:: The Monarch

The words of the Thai Royal National Anthem, performed at most official ceremonies and before the start of every movie, may strike a Western ear as somewhat archaic. After all, the system of absolute monarchy ended in 1932, following a revolution staged by a small group of disaffected civil servants and military men. Since then, Thai kings have ruled under a constitution, their powers theoretically no greater than those of the few surviving crowned heads of Europe. Yet, since he was officially crowned in 1950, His Majesty King Bhumibol has assumed the role of constitutional monarch, and has worked tirelessly on behalf of his people, gaining in the process, a measure of personal devotion that is probably more intense than that felt for any of his all-powerful ancestors. It has been said that Their Majesties King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, are the hardest working royal couple in the world - with a workload once estimated to be equal to at least one function everyday of the year. Of the several institutions that form the foundation of modern Thai life, the one that he personifies is not only the most visible, but also the most revered.


His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has devoted himself to public service, and made
enduring contributions to Thailand 's development, initiating vital "royally-suggested" projects such as crop rotation, fish breeding, irrigation, natural watershed programs, dairy farming, reforestation, road building and self - help villages.

His Majesty has travelled countrywide by helicopter, jeep, train, boat, or afoot, often to the remotest corners of his kingdom, in pursuit of his projects, and is held in affectionate esteem nationwide for his profound interest in his people's welfare.


Her Majesty Queen Sirikit frequently accompanies His Majesty, and shares a close interest in the welfare of rural Thais. Her Majesty wholeheartedly helps establish foundations such as SUPPORT, which assists Thailand 's rural populace in producing and selling traditional craft products for supplementary income.

The Thai monarchy is revered and regarded as the central, unifying element in the triad of nation, king and religion. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born on December 5, 1927, ascended the throne on June 9, 1946, and married Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on April 28, 1950.

Their Majesties have four children, namely Their Royal Highnesses Princess Ubol Ratana, born April 5, 1951 (and presently residing in the United States); Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, born July 28, 1952; Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, born April 2, 1955; and Princess Chulabhorn, born July 4, 1957.

The Royal Couple are conscientiously assisted by their three youngest children, who frequently accompany them, and represent Their Majesties at official functions and ceremonies. After 50 years on the throne, His Majesty is the longest reigning monarch in Thai history, and the world.

:: King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Known around the world as a king who is devoted to working hard for the well-being of his subjects, His Majesty King Bhumibol tirelessly embarks on numerous journeys to visit the people of his kingdom. He has performed countless social activities since his ascension to the throne, in compliance with the royal oath, " We will reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people."

King Bhumibol is the third son of Prince Mahidol and Princess Consort Sangwan (HRH Princess Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother). He was born on 5 December 1927 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States of America. Thailand changed from an absolute monarchy to democracy when he was five years old. At that time, he went to stay in Lausanne, Switzerland, with his brother and mother.

When he was 19 years old, King Ananda Mahidol his elder brother, who was returning to Thailand, passed away. Members of the royal family and high-ranking government officials then invited Prince Bhumibol to reign as King Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty. However, as King Bhumibol had to complete his university studies, he went back to Lausanne University in Switzerland.

 


In 1950, King Bhumibol returned to Thailand and has worked tirelessly hard for his subjects ever since. He feels that because he is the leader of the nation, he occupies the highest position of honour, and it is his duty to serve the people in return for their devotion and confidence in him, by devoting his body, mind, and property to help alleviate problems and foster happiness. He has travelled extensively to far away places, and often has to go through difficult terrain in the baking sun and pouring rain. In his article "Following His Royal Journey: Travelling to Alleviate Trouble" in the book entitled Phra Rom Klao Chao Thai, Dr. Sumet Tantiwetchakun says that when the King goes to different regions of the country, the King's servants and those who are close to him often hear him say, " Tomorrow we will make a tour." It is known among his servants that the word "tour" means that the King will go to any place that has "trouble" and will find a way to alleviate serious problems.

This kind of tour is a tough ordeal. Everyone has to go into remote areas, and sometimes the person who leads the way has to carry a machete to cut trees and branches, and push them aside to make a narrow path for them to penetrate further. When the King arrives at the destination, he asks the people about their life, work conditions, and other problems. When he thinks of a solution and everything is ready, the relevant offices involved study the details and draw up a plan called a "Royal Initiative Project."