The Royal Lao Government was the ruling authority in the Kingdom of Laos from 1947 until the communist seizure of power in December 1975 and the proclamation of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.The Franco-Lao Treaty of 1953 gave Laos full independence but the following years were marked by a rivalry between the neutralists under Prince Souvanna Phouma, the right wing under Prince Boun Oum of Champassak, and the left-wing, Lao Patriotic Front under Prince Souphanouvong and future Prime Minister Kaysone Phomvihane. During this period, a number of unsuccessful attempts were made to establish coalition governments.
The Kingdom of Laos was a constitutional monarchy that ruled Laos beginning with its independence on 9 November 1953. The monarchy survived until December 1975, when its last king, Savang Vatthana, surrendered the throne to the Pathet Lao, who abolished the monarchy in favor of a Marxist state called the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which has controlled Laos since.
Prince Souvanna Phouma was the leader of the neutralist faction and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Laos several times.
Prince Boun Oum was the son of King Ratsadanay, and was the hereditary prince of Champassak and also Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Laos from 1948–1950 and again in 1960–1962.
Other members of the Royal Lao Government included:
Touby Lyfoung (1917–1979) was a Hmong political and military leader. Born in 1917 in Nong Het, Laos, he became the first Hmong politician to achieve national prominence. During his long career, which began under French colonial rule and extended to the communist takeover in 1975, he supported the Royal Lao Government and American involvement in the Secret War.
The First Coalition Government was founded on the basis of the Vientiane Agreements of 1957. It would last until May 1958.
The Second Coalition Government was founded as a condition toward enacting the International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos in 1962. The Royalist defeat at the Battle of Luang Namtha weakened their bargaining position so that they agreed to the coalition.
The International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos is an international agreement signed in Geneva on July 23, 1962 between 14 states including Laos. It was a result of the International Conference on the Settlement of the Laotian Question which lasted from May 16, 1961 to July 23, 1962.
The Battle of Luang Namtha, fought between January 1962 and May 1962, was an important engagement of the Laotian Civil War. It came about as a result of the turmoil following Laotian independence as a result of the First Indochina War with France. The Kingdom of Laos had foreign soldiers upon its soil, and a political struggle in progress concerning those outside troops. Following a coup and counter-coup that left General Phoumi Nosavan in charge, the general decided on military action to settle the political issue of interlopers in Laos.
After the communist takeover in 1975, the communist Pathet Lao government killed members of the Royal Lao family, including:
Khamphoui was the Queen of Laos and consort to Sisavang Vatthana, the second King of Laos. She was arrested with the rest of her family and reportedly died in a re-education camp in 1982.
Vong Savang was the Crown Prince to throne of the Kingdom of Laos. After the Laotian Civil War in 1975, he and his family were arrested by the Pathet Lao and sent to re-education camps, where they died.
Sisavang Phoulivong was king of the Kingdom of Luang Phrabang and later the Kingdom of Laos from 28 April 1904 until his death on 29 October 1959.
Sisavang Vatthana or sometimes Savang Vatthana was the last king of the Kingdom of Laos and the 6th Prime Minister of Laos serving from 15 October to 21 November 1951. He ruled from 1959 after his father's death until his forced abdication in 1975. His rule ended with the takeover by the Pathet Lao in 1975, after which he and his family were sent to a re-education camp by the new government.
Major General Phoumi Nosavan was a military strongman who was prominent in the history of the Kingdom of Laos; at times, he dominated its political life to the point of being a virtual dictator. He was born in Savannakhet, the French Protectorate of Laos, on 27 January 1920. Originally a civil servant in the French colonial administration of Laos, during the last year of World War II he joined the resistance movement against the Japanese occupiers. Exiled from 1946 to early 1949 for his opposition to French return to colonizing Laos, he returned to his native soil to begin a military career in 1950 after the collapse of the anti-French Lao Issara government. By 1955, he was Chief of Staff of the brand-new Royal Lao Army. While in that position, he was largely responsible for appointing senior officers into command positions in the Military Regions of Laos. Following that, in 1957 he was the first Lao officer to be schooled in France at the École de Guerre. While in France, he became acquainted with Central Intelligence Agency operative John F. "Jack" Hasey. Phoumi returned to Laos to become a founding member of the Committee for the Defence of National Interests on 17 June 1958. On 25 December 1959, he took control of the capital of Vientiane and of the nation in a bloodless coup.
