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Queen Supayalat

Individual Documents

Title: The Last Queen of Burma
Date of publication: July 2003
Description/subject: Burma’s Queen Supayalat was a ruler to be feared and revered... "I have a confession to make. I am infatuated with a dead queen, who among other appalling acts of cruelty ordered that between 80 and 100 of her husband’s relatives be murdered in ways said to include the dashing of children against walls. I revere her for that, because the massacre—or "clearing", as it was called—was intended to destroy all potential rivals to the throne. But my infatuation derives from a portrait of her found in Terence R Blackburn’s The British Humiliation of Burma. In it she is prostrate; she seems to be staring right at me. One of her hands is under her chin, the other dangles lazily. Her enigmatic and enticing smile is nearly a smirk, and it originates less from her mouth than from her eyes. Her jet black hair is pulled up into a topknot. She is wearing earrings. She is petite. And she is beautiful. Her name was Supayalat. She was the last queen of Burma. Supayalat was born in 1859. Or 1860: both dates are used. She was the middle daughter of Sinpyumashin, widow to Mindon, whose son Thibaw was Burma’s last king, her husband, and therefore also her half-brother. At the time of the massacre, which took place over a few days in February 1879, Supayalat was only around 20 years old. She died in 1925, and was buried in Rangoon...
Author/creator: Kenneth Champeon
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 11, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 November 2003