August 08, 2005 18:16
Once Korea’s last princess, Julia Mullock, 82, flew out of Incheon International Airport to Hawaii on Sunday evening but promised to return to Korea, which she still regards as her home, late this year.
Divorced from her husband Gu, Korea's last imperial prince, aka citizen Yi Gu, in 1982, Mullock has lived in Hawaii doing charitable work. During a visit to Korea that started in late April for consultancy on a film about her life, she learned of her former husband's death on July 16.
Gu died at the Akasaka Guest House in Tokyo. "I'm tired and exhausted. Once I recuperate, I will return to Korea in October or November," Mullock told the Chosun Ilbo in by telephone.
"I've rented a house in downtown Seoul." Mullock visited Yi Gu's grave in Namyangju City, Gyeonggi Province on July 28, four days after the funeral, bidding a sad farewell 23 years after their divorce.
"It rained after he was buried," she said. "On the day I visited his grave, it was raining hard. I visited there with a priest. While he laid wreaths, I said goodbye and prayed."
The couple divorced under pressure from the clan council because she failed to produce an heir. Mullock had hoped to see her husband once more in this life, but it was not to be.
The clan council even failed to inform her of Yi Gu's death, and she was only able to watch Gu's funeral procession in front of Jongmyo Shrine after waiting for an hour and a half at a distance.
"Please let me alone. Don't try to meet me at the airport," was her last request before leaving Korea. But she added. "I do hope people understand that Korea is my home."
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