Grandma’s real name is Huyền Tôn Nữ Thị Tý. It is quite an usual name for Vietnamese, however, was a distinctive character to distinguish her as a royal member from peasants.
She was born from a man named Bửu Liều whose was one of great grandson of Thọ Xuân Vương, Minh Mang Emperor’s third son.
Now I know you start to twist your brain a bit.
Let’s me show you her family tree below:
When you visit Hué ancient city, the first thing on your Hue attraction list will be the Hue Citadel and Imperial City. The complex was started by the Gia Long Emperor ( period 1802-1820, number 1 in the chart). He was the founding father of Nguyen Dynasty and also Vietnam!
He had about 20 sons and one of them was Emperor Minh Mang (period 1820-1841, number 2).
Minh Mang had A LOT of children, about 142 sons and daughters.
One of his many sons is Prince Thọ Xuân (number 3). His name is Nguyễn Phúc Miên Định. As a bright scholar under his own father’s reign, he was appointed as Right Director of Imperial Clan Court and elevated to Prince of Tho Xuan under the reign of Tu Duc’s emperor. This is the highest title pointed for people who come from royal family.
Like his father, prince of Thọ Xuân also had a lot of children, even broke his father’s record by having extra 2 children.
One of Thọ Xuân’s sons was Trợ Quốc Khanh Hồng Chiêm ( number 4). Then he had Ưng Xuyến ( number 5). Ưng Xuyến then had Bửu Liều (6). It’s worth for you to know that all these men actually had a lot of wives and children.
Now, you’ll see that my grandma is one of the daughters of Bửu Liều. Meaning she is considered the 5th descendant of Minh Mang Emperor!
Grandma is very proud of her family status. She often told me story of her receiving money every month when the Dynasty was still ruling in Hué. This was one of the benefits that members of royal family had.
However, it was in turn a bad policy for Minh Mang’s later descendants since they became dependent on the privilege. While many of the peasants worked hard and competed hard to gain a status in Vietnam society back the day, these members did not take serious schooling but paying more time in gambling and entertaining.
As a result, many of grandma’s brothers and male cousins were poor nowadays. Female royal members were not highly appreciated, thus, grandma grew up not being able to read or write. She sold Banh beo, banh nam and banh loc in front of Thọ Xuân residence.
Grandma forgets things most of the time. She needs me to remind her of who I am every once in a while. Her discontinuous memory is like a puzzle game that would never be finished. Her black teeth are also gone, only two left!
Grandma has 5 sons and daughters. Most of them are teachers and engineers. She takes pride in that. She often tells me that they (including my grandpa) raised their kids to be great teachers by selling candies and cookies only.
Grandma now lives in front of Prince Residence of her great great grandfather, Phủ Thọ Xuân.