Massive funeral planned for local traveller known as ‘The Old King’


Michael O’Brien has a total of 133 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren

An Irish-traveller known locally as ‘The Old King’ will have a ‘royal-themed’ funeral to mark his passing after living in the borough for 36 years.

Michael O’Brien, nicknamed “The Old King” – was a proud Irish-traveller who moved here with his wife in 1986. “He lived mostly at a caravan park on Glengall Road in Peckham,” said Michael’s daughter, Ann-Marie O’Brien. “He was a big name in the area. Everyone knew him as ‘The Old King’.”

Michael sadly passed on November 3rd after a battle with cancer aged 79. He had a big family: the total number of his own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren adding up to 133.

Today (Tuesday 22nd November), he is being laid to rest alongside his wife and son at the family burial ground at Camberwell Old Cemetery.

“He always loved Southwark. He wanted to be treated locally at King’s. Our family are so grateful to them and the community nurses for giving him such high-quality care.”

Michael was very fond of horses, and they will be leading the procession of his coffin through the streets, from the church in Rotherhithe, past his former home in Peckham and on to the cemetery.

In 1997, the O’Brien family made headlines in the News when Mrs Veronica O’Brien (Ann-Marie’s mother) passed and had a funeral that stopped traffic.

Michael’s funeral is set to be another big affair: “We’re having a massive funeral. There’s going to be a lot of horses and vintage motors,” Ann-Marie added.

The funeral has a royalty theme because of his large family and following.


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