the United Kingdom when a 2004 documentary proposed a theory. England’s The Telegraph newspaper lays it out:

“[Michael Abney-Hasting’s] ‘claim’ to the throne first became apparent after the documentary, Britain's Real Monarch, put forward a thesis by a historian, Dr. Michael Jones, who said King Edward, who reigned from 1461 to 1483, was conceived when his parents were 100 miles apart.

At the time, according to a document unearthed by Dr Jones in a library in Rouen, Edward's supposed father, Richard, 3rd Duke of York, was said to be fighting the French near Paris, while his mother, Lady Cecily Neville, was at court in Rouen.

Furthermore, Lady Cecily was said to be spending a great deal of time with a local archer named Blaybourne and the two were rumoured to be having an affair. King Louis XI of France is said to have once claimed about King Edward: 'His name is not King Edward – everybody knows his name is Blaybourne.'”

Genealogists and royalty experts, assuming King Edward was illegitimate, eventually determined Michael Abney-Hastings, who had since relocated to Australia, would’ve been the rightful heir.

Which leaves us with Simon, who traveled back to his home in Australia on Aug. 28, the day after his local visit.

Attempts by the Times-Mirror to contact Abney-Hastings were unsuccessful at the time this edition went to press.

Rumor has it he and his pals rather enjoyed themselves at a local pub in historic downtown Leesburg.

One of the visitors with the Earl, Lisa Dix, thanked the county through Facebook.

"It was a wonderful experience," Dix noted. "You were all very kind and friendly. Appreciated your hospitality. You are all lovely people."


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