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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Sedang

What can I read for the history of the Sedang Kingdom and Marie I (Mayréna)?

A short bibliography:

Hickey, Gerald Cannon. Kingdom In the Morning Mist: Mayréna In the Highlands of Vietnam, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1988. This is the most comprehensive history of Sedang in English.

Marquet, Jean, "Un aventurier du XIXe siècle: Marie Ier, Roi des Sédangs (1888-1890)", Bulletin des Amis du Vieux Hué 14, nos. 1 and 2, 1927, pp. 1-133. Published by Impremierie d'Extrême-Orient, Hanoi. This is a book-length journal article with many illustrations and photos, including the only surviving illustration of the Sedang Kingdom flag. Published only in French and never reprinted.

Melville, Frederick John. Phantom Philately, Emile Bertrand, Lucerne, Switzerland, 1950 (first published in 1924), pp. 172-174. Has a section about the famous Sedang stamps of 1889.

Soulié, Maurice. Marie Ier, Roi des Sédangs, 1888-1890, Marpon et Cie, Paris, 1927. Another important French source with illustrations and photos. Published only in French and never reprinted.

Werlich, Robert. Orders and Decorations of All Nations, second edition, 1975, pp. 149-151. Has illustrations of the Sedang orders and decorations.

Unfortunately, all of the above books are out of print. The two most important sources, the Marquet and Soulié books, were published only in French and never translated into English; intrepid researchers can find them in libraries, museums and archives in France and Belgium.

There are also numerous articles that appeared in philatelic publications over the century, primarily because Sedang's most prominent artifacts are its stamps. These articles vary immensely in their historical accuracy.

Unfortunately, neither the Chancellery, the Captain Regent nor the Royal Sedang Post are able to provide photocopies of these books.

How did King Marie I die?

This is one of the mysteries of Sedang. Marie I died on November 11, 1890, in Tioman, an island off the west coast of Malaya, en route to reclaim his kingdom. J.F. Owen, the British resident (government official) of Pahang, was with Marie I at his death, and reported that Marie I died of a snake bite. However, Harold Scott, one of Marie I's entourage, bragged that he had killed Marie I in a duel. Later, Scott commissioned a Chinese artist in Hong Kong to paint a painting of the duel. There were also rumours that Marie I may have been poisoned by unknown persons or by himself.

Marie I was buried in a Malay cemetery in the obscure village of Kampong Jaiver, Kuala Rampin, Tioman.

Did Marie I have any children or descendants?

He had two known legitimate children and possibly some out-of-wedlock ones. He had four wives and one mistress. Mayréna married his first wife, Maria Francisca Avron, on March 3, 1869. They had two children: Albert and Marie-Louise.

In Vietnam, he had two mistresses. The first was Anahïa, a beautiful woman who was possibly a princess of the Cham people (whose kingdom, Champa, was in decline). She may actually have been the daughter of a woodcutter. The second was a Vietnamese girl named Le Thi Ben. There is no record of children from either union.

On August 21, 1888, Mayréna, as Marie I, dissolved his marriage to Maria Francisca Avron, but Albert and Marie-Louise continued to be royal children. One of his Vietnamese mistresses, either Anahïa or Le Thi Ben, became his wife and was known as Queen Marie. Whoever she was, she died of a tropical illness in the village of Kon Trang Mone circa August 1888.

On May 5, 1889, Marie I married Aimée-Julie Lyeuté, who became known as Marie Julie Rose Lyeuté by Decree No. 51. She was also known as Queen Marie-Rose. They moved to Belgium, where Marie I had supporters. He left her in Ostende, Belgium, when he returned to Asia to reclaim his kingdom in 1890. There is no record of children from this marriage.

In Singapore, Marie I converted to Islam, and in March 1890, he married another wife, Aisa, a Malay girl, possibly being married to both Aisa and Marie-Rose at the same time (which is permissible in Islam). There is no record of children from this marriage.

According to an article in the magazine Stamps, September 7, 1940 (volume 32, no. 10), p. 332, a Princess Yvonne de Mayréna, claiming to be a daughter of Marie I, appeared in Brussels, Belgium, with three Indian elephants as the headliner on an entertainment program of a cabaret. The article does not give the source of this information, nor does it say when Princess Yvonne appeared, but it is possible that she could have been a daughter from his

Marie I was survived by his brothers Henri and Romaric, who did not claim the crown of Sedang.

Why does the name of the kingdom appear as Kingdom of the Sedang in some documents and books and as Sedang Kingdom in others?

English-language writers have used both names. The name of the kingdom in French in the Constitution of 1888 is "Royaume Sédang" or "Sedang Kingdom." However, Marie I used the title "Roi des Sédangs" ("King of the Sedang"), as king of the people, not the country. Several nineteenth century monarchs used titles of kingship of their people, not of the country, for example, Emperor of the French, King of the Belgians, King of the Hellenes. English-language writers, noting that Marie I's title was King of the Sedang, translated the name of his kingdom as "Kingdom of the Sedang." The Regency has used both "Kingdom of the Sedang" and "Sedang Kingdom" and even "Royaume des Sédangs."

