In 1977 the good people of Hay came together to proclaim Unilateral Independence, with Richard Booth as King and Ruler of this new State. On the day of his Coronation the King knighted two small boys who happened to be in the crowd watching the ceremony. This marked the beginning of what is now known as the Hay Peerage.
What appeared to some, to be an April fool's day prank, and by others as a successful marketing ploy, was also a sincere attempt to 'shake off the bureaucratic grip of a central government which showed little or no practical interest in re-vitalizing the clearly decaying market town. This declaration was regarded as a means of strengthening internal power, emphasizing support for local produce and local employment.