- Thant Cin, the great-granddaughter of Burma’s last royal family, King Thibaw and Queen Supalayat, is considered one of Myanmar’s first environmentalists and works to fight deforestation and environmental degradation in the Southeast Asian nation.
- She is the founder of the environmental activist organizations Global Green Group (3G) and the Myanmar Green Network.
- Despite having lived the life of a commoner, Thant Cin still considers it her royal duty to look after the interests of the Burmese people by fighting to protect the environment.
Devi Thant Cin lives on one of the most prestigious roads in Myanmar, just a few feet from the famous Shwedagon Pagoda and next to the tomb of the country’s last queen, but her humble home is more difficult to find than you would expect. As well as being an environmental activist – possibly Myanmar’s first, and certainly one of its most prominent – Thant Cin is also a princess. She is the great-granddaughter of Burma’s last royal family, King Thibaw and Queen Supalayat. They were deposed and exiled by the British colonialists in 1885, just over 130 years ago.
She lives not in a palace but in a modest two-story, half wooden, half concrete house in Yangon. But Thant Cin finds it funny that people are surprised by this.
“I have lived here for 50 years,” she said simply. “It was given to my grandfather for religious purposes, to look after the tomb [of Queen Supalayat].”
She shares the house with two other royally descended families, and her attitude toward the house is indicative of her approach toward her glittering genealogy. For Thant Cin, royalty – even remembered royalty, like her own – is more about duty than palaces.
“What I do is as important as who I am,” she said. By all measures, her chosen contributions have been significant.
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