IMPORTANT: When discussing the Royal Family of Thailand it is esxtremely important you show respect in all regards, in addition Speaking badly of the Royal Family or criticizing any member is completely offensive and is grounds for prision time under the law “Les Majeste”. Please do not comment rudely or innappropriately in regards to the Royal Family.
I want to talk about what I have seen and heard regarding the Monarchy of Thailand – as a History Major I feel it is important to give the background information. :)
Thailand has always had a monarchy since the first monarchical capitol of Sukhothai. Following though the Periods of Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Thonburi and currently Bangkok. I don’t know how many kings have held power in Siam (former name of Thailand). But I will start with the Thonburi Period.
in 1767 the Burmese army destroyed Ayutthaya, and General Taksin came to power through his organization of the people. He in turn created the new capitol of Thonburi (Which is just south of where I live.) He only reigned for 15 years when he went mad and wandered into the jungle never to be seen again – Royal account of his end to the Period.- King yodfa (Rama 1) become the new King of the Bangkok Period. He built the Grand Palace (which I will talk about in my next blog) and re-established many rituals done in the period of Ayutthaya. For Instance he revived the Royal Barge Procession (Which I will talk about after Nov. 9 – because It is a special event happening) In the Current period of Bangkok there are 9 Kings each named Rama (followed by their number)
Rama 1 – Yodfa / Rama 2 – / Rama 3 – / Rama 4 – Mongkut / Rama 5 – Chulalongkorn / Rama 6 – Val / Rama 7 – / Rama 8 Mahidol (pronounced Mahidon because of spellin in Thai (long story)) / Rama 9 (current King) Bhumidol
Rama 4 – is widely known because of the scandal revolving around the King and I or Anna and the King – All films, stories and adaptations of the epic are banned in the kingdom because it suggests that the King was impure.
Rama 5 – is seen as the driving force for making Thailand more modern – building railroads, writing books, and creating a better country for the people – It is said that after reading “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe he abolished slavery in Siam.
Rama 8 – is the most interesting of all – He is the brother of the current King, but died mysteriously in 1946. Many stories and theories have come to light but none of which can be proven.
Rama 9 is the longest reigning monarch of the current period – and currently the Longest serving Monarch currently in the world at 66 years and 4 months. He is also currently interred at the Siriaj Hopsital which is actually down the street from my apartment, and accross the River from Thammasat University.
Every day the National Anthem of the King is played at 8am and 6pm – when it is played everyone must stand up and face the flag. If walking everyone will stop and wait until the song has completed.
In Addition the Kings Image is placed all over the city and the Kingdom, and typically will be displayed higher than the Buddha image of stores and homes. — I am trying to find a photo of H.M. the King to display in my apartment but have not found one yet.
Where I live I have been able to witness the Royal Motorcade multiple times – it is very unique – the road is closed and if the royal family drives under a bridge or road that area is closed off as well, people should not be higher than the King.
Okay – so that is the short history of the Monarchy of Thailand and Wikipedia has a pretty good overview of the Kings of Siam as well, I would suggest visiting it to learn more – if you desire. :)