SYDNEY, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- The founder of Australia's oldest micro-nation has announced that he will abdicate as the reigning monarch.
Prince Leonard Casely of the Principality of Hutt River, which seceded from Australia in 1970, announced that he will abdicate his throne on February 11 and his youngest son, Graeme, would assume the crown.
Hutt River, located 500 kilometers north of Perth in Western Australia (WA), became independent from Australia through a series of legal manoeuvres after Casely had a dispute with the WA government over wheat production quotas.
Hutt River claims to be an independent sovereign state and has existed for 45 years, though it is not legally recognized by the Australian government.
Casely, now 91, said deteriorating health was responsible for his decision to step down.
"It certainly would be nice to be able to continue, but again, you've got to be able to realize that we've all got our own period of life," Leonard told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.
"I'm very happy to be handing it over to Prince Graeme, because I know he's very able and capable."
Prince Graeme, who holds a number of titles including minister of state and education, said he was "quietly nervous and excited" to take on the role.
Graeme said he was keen to mend a fractured relationship with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which has pursued the province for decades in an attempt to recoup unpaid income tax.
"I will be trying to bring about a more harmonious relationship with our closest neighbor, Australia, and the West Australian Government," Graeme said.
"I don't know how that's going to happen, but I'm certainly going to put my best foot forward and try and bring about more harmonious situation so that it's beneficial for all.
"We're not here as a threat."