Is it true that Marie I left the Sedang stamps in a garbage can for a hotel maid to find?

This is one of the oldest philatelic legends and is untrue. There is no evidence that he ever did it.

When the Regency was founded in 1995, why did it renounce its claim to sovereignty, control and government over the territory of the Sedang Kingdom?

The Regency renounced claims to sovereignty, government and control over the territory of the Sedang Kingdom and recognizes the sovereignty of the government of Vietnam over the territory of the Sedang Kingdom. The reason is that it is impractical to regain and maintain control over the territory now. This situation is not unusual; it is equally impractical for the royal claimants of the Byzantine Empire, the Trebizond Empire, the Kingdom of Araucania-Patagonia, the German Empire, the Kingdom of Poland and other defunct monarchies to regain their ancient territories. However, their nobility often do not have any interest in restoring the monarchy but continue to use their noble and royal titles and privileges.

Why is English the Regency's predominant language when French was the language of Marie I's court of nobility, which was dominated by French, Vietnamese and Belgians?

There were also many British and Chinese recipients of Sedang honours in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya. Their kinsmen dominate the Regency now. Also, French is no longer an official language of Vietnam nor spoken as a second language by a significant part of the population, despite Vietnam being a member of Francophonie. English is now the most popular second language of Vietnam, and most university students and professors know English, not French. English is the predominant international language now.

However, the Regency's stamps, orders, medals and decorations use French as a traditional language. Such practice is like that of the Vatican City State, which uses Latin on stamps, coins and medals, and Switzerland, which uses its Latin name "Helvetia" on stamps and coins.

What is the title of the regent: Prince Regent, Captain Regent or Regent Pro Tempore?

The title has varied from regent to regent. The first regent used the title Prince Regent, not because he was a prince but to signify that he was a regent with the powers of the absent Mayréna dynasty. The second regent is more modest, preferring the title Regent Pro Tempore. The Constitution of 1998 establishes the title of the regent as Captain Regent. The title is based on the title of the co-chiefs of state of the Republic of San Marino.

Are Sedang titles of nobility recognized by other countries?

Neither the titles awarded by Marie I and the Regency have been recognized by other countries. However, this situation is not unusual; most countries do not recognize the titles of other countries, the Vatican does not recognize any titles of non-Catholic states, and almost all republics do not recognize any noble or royal titles. The Constitution of the United States forbids the United States Government from recognizing any title of nobility. Therefore, in most countries, holders of titles of nobility use their titles for social purposes, not for official business. For example, Americans and Britons who have titles of Poland, the Byzantine Empire, the Trebizond Empire or other defunct monarchies use them on private correspondence, calling cards, invitations, etc., but do not put their titles on passports or driver's licenses. Since many rebel or terrorist groups disdain foreign nobility, travellers should really not have titles on official documents and identification!

The Regulation of the Nobility, proclaimed in 1996, states that Sedang titles of nobility are awarded for the personal satisfaction of their recipients and have no connection to the Empire of Annam, the Empire of Vietnam or the past or present governments of Vietnam, France or French Indo-China. The titles are to be used within the Sedang court of nobility and with other Sedang nobles and officers.

What happened during the State of Civil Emergency of 1997?

A small group of Europeans, who had only recently received titles and appointments from the Prince Regent, attempted to overthrow him and establish their leader, a Finn, as "Prince of Sedang." The group's leader rudely and aggressively demanded the title even though it was reserved for the Mayréna dynasty. This group, especially its leader, offended the people who had given them friendship and camaraderie. The Prince Regent revoked all titles and appointments of the leader and expelled him from the nobility. However, the traitor continued his attempts to undermine the Regency. On September 26, 1997, the new Regent Pro Tempore decreed a state of civil emergency to prevent the secret sympathizers of the conspirators from joining the nobility, security forces or administration. Various measures were taken, including: interviewing senior security force officers to determine their loyalty; and stopping the award of titles, honours, administrative appointments and cultural exchange appointments to persons living in Europe except Belgium and France. The state of civil emergency is still in effect, but the Captain Regent has the authority to amend the emergency measures.

Any additional information about the emergency is classified.

How can I get a Sedang title of nobility or honour?

Unfortunately, the Regency stopped awarding new titles of nobility and honours after declaring the state of civil emergency on September 26, 1997. Persons living in Europe except Belgium and France are banned outright from receiving a new title or honour. Other persons may be considered for a title or honour on an individual basis after long, meritorious service to the Regency.

How can I buy Sedang stamps?

You can probably buy the stamps issued by Marie I from stamp dealers, especially those who specialize in "Cinderella" philately. The modern issues of the Regency are available from the Royal Sedang Post's agent, ISFAA, 711 Bay Street, suite 517, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2J8, Canada The website has information about ordering Sedang stamps.


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