NMV Monthly Lecture - The King in Exile: The Fall of the Royal Family of Burma

The King in Exile
The Fall of the Royal Family of Burma

Tuesday, 5th February 2013

National Gallery

In 1879, as the king of Burma lay dying, one of his queens schemed for his forty-first son, Thibaw, to supersede his half brothers to the throne. For seven years, King Thibaw and Queen Supayalat ruled from the resplendent, intrigue-infused Golden Palace in Mandalay, where they were treated as demi-gods. After a war against Britain in 1885, their kingdom was lost, and the family exiled to the secluded town of Ratnagiri in British-occupied India. Here they lived, closely guarded, for over thirty-one years. The king's four daughters received almost no education, and their social interaction was restricted mainly to their staff. As the princesses grew, so did their hopes and frustrations. Two of them fell in love with 'highly inappropriate' men. In 1916, the heartbroken king died. Queen Supayalat and her daughters were permitted to return to Rangoon in 1919. In Burma, the old queen regained some of her feisty spirit as visitors came by daily to pay their respects. All the princesses, however, had to make numerous adjustments in a world they had no knowledge of. The impact of the deposition and exile echoed forever in each of their lives, as it did in the lives of their children. Join us on Tuesday, 5th February 2013 for this timely talk.

King Thibaw, Queen Supayalat and her sister Princess Supayaji, made from a negative found in the Royal Palace, Mandalay, late November 1885.

Sudha Shah studied at the Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai and thereafter got her degree from Smith College, USA. She is married and settled in Mumbai. She has one son. Mrs. Shah spent seven years researching and writing The King in Exile: The Fall of the Royal Family of Burma. The book was been written in the form of narrative non-fiction – a family biography. Her sources include in-depth interviews with King Thibaw’s descendants including four of his grandchildren, two of who are now deceased; published material including some now out-of-print books; and letters, articles, rare family photographs and other material given to her by two Burmese historians and by members of the late king’s family with whom she built up a rapport over the years. The book has been shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2012 and was on the shortlist for the Tata Literature Live First Book Award 2012.

VENUE:         National Gallery  Thanon Chao Fa, Chana Songkhram                                   
                     Phra Nakhon, Bangkok

DONATION:  Members 100 Baht, Guests 200 Baht

TIME: 10:0

CONTACT:  Biliana | NMVmonthlyprogram@gmail.com

Ines Ehrlich

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