June Rose Bellamy

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June Rose Bellamy
ရတနာနတ်မယ်
June Rose Bellamy.jpg
First Lady of Myanmar
In role
24 December 1976 – May 1977
PresidentNe Win
Preceded byNi Ni Myint
Succeeded byNi Ni Myint (remarried)
Personal details
Born
Yadana Nat-Mei

(1932-06-01)1 June 1932
Rangoon, British Burma
Died1 December 2020(2020-12-01) (aged 88)[1]
Florence, Italy
Spouses
Mario Postiglione
(div. 1954)
(m. 1976⁠–⁠1977)
ChildrenMichael Bellamy Postiglione
Maurice Postiglione
Parent(s)Herbert Bellamy (orchid collector)
Hteiktin Ma Lat
Known forgreat-granddaughter of Prince Kanaung Mintha, ex-wife of Ne Win

June Rose Bellamy, also Yadana Nat-Mei (Burmese: ရတနာနတ်မယ်; lit. Goddess of the Nine Jewels, 1 June 1932 – 1 December 2020)[2] was the First Lady of Myanmar as the fourth wife of the 4th President of Burma Ne Win.[3] She was a Burmese royal princess of Australian descent and the great-granddaughter of Prince Kanaung.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Hteiktin Ma Gyi, Yadana Nat-Mei and her mother Hteiktin Ma Lat

June Rose was born on 1 June 1932 in Rangoon, British Burma. She was the great-granddaughter of Prince Kanaung Mintha and granddaughter of Prince Limbin. She was the only daughter of Princess Hteiktin Ma Lat of Konbaung, and Herbert Bellamy, an Australian orchid collector long settled in Burma. She was educated at St Joseph's Convent School, Kalimpong, India, also educated in Rangoon, Burma. After the war, as a teenager, she wrote an essay for a competition called "The World We Want", sponsored by the New York Herald Tribune, which won a prize to visit the US along with 30 international students. She became a TV host in the Philippines and took up painting.

June Rose was offered a female lead role in the war film The Purple Plain, as the young Burmese nurse who gives a suicidal pilot (played by Gregory Peck) an interest in life, but says she pulled out during the shooting in Ceylon. "It was so Hollywood, it was ridiculous; it was an insult to anything that had to do with Burma," she said.[5]

Marriage[edit]

First[edit]

Local newspaper coverage of the wedding and marriage of then-dictator Ne Win and June Rose Bellamy, published on December 25, 1976
A young Yadana Nat Mei and her mother Princess Hteiktin Ma Lat

June Rose was first married to Mario Postiglione, a physician and Senior Malaria advisor of WHO in Rangoon, Damascus, Geneva and Manila. The couple divorced in 1954, after having two sons, Michael Bellamy Postiglione and Maurice Postiglione.[6]

Second[edit]

In 1963 June Rose met Ne Win, Burma's new military ruler, in Europe, where she was living. Ne Win suggested she come back to Burma, but she was unwilling to leave Italy. On a later visit he proposed. They married in 1976, but the marriage lasted only five months. Ne Win accused her of being a CIA spy and divorced her.[7]

Later life and death[edit]

After she returned to Italy, June Rose taught International and Italian cooking in Florence, as well as carrying on charitable work, through Rangoon-based doctors, putting young Burmese students through medical school. She has since written cookbooks, including The Soul of Spice, featured at the 2017 Turin Book Fair.[7]

June Rose died on 1 December 2020 at the age of 88.[8][9]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Yadana Nat-Mei is the subject of Than Win Hlaing's historic book Yadana Nat-Mei or once First Lady, first published in 2015.[10]
  • According to her son Michele Postiglione Bellamy, June Rose completed her memoirs before her death which is expected to be published in June 2021.[11]
  • A documentary film about her life called Rhapsody in June is in the works.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ဦးနေဝင်း၏ ဇနီးဟောင်း ရတနာနတ်မယ် ကွယ်လွန်". Mizzima Daily (in Burmese). 2 December 2020.
  2. ^ Green, Penelope (3 February 2021). "June Rose Bellamy, Adventurous Burmese Princess, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  3. ^ Bayin, Anne (3 September 2019). "Lunch with a Myanmar Princess". The Irrawaddy.
  4. ^ "A Palace Assassination that Altered Myanmar's History". The Irrawaddy. 2 August 2019.
  5. ^ Hamish McDonald (4 January 2013). "Between two worlds". Griffith Review. Archived from the original on 4 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Yadana Nat-Mei, Myanmar princess and first lady, dies at 88". Coconuts. 2 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b Hamish McDonald, "Between two worlds", Griffith REVIEW Edition 27: Food Chain
  8. ^ "ကုန်းဘောင်မင်းဆက် ကနောင်မင်းသားကြီး၏ မြစ်တော်စပ်သူ ရတနာနတ်မယ် ကံတော်ကုန်လွန်". The Myanmar Times (in Burmese). 2 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Lunch With a Myanmar Princess". The Irrawaddy. 2 December 2020.
  10. ^ "ရတနာနတ်မယ် (သို့မဟုတ်) တခါတုန်းက သမ္မတကတော်". The Myanmar Times (in Burmese). 7 May 2015.
  11. ^ a b Green, Penelope (2021-02-03). "June Rose Bellamy, Adventurous Burmese Princess, Dies at 88". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-05.

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by First Lady of Myanmar
1976–1977
Succeeded by