- Savang Vatthana
name =King Savang Vatthana
title =King of the Kingdom of Laos
29 October, 1959– 2 December, 1975
Pathet Laotook over in 1975
issue =Crown Prince
Savivanh SavangPrincess Thala Savang
othertitles = HM King Sri Savang Vatthana
royal house =
Khun Lo Dynasty
royal anthem =
date of birth =birth date|1907|11|13|df=y
place of birth =
Luang Phrabang, Laos
date of death =
13 May?, 1978 or as late as 1984
place of death =
Savang or Sisavang Vatthana "(full name Samdach Brhat Chao Mavattaha Sri Vitha Lan Xang Hom Khao Phra Rajanachakra Lao Parama Sidha Khattiya Suriya Varman Brhat Maha Sri Savangsa Vadhana)" (
13 November, 1907− 13 May("?"), 1978; or perhaps as late as 1984) was the last king of the Kingdom of Laos. He ruled from 1959 after his father's death, until his forced abdication in 1975. Savang Vatthana proved unable to manage a country in political turmoil. His rule ended with the takeover of the Pathet Lao in 1975, after which he and his family were sent to a re-education camp by the Pathet Lao.
Prince Savang Vatthana was born on 13 November 1907 at the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang, the son of King
Sisavang Vongand Queen Kham-Oun I. He was the second of five children, the others being Princess Sammathi, Prince Sayasack, Prince Souphantharangsri and the oldest princess Khampheng. He was also a distant cousin of Prince Souvanna Phoumaand Prince Souphanouvong. At the age of 10, Prince Savang was sent to study in France. He attended a lycée in Montpellier, got a degree from Paris's École Libre des Sciences Politiques (now called Sciences Po), where French diplomats were trained. After graduating from school, the young heir continued his studies in France. After a decade, Savang Vatthana returned but he no longer could speak Lao, and had to be instructed by a palace functionary for years.
On August 7, 1930, he married Queen
Khamphouiand they had six children, Crown Prince Vong Savang, Prince Sisavang Savang,Prince Savang,Prince Sauryavong Savang, Princess Savivanh Savang, and Princess Thala Savang. Like other Asian royal families, the family played tennis together, and liked to attend major tournaments on their travels abroad. He was also a devout Buddhist and became an authority on the "sangkha" and took his role as protector of the state religion seriously.
World War II, he represented his father with the Japanese forces. His father sent him to the Japanese headquarters in Saigon, where he vigorously protested the Japanese actions, when they invaded Laos and forced them to declare independence from France.
King of Laos
In 1951, he served as Prime Minister, and when his father became ill on August 20, 1959, he was named
Regent. On October 29, 1959, he informally ascended the throne upon the death of his father. He was, however, never officially crowned and anointed king, deferring his coronation until the cessation of civil war. During his reign, Savang Vatthana visited many countries on diplomatic missions. In March 1963, he toured 13 countries, including the United States, where he stopped at Washington, D.C.to meet with President Kennedy. It was the second stop on a tour of 13 of the nations signatory to the Geneva Pact that guaranteed the "neutrality" of the Kingdom of Laos. The first stop had been Moscow, and the Russians showered gifts, including slick Chaika limousines. He was also accompanied by his Prime Minister, Souvanna Phouma. infobox hrhstyles
royal name=King of Laos
offstyle=His Royal Majesty
He was active in Lao politics, trying to stabilise his country after the political turmoil started with the
Geneva Conferenceof July 1954, which granted full independence to Laos but did not settle the issue of who would rule. Prince Souvanna Phouma, a neutralist, operated from Vientiane, claiming to be Prime Minister and being recognized by the Russians; Prince Boun Oum of Champassakin the south, right-wing, pro-US, dominated the Pakse area, recognized as Prime Minister by the US; and in the far north, Prince Souphanouvongled the leftist resistance movement, the Pathet Lao, drawing support from North Vietnam, also claiming to be Prime Minister with the backing of the communists. To avoid argument over whether Souvanna or Boun Oum was the "legitimate" Prime Minister, both sides would deal through the pro-western King Savang Vatthana. In 1961, a majority of the National Assembly had already voted Boun Ouminto power and King Savang Vatthana left Luang Prabang, visiting the capital to give the new government his blessing. But he wanted the Three Princesto form a coalitiongovernment, which happened in 1962 but collapsed. In 1964 series of coupsand counter coups resulted in the final alignment of the Pathet Laoon one side with the neutralist and right wing factions on the other. From this point the Pathet Lao refused to join any offers of coalition or national elections.
Abdication and death
On 2 December 1975 he was forced to abdicate the throne after the communist revolution, and later was appointed supreme advisor to the President. He refused to leave the country. In March 1977, he was arrested with the Queen, Crown Prince
Vong Savang, Prince Sisavang, and his brothers Princes Souphantharangsriand Thongsouk. He was put into an internment camp Sam-Neuain northern Laos. It was called "Camp Number One", where all the important political prisoners were held. During his time in the camp, the royal family was allowed to move freely around in their compounds during the day. He was the oldest prisoner in the camp, turning 70 during the earlier months of imprisonment, the average age being around 55. ["Bamboo Palace", Kremmer . 2003, p. 1989. accessed on May 10, 2008.]
About 1978, it was reported that he, along with Queen
Khamphouiand Crown Prince Vong Savang, had died. Upon the news of the deaths of King Savang Vatthana and Crown Prince Vong Savang, the King's youngest son Sauryavong Savangbecame the head of the Laotian royal family, acting as regentto his nephew Crown Prince Soulivong Savang. However, according to Kaysone Phomvihane, Vatthana would have died in 1984, at the age of 77. ["Laos " Le roi est mort ", Le Monde. 16 December 1989, p. 7. accessed on October 8, 2006.]
The children of Savang Vatthana and Khumphoui as follows:
* "I will be with my people to face this problem together to the end regardless of what will happen to me."
* "Alas, I am destined to be the last king of Laos."
* "We Lao, we are also Thai, but we don't want to become Siamese."
Monarchs of Laos
Kingdom of Laos
Laotian Royal Family
* [http://www.exploitz.com/Laos-quotseminar-Campsquot-And-The-Death-Of-King-Savang-Vatthana-cg.php Laos - "Seminar Camps" And The Death Of King Savang Vatthana]
* [http://phiengch.free.fr/Album01.htm Photographs of Royal Family of Laos]
* [http://www.laosite.com/albums/alb40/alb40_9.htm Biography of King Sauryavong Savang (French)]
* [http://www.workmall.com/wfb2001/laos/laos_history_seminar_camps_and_the_death_of_king_savang_vatthana.html Death of King Savang Vatthana reported]
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