An American student who tricked newspapers across the globe into believing he was an Irish peer and the ‘Marquess of Annaville’ has confessed he was wrong to lie after his fraud was exposed.
Alexander Jackson Maier, an African-American student from New Rochelle in New York state, claimed he had the title of Lord Alexander, 11th Marquess of Annaville and convinced newspapers in the UK and US of his new title.
In a since deleted article, he wrote a column for British newspaper The Independent arguing that claims by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, of racism in the Royal family to be true as a ‘black British member of the aristocracy’.
Maier, 22, also wrote a column in an American newspaper in February claiming that he had just become Lord Alexander, the 11th Marquess of Annaville and said the part of his family that carried the ‘hereditary right came from Northern Ireland’.
Alexander Jackson Maier (right), an African-American student from New Rochelle in New York state, claimed he had the title of Lord Alexander, 11th Marquess of Annaville and convinced newspapers in the UK and US of his new title.
But it was not all as it seemed and experts have since revealed that Mr Maier made up his titles – rather than being the last of a long line of Irish peers.
Maier has since ‘apologised greatly’ for his lies and admitted that he should not have made up the title, reports The Telegraph.
In an article, published by the Independent in March this year, he wrote in a column sympathising with Meghan and Prince Harry about their claims of racism in the Royal Family.
Maier wrote: ‘As a member of that same aristocracy, I’m telling you that I unequivocally believe that they are telling the truth.
‘When a white peer either inherits or is brought in, never do you hear major questions. Whether it is recorded in Debrett’s or happens with little fanfare, white people entering the aristocracy are welcomed with open arms and no interrogation.
‘That hasn’t been my experience. A ‘show me your papers’ attitude has become part of my daily existence.’
In a since deleted article, published by the Independent in March this year, he wrote in a column sympathising with Meghan and Prince Harry about their claims of racism in the Royal Family
But after the two articles were published, experts and social media users began questioning who Maier was and whether his titles even existed.
In fact, the title of Marquis of Annaville does not exist and while Maier claims that his family estate – the Annaville Manor in Maingot – is on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, it is also a made-up claim.
Peerage experts Debrett’s have slammed Maier for making up his title and said he should have just called himself the ‘Duke of Nowhersville’.
There has never been a creation of the Marquess of Annaville, and we have not included such a title in our 250-year history. If this title does exist, then it’s the best kept secret in the history of peerage recording,’ Wendy Bosberry-Scott, from Debrett’s, told The Telegraph.
But despite no evidence of his peerage or Titles, Maier was able to convince newpapers to publish his claims under those very titles.
In February, US newspaper St Lucia published a column by Maier where he wrote about British colonialism.
He wrote: ‘As of a few days ago I became Lord Alexander, the 11th Marquess of Annaville.
‘The part of my family that carries this hereditary right came from Northern Ireland and as the first Black Lord in my family it’s pretty safe to say my ten predecessors looked nothing like me.
‘Annaville Manor, our family’s central estate, is located in Maingot.’
In February, US newspaper St Lucia published a column by Maier where he wrote about British colonialism
A month later, The Independent published a column by Maier with the byline ‘Marquess of Annaville, the last of the Irish peerages’.
The article was headlined: ‘I’m a black British member of the aristocracy. I love the royal family — but I know what Meghan said was true.’
Maier wrote extensively about Meghan and Harry and said: ‘While I respected the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as part of the monarchy, I was never a supporter of their exit.
‘I felt it was a personal affront to Her Majesty the Queen and the entire Windsor-Mountbatten family. Indeed, when I first heard about their decision to move away from the UK, I was confused.
‘For a loved figure like Prince Harry to give his HRH and go for ‘Hollywood instead of home’ felt odd to me (not so much my husband, to his credit).
‘I certainly have denounced ‘Megxit’ privately among my friends and family at some point. Now, in the aftermath of that explosive interview with Oprah, I hesitate to use that term. It feels racial.
Maier wrote extensively about Meghan and Harry in his column and said that their claims of racism in the Royal Family were true
‘I understand what they spoke about, and sadly they are correct. I wish they weren’t right with every fiber of my being. I wish they were lying and the Duchess of Sussex hadn’t been bullied to the point of suicidal ideation during pregnancy. I wish she hadn’t had to make the choice to share such upsetting details with the public.
‘But as a member of that same aristocracy,I’m telling you that I unequivocally believe that they are telling the truth.
‘While I celebrate our system and respect the aristocracy and the royal family, what is hidden from the public and takes place behind closed doors must change. If change does not come, there will be a collapse in public support and potentially the viability of the system. That is why it is so important that we no longer operate in denial.’
The Independent later removed the article from their website after experts questioned Maier’s titles.
The newspaper published a correction in May which read: ‘On 12 March 2021 we published an article headlined: ‘I’m a black British member of the aristocracy. I love the royal family — but I know what Meghan said was true,’ written by Alexander Maier-Dlamini in which he was described as the ‘Marquess of Annaville – the last of the Irish peerages’.
The Independent newspaper published a correction in May this year following the article
‘This was incorrect, there is no Marquess of Annaville in the Irish peerage. The Independent has been unable to verify what titles (if any) Alexander Maier-Dlamini holds.’
Ms Bosberry-Scott told the Telegraph deceptions like Maier’s can be used to gain advantage.
She said: ‘There are many reasons why people do it, it’s often the need to feel special or important. A title can command respect and access.
‘Unless they are widely recognisable members of society, titles should not be accepted at face value.’
She added: ‘People have been claiming fabricated titles or titles they’re not entitled to for centuries, it’s why the Peerage and Baronetage became so popular and useful after it was first published in 1769. If somebody claimed to be the ‘Duke of Nowheresville’, all you had to do was look them up in the latest volume of Debrett’s.’
Mr Maeir has since admitted that he should not have made up the title.
He told the newspaper: ‘There is no title in the peerage related to me whatsoever. I do apologize greatly to those institutions involved with a mechanism like this, many of which I’m obviously not familiar with.’