H.I.H. Princess Thi-Nga

 

 

 

 

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His Imperial Majesty
Emperor Gia Long

 

 

His Imperial Majesty
Emperor Minh Mang

 

 

Prince Canh

 

 Monsignor Pigneau de Béhaine

 

 

 

  

PRINCE CANH

 Nguyễn Phúc Cảnh (1780-1801), also known as H.I.H. Prince Cảnh, was the eldest son of the Vietnamese Prince Nguyễn Phúc Ánh, the future Emperor Gia Long (H.I.H. Princess Thi-Nga’s Great-great-great grandfather)

At the age of 7, he famously visited France with the French Catholic Bishop Pigneau de Béhaine to sign an alliance between France and Vietnam. Although Prince Canh was the legitimate heir to the throne, he died before his father, and none of his descendants ascended the throne. His brother, Prince Nguyen Phuc Dom (future Emperor Minh Mang) was chosen by his father, Emperor Gia Long.

Embassy to France

In 1785, at the age of five, Prince Canh departed from Vietnam and accompanied the French Catholic Bishop Pigneau de Béhaine to France in order to sign a treaty of alliance between France and Vietnam, the 1787 Treaty of Versailles. Prince Canh was also accompanied by two mandarins, a cousin, who became a Catholic known as Prince Pascal, soldiers and servants. The party reached Pondicherry in February 1785 and the France in July 1786, which they reached in February 1787.

 The party met with King Louis XVI on May 5 or 6, 1787. The Treaty of Versailles (1787) was signed on 28 November 1787. Prince Canh created a sensation at the court of Louis XVI, leading the famous hairdresser Léonard to create a hairstyle in his honour "au prince de Cochinchine". His portrait was made in France by Maupérin, and is now on display at the Séminaire des Missions Étrangères in Paris. Prince Canh dazzled the Court and even played with the son of Louis XVI, Louis-Joseph, Dauphin of France.

While in France, Prince Canh resided in the 1732 building of the Paris Foreign Missions Society. Prince Canh became highly favorable to Christianity. He strongly desired to be baptized.

 Return to Vietnam

The party would leave France in December 1787 on board the Dryade, again staying in Pondicherry from May 1788 to July 1789. After his return from France, Prince Canh refused to kneel in front of the altar of his ancestors, and painted crosses on Buddhist statues. He would regularly attend Catholic mass, but was not formally baptized although he wished to.

 In 1793 Prince Canh became "Crown Prince of the Eastern Palace".  From 1794 he participated to all the military expeditions, and his father Nguyen Anh insisted that he be accompanied every time by Father Pigneau de Béhaine. He was besieged by the Tay Son Revolutionaries with Pigneau de Béhaine in the citadel of Duyen Khanh in 1794.

After Pigneau de Béhaine died at the Siege of Quy Nhon in 1799, Prince Canh made a funerary oration to his former master:

 Return to Vietnam

Main article: French assistance to Nguyen Anh

The party would leave France in December 1787 onboard the Dryade,[15] again staying in Pondicherry from May 1788 to July 1789.[16] After his return from France, he refused to kneel in front of the altar of his ancestors, and painted crosses on Buddhist statues.[17] He would regularly attend Catholic mass, but was not formally baptized although he wished to.[18]

In 1793 Nguyen Phuc Canh became "Crown Prince of the Eastern Palace"[a].[19] From 1794 he participated to all the military expeditions, and his father Nguyen Anh insisted that he be accompanied every time by Father Pigneau de Behaine.[20] He was besieged by the Tay Son with Pigneau de Behaine in the citadel of Duyen Khanh in 1794.[21]

After Pigneau de Behaine died at the Siege of Quy Nhon in 1799, Prince Canh made a funerary oration to his former master:

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