A look at the Thai Royal Family
8th May 2019
By Wellness Expert and SenSpa Director, Lina Lotto
Royal families are a source of fascination to commoners like me. The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was no doubt a highlight in the national calendar and naturally attracted the accompanying media frenzy. Whether you love them or not, in my book it’s a good enough reason to raise a toast and kick up your heels in celebration.
Thailand has an illustrious line of royal leaders too. The late King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX was a loved and revered monarch. He was the ninth king of the Chakri dynasty and came to the throne after his elder brother King Ananda Mahidol was murdered in his bed. The circumstances surrounding the murder have been the subject of speculation to this day.
King Bhumibol’s long reign of 70 years saw coups, military juntas and prime ministers come and go, but he remained a stable influence and a spiritual leader to his people, with some even seeing him as divine.
He was known for supporting economic and social development projects bringing him many supporters, especially in rural areas. According to Tourism Thailand he personally launched more than 4,000 development and social welfare projects in areas such as irrigation, agronomy, forestry, fishing and health.
His artistic inclinations were well developed including music, composition, painting, photography and writing and he was an accomplished jazz saxophonist. He formed a jazz band that broadcast on radio, on university campuses and he even played with Benny Goodman.
Queen Sirikit, now 85, is the much loved Queen Mother of Thailand. After the Second World War her father took up his post in the UK as ambassador to the Court of St James where the young Sirikit completed her secondary education and learned to play the piano. She met King Bhumibol in France where she was studying music and they married in 1950 after finding they shared much in common.
When the King, like many Thai men, became a Buddhist monk for a period, Sirikit became Queen Regent, only the second in Thai history.
Sadly their long marriage ended on 13th October 2016 when the King died at the age of 88. A year long period of mourning was announced and such was the love of his people for their sovereign that they took to the streets in millions to mourn his passing with over 12 million paying their respects in person. Queen Sirikit retired from public life in 2012.
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