|Tomb of Duc Duc|
According to the pro-Duc Duc line faction, Emperor Tu Duc had always intended for Duc Duc to be the one who immediately succeeded him on the Golden Dragon Throne. Others would dispute this but, just to further complicate matters, Emperor Tu Duc had also chosen three regents to oversee things after he was gone while his nephews were too young to rule. These were Tran Tien Thanh, Nguyen Van Tuong and Ton That Thuyet; who would go on to play a large role in Vietnamese history, particularly Tuong and Thuyet. Others, not of the pro-Duc Duc camp, hold that rather than the elder Duc Duc it was the youngest of the three, Kien Phuc, portrayed as the more upright and virtuous of the youths, whom Tu Duc wished to succeed him. The factions of the other two candidates have left behind accounts which portray Tu Duc as being troubled by the character and untraditional behavior of Duc Duc. Whereas the venerable monarch surrounded himself with priests and scholarly mandarins, Duc Duc, the other factions claim, too often associated with the likes of gamblers, singers, actors and other such entertainers.
|Altar to Duc Duc|
For reasons that later became clear (such as an illicit relationship between the lady Hoc Phi and the regent Nguyen Van Tuong) the three regents decided to go ahead with the enthronement of Duc Duc as Emperor of Vietnam. Here, again, we have a bit of history that is disputed which is that, prior to his “coronation” Duc Duc requested that the lines designating Kien Phuc was heir to the throne be struck from the will of Emperor Tu Duc. Loyalists of the line of Duc Duc usually claim that this never happened as Duc Duc was the intended heir to begin with. However, this is the story told by those hostile to Duc Duc and, so it goes, the regents agreed for the sake of stability and unity in the country. However, when Emperor Duc Duc arrived for his formal enthronement with his retinue of unfashionable friends the regent Ton That Thuyet in particular was outraged and publicly read aloud the original will of the late emperor naming Kien Phuc as heir to the throne. Not surprisingly, chaos broke out and the ceremony was suspended pending an investigation into this controversy over the legitimate succession.
|Tomb of Duc Duc|
However, Duc Duc was not completely forgotten. In 1889 his son came to the throne as Emperor Thanh Thai and early on he began construction of a formal imperial tomb for his late father which, though deteriorated, remains to this day. Emperor Thanh Thai and his son, Emperor Duy Tan, both were deposed by the French before their reigns came to a natural end so when Thanh Thai died his remains were laid to rest in the tomb he had built for his father Duc Duc. The grandson of the “3-day king” was first buried overseas but his remains were eventually allowed by the communist authorities to be returned to Vietnam for a former burial and he was, likewise, laid to rest in the tomb of his grandfather Duc Duc.