𝑬𝒎𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝑵𝒂𝒎 𝑷𝒉𝒖𝒐𝒏𝒈 – 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒂𝒖𝒕𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝑽𝒊𝒆𝒕𝒏𝒂𝒎'𝒔 𝒍𝒂𝒔𝒕 𝑸𝒖𝒆𝒆𝒏
Empress Nam Phương (14 December 1914 – 16 September 1963), born Marie-Thérèse Nguyễn Hữu Thị Lan, was the first and primary wife of Bao Đai, the last emperor of Vietnam, from 1934 until her death. She was also the second and last empress of the Nguyen dynasty.
Empress Nam Phuong is known for her matchless beauty and combine in her person the graces of the west and the charms of the east. Her ordained name translates to “Fragrance of the South,” a fitting title for a woman ahead of her time, whose virtues, charm and charisma. At the time of her marriage, a song was written in her honor: "In the firmament of the son of heaven a brilliant new star has risen. Supple as the neck of the swan is the charm of her graceful form. Her black and sparkling eyes, in hours of ease, envelop and thrill that happy mortal allowed to see."
During her time, she made many contributions to society. She was credited for the opening of the Congrégation Notre-Dame school in her homeland in 1935, and had a significant influence on fashion, with women from Vietnam to Europe attempting to imitate her style. Highly educated and well-spoken, Nam Phuong often negotiated in diplomatic meetings with important figures, conversing in French of course, and cared greatly for the country of her birth.
She is also the first (and last) Catholic Queen of Vietnam. She also made her stance on monogamous relationships clear: King Bao Dai had to abandon the concubine system that was the norm of the patrilineal era. She demanded not to be just another woman in a harem, taken at the king’s pleasure, but to meet in his eyes as an equal. Despite his promise to remain faithful, it turns out Emperor Bao Dai was a bit of a bad boy, and went on to have several adulterous relationships with other women. Finally, Nam Phuong died of a heart attack in a small rural village in France in 1963, aged just 49.
Beauty & Love, perhaps, cannot last forever, but the memory of Vietnam’s last beautiful empress surely will.
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Source: wiki, chaohanoi
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