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Is An Australian Farmer Really the King of England?

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, January 2, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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TONY SNOW, GUEST HOST:  In the Personal Story segment, the true king of England may be living down under. 

An historian claims he can prove that the rightful heir to the British throne is a 62-year-old truck driving farmer living in Australia.  A documentary set to air this month in England presents fresh evidence that Queen Elizabeth's reign is based on a lie. 

Joining us now from Los Angeles with insight into all things royal, political commentator Martin Lewis.

Martin, I just love this.  What does this story do to the royals?

MARTIN LEWIS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR:  Well, it could roil them in a big way. 

We're used to the fact that the British royal family is very dysfunctional.  I mean, they make the Osbourne family look normal by comparison.  But they were even more messed up 500 years ago. 

And an historian has done this research, which is coming out in this documentary, which proves there was a break caused by infidelity in the royal line of succession that leads to the present-day queen.  And if you examine it carefully, it looks like there was a mistake.  Somebody was an illegitimate child who became a king, and therefore everything that followed was out of order. 

SNOW:  In other words, the heir to the throne after Edward IV (search) apparently was inconceivable by his father, because the father was well, how shall we say, far away from the mother.  She, in turn, is alleged to have had an affair with a French archer. 

What sort of irony that would be, that it's truly a French throne.  I guess you can forget the Battle of Hastings (search). 

But let me ask you this.  You just mentioned this is the mother of all dysfunctional families. 

All the kids have been divorced.  The mother appears to be withholding the crown from the son; the father is distant and cold.  They are doing an autopsy and an inquest with Diana to try to figure out if she was carrying Dodi Al-Fayed's (search) love child. 

I mean, this is like David Blair, except it's a whole lot more expensive, is it not?  David Blaine (search), I mean.  Is it not?

LEWIS:  Well, you almost want to imagine -- you remember that famous scene in Dallas, the TV series, where Victoria Principal wakes up and it's all a nightmare? 

I mean, the actual story of this illegitimate thing is amazing.  George -- Edward IV was the king of England, but it's transpired that at the key moment that he was conceived, his father was making war on the French, a common pastime even in those days. 

But his wife was off cavorting.  She was a 26-year-old lady.  She was off cavorting with a French archer, you know, one of those bows and arrows.  I think you'd call it a massive Gallic symbol. 

Anyway, before you know it, Edward IV is clearly -- You like that one.  Edward IV is clearly illegitimate, in which case his younger brother, who was George the Duke of Clarence, or maybe he was Clarence, Duke of George, it doesn't really matter, that that was the guy who should have been king.

And therefore, it all leads down to this guy who's a forklift truck driver in Australia who would be Prince Michael of Australia. 

SNOW:  This is what I like.  Now let's see if we can get a picture if we can for a moment.  He's also the Earl of Loudon and holds several other titles. 

There you are.  Now, we are accustomed to our royalty being thin and looking a bit inbred.  This guy looks like a guy you'd find at the pub. 

LEWIS:  Well, it's a refreshing change, isn't it?  You actually now see a guy that actually knows how to enjoy himself. 

I mean, the British royal family -- I've got to be honest about it -- they're inbred within one chromosome of insanity.  Here's a guy who looks like he's been having a regular life; he's had a few beers...

SNOW:  Well, he won't do, then, will he?

LEWIS:  Well, that's probably why they don't want him to have the throne.  I think it would be -- I think actually, Britain would -- If Britain had held onto somebody like this guy, the King Michael guy in Australia, maybe we wouldn't have lost America.  It would have been a much better deal. 

SNOW:  Now let me ask you this.  There has got to be a point now where the British people are getting a little bit exhausted with the House of Windsor, because it really is a freak show.  And it gets freakier with each passing year.  And yes, the queen goes out and gives an occasional declaration. 

Is, in fact, the royalty losing its sheen once and for all, and are its days numbered?

LEWIS:  Well, what's clearly happened -- and it's more of a factor of the last 20 years, the way that the media coverage has become more intense.  But it's like that live by the sword, you die by the sword. 

The British royal family were very happy to encourage the media to cover it, but these kind of scandals that have been there from all time -- they're just like a regular family, only more so.  They have become under the microscope of the media attention.  It's really too much. 

And the British people have started to express this.  They've had one or two opinion polls that said that they might even be prepared to get rid of the monarchy.  The only reason they're keeping the monarchy now -- And I shouldn't really admit this -- is because American tourists are so good for business.  And if we got rid of the monarchy, what would happen is we would just end up as being, you know, just a classier version of America.  And that would be terrible. 

SNOW:  Well, one won't quibble about the classier point.  After all, here you've got the choice between a guy who may, in fact -- one king who might marry Camilla Parker-Bowles (search) and another guy who's driving a truck.  Which would you prefer?

LEWIS:  I want the truck driver anytime.  I mean, the truck driver can have a few beers with him.  He's probably got a good Australian accent.  I mean, geez, let's put a few shrimps on the barbie.  That's what you want from a king.  I don't know that we'll going to get it. 

SNOW:  The man who would be king but probably won't, Michael Abney-Hastings (search), the Earl of Loudon. 

Martin Lewis, as always, thank you. 

LEWIS:  Thank you very much. 

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