Thailand Royal Family
Uncommon Facts about the Royal Thai Family
The Monarchy of Thailand is referred to as King of Thailand or King of Siam. Siam refers to the old name of Thailand. The King acts as the head of the state, but his power is limited to being a symbolical figurehead. At present the reigning monarch is King Bhumibol Adulyajej. He might have limited powers but he is still the head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces. He can decide whom to pardon and he can formally sign an act of his Parliament before it becomes a law.
In the past, the Thai king lived in the Grand Palace in Bangkok, but this particular King now spends his time living in these two locations: Chitralada Palace in Bangkok and Klai Kangwon Villa in Hua Hin. The Thai people still love and revere their King and his Royal family. It is to King Bhumibol’s credit that countless development projects in Thailand are in existence. He even use a part of the grounds surrounding Chitralada Palace to set up a rice field, rice mill, fish ponds and dairy farm all for the sake of agricultural research. King Bhumibol is a painter, jazz musician and composer. He also dabbles in photography and loves to sail. He is a good author and translator too.
Since the King was born on a Monday, his royal flag carries the yellow color. His birthday has been celebrated with a royal pomp and pageantry and is declared as a National holiday. The King’s father, Prince Mahidol Adulyajev, had concentrated his efforts to improving the health of his countrymen. His mother Princess Srinagarinda, was a special patron of the hill tribe people of North Thailand. She was given the nickname “Royal Mother from the Sky” because she liked visiting the people riding her helicopter.
The King’s siblings also contributed their share in building up the Thailand. Princess Galyani Vadhana, was a patroness of the arts. She took over charity projects after their mother died. She died last 2008. The King’s brother, King Ananda Mahidol died through a gunshot wound that up to this day is still remains a great puzzle and mystery. Since the King’s father, mother, brother and sister have all passed, the King’s surviving next of kin are his wife, his daughters and only son. Turning 85 last December 2012, King Bhumipol is considered as the world’s longest serving ruler. He is also the richest according to Forbes. Forbes has estimated his worth to be in excess of $30 Billion which pushed Brunei’s Sultan Bolkiah into second place. Citizens however are disputing this fact and say that their King is not loaded but has lots of land, about 3,320 acres in all.
The King’s eldest daughter, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya is a sportsman like her father. Father and daughter competed in sailing during the 1967 SEA games in Bangkok. This sporting event won this pair gold medals. In 1972, Princess Ubolratana married an American which she later divorce in 1998. She had settled in America when she married but later return to Thailand in 2001. She is now actively promoting an anti-drug campaign. Princess Ubolratana’s son, Khun Bhumi Jensen died young in 2004. He drowned in the Tsunami incident which took so many lives. After he died, his mother established a foundation in his memory to help autistic children and those who have learning disabilities. Princess Ubolratana has two other children: Khun Ploypailin and Khun Sirikitiya Jensen. The King’s second daughter, Princess Maha Chakri loves helping her father with various projects. She is affectionately called by the Thai people as Phra Thep or Princess Angel. She was awarded the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for her efforts in empowering the minority children. She has remained single.
The King’s youngest daughter, Princess Chulabhorn Walailak has a doctorate in Science. She married Air Force Flight Lieutenant Virayudh Didyasarin. They later filed for divorce. They have two daughters: Princess Siribhachudhabhorn and Princess Adityadhornkitikhun. The eldest of this two was given the title by Thai people as Princess Ribha. She has a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts. She is an active volunteer for Aviation Agency which focuses on efforts to save citizens during drought, floods and other natural calamities. The youngest daughter is known as Princess Dita. She has a degree in Communication Design.
The King’s son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has trained in an Australian military college and is a qualified military pilot. He is a patron of different projects, in particular his Crown Prince Hospital Foundation which operates more than 20 hospitals in various regions of Thailand. In 1977, the Crown Prince married Princess Soamsavali Kitiyakara and they have one daughter, Princess Bajrakitiyabha. Their marriage did not last long since they divorce in 1993. Although these royalties have separated, they still participate actively in royal ceremonies and social welfare programs. Their daughter, Princess Pa as she is affectionately called, has taken doctorate courses in law and political science. She was named as Ambassador to Australia in 2012. She runs the “Inspire” project, an outreach for Thai women in incarceration. Inspire helps pregnant inmates and their babies through adequate assistance and prepares these inmates to adapt to the outside world after their release from prison. She has another project called as ELFI (Enhancing Lives of Female Inmates), which treats woman offenders fairly. She has another project, this time with her mother, which helps the poor in rural areas and those who are affected by natural disasters.
This Royal family has not been spared from the fate that befalls other normal people, since in the late 1970s, the Crown Prince has taken a companion, Yuvadhida Polpraserth. Together their union has produced 5 children: Princess Chudhavajra Mahidol, Prince Vajaresra Mahidol, Prince Chakrivajra Mahidol, Prince Vajravira Mahidol and Princess Siriwannawari Nariratana. Princess Sirinawannari has presented her own fashion show in Paris in the Spring and Summer of 2008. When she was younger, she represented Thailand in badminton competition during the 2005 SEA Games in the Philippines.
Still the Crown Prince married another woman on 2001, Srirasmi Akharaphongpreecha. They have a son, Prince Dipagnkorn Rasmijoti. Present day Thailand has been affected by the worsening health condition of their beloved King. The future of Thailand remains unknown however up to this time.
For more reading about past monarchs, the first King of the Chakri Dynasty would be a good place to start. Simply click on The King of Siam – Rama I.