Lost kingdom: Myanmar's forgotten royals

Lost kingdom: Myanmar's forgotten royals
Myanmar's Princess Hteik Su Phaya Gyi showing oil paintings of her parents at a relative's house in Yangon.

YANGON - In a modest Yangon apartment, the granddaughter of Myanmar's last king lives poor and unrecognised by her neighbours - a far cry from the power and riches of her ancestor.

Princess Hteik Su Phaya Gyi said the childhood days when her family had a bevy of servants and retained some of its royal status were now a distant memory.

The British colonial regime dethroned her grandfather King Thibaw in 1885 and later the military junta, which ruled the country for decades, kept the family out of the public eye.

"They didn't want us to be somebody," said the silver-haired princess, swathed in a shimmering purple shawl worn especially for the rare interview.

"I have lived as an ordinary person for 60 years," she told AFP.

"Of course I repent a little over the glorious times that we had when we were young," she said, displaying a lively wit undimmed by her 90 years.

The demolition of the monarchy, at the end of the third and final war that brought the nation firmly under the colonial yoke, smashed centuries of royal rule in the country then called Burma.

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