Prince Sauryavong Savang was the youngest son of King Savang Vatthana of Laos. In 1965, he married Princess Dalavan and they had four children, Sthira Sauryavong, Dayavant Sauryavong, Balavant Sauryavong, and Krishnajina Sauryavong.
The Three Princes was a name given to Princes Boun Oum, Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong who represented respectively the royalist, neutralist and leftist factions in the Kingdom of Laos in the post-WWII period. The trio were named by King Savang Vatthana to form a coalition government following the independence of Laos.
Crown Prince Soulivong Savang, grandson of the last King of Laos Savang Vatthana, is the pretender to the Lao throne. Laos was a monarchy until 1975, when the communist Pathet Lao seized control of the nation, causing Savang Vatthana to abdicate his throne. Soulivong Savang lives in exile in Paris.
The Laotian Civil War (1959–75) was fought between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government, with both sides receiving heavy external support in a proxy war between the global Cold War superpowers. It is called the Secret War among the CIA Special Activities Division and Hmong veterans of the conflict.
The Royal Palace in Luang Prabang, Laos, was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. The site for the palace was chosen so that official visitors to Luang Prabang could disembark from their river voyages directly below the palace and be received there. After the death of King Sisavang Vong, the Crown Prince Savang Vatthana and his family were the last to occupy the grounds. In 1975, the monarchy was overthrown by the communists and the royal family were taken to re-education camps. The palace was then converted into a national museum.
The French protectorate of Laos was a French protectorate forming part of the French Colonial Empire in Southeast Asia. It consisted of much of the territory of the former kingdom of Lan Xang and was part of French Indochina from 1893 until it was granted self-rule within the French Union in 1946. The Franco-Lao Treaty of 1953 establishing Laos as an independent member of the French Union. Under the Geneva Conference following France's withdrawal from Indochina after the First Indochina War, Laos was granted independence in 1954.
The Royal Lao Government in Exile (RLGE) is a Lao government in exile opposed to the Lao People's Democratic Republic. It purports to seek to institute a constitutional monarchy in Laos that ensures freedom, justice, peace, and prosperity for the Lao people.
The Lao Royal Family was the ruling family of the Kingdom of Laos from 1904 to 1975 and the group of close relatives of the monarch of the Kingdom of Laos. King Sisavang Vong was the founder of the modern family, consisting of a number of persons in the Lao Royal Dynasty of the Khun Lo, who are related to the King of Laos, who are entitled to royal titles, and some of whom performed various official engagements on behalf of the Royal Family and ceremonial duties of State when the Kingdom existed. The Lao Royals base themselves in France, where they work to achieve a change of government in Laos.
The Order of Civic Merit was established on November 20, 1950 under Royal Ordinance No. 186 by H.M. Sisavang Phoulivong, The King of Laos. It is an Order of Civic Merit for civil officials and military officers. It was awarded for meritorious and courageous service to the State in three classes. Until 1975 the approval authority was the Prime Minister of the Royal Lao Government. The current approval authority is H.E. Professor Maha Khamphoui Sisavatdy, Prime Minister of the Royal Lao Government in Exile as an elected successor to the Office of the Prime Minister of the Royal Lao Government.
Operation Xieng Dong was a successful defensive strike by the Royal Lao Army (RLA) against an invasion by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN). In early February 1971, PAVN forces swept RLA defenders from a line of hilltop positions guarding the royal capital of Luang Prabang. The city's perceived invulnerability to attack was shattered. King Sisavang Vatthana refused to leave his capital. Other Military Regions of Laos hastily forwarded to Luang Prabang's Military Region 1 any troops that could be spared from the rest of the Laotian Civil War. On 7 April, the resulting patchwork force of RLA battalions, Forces Armee Neutraliste half regiment, and Central Intelligence Agency-backed Special Guerrilla Units managed a three-pronged offensive supported by tactical aviation that surrounded and defeated the invading PAVN 335th Independent Regiment, which had gotten within eight kilometers of Luang Prabang. By 5 June 1971, the 335th was in full retreat.