The present Thai Monarch, His
Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, U.S.A., on Monday the 5th of December 1927, being
the third and youngest child of Their Royal Highnesses Prince
and Princess Mahidol of Songkhla and grandson in direct line of
the celebrated King Chulalongkorn or Rama V of the present Royal
House of Chakri of Bangkok.
After a period of primary schooling in Bangkok, he went with
his Family to Switzerland where he received his secondary as
well as university education. While already King, he married the
18 year-old Mom Rajawongse Sirikit, daughter of His Highness
Prince Chandaburi Suranath (Mom Chao Nakkhatra Mangala
Kitiyakara) and Mom Luang Bua Kitiyakara, on the 28th of April
The King and his wife Queen Sirikit have four children:
(Formerly HRH) Princess
Ubol Ratana, born April 5, 1951 in Lausanne, Switzerland;
HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, born July 28,
HRH Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, born April 2, 1955;
HRH Princess Chulabhornwalailak, born
July 4, 1957.
His Majesty King
Bhumibol Adulyadej is the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty. Born in December, 1927, in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his father, His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkhla
was studying medicine at Harvard University, H.M. King Bhumibol ascended the throne in
1946 and is already the longest reigning Thai monarch. As a constitutional monarch, he
maintains neutrality at times of crisis.
Thai people have a
deep and traditional reverence for the Royal Family. To a very large degree, H.M. King
Bhumibol's popularity mirrors his deep interest in his people's welfare. He concerns
himself intimately with every aspect of Thai life. He and his wife, H.M. Queen Sirikit
devote much of their time to inspect and improve the welfare of the people.
One of his avocations, unique to the Monarch of Thailand, is to preside over the commencements of the state's universities.
Most of the graduates from the state's universities in Thailand received their diplomas from his royal hand.
In recent years, however, this tedious work has been delegated to the prince and princesses.
In a cinema, for
example, a portrait of the King is shown during the playing of the royal anthem, and the
audience is expected to stand. When attending some public event at which a member of the
Royal Family is present, the best guide as to how to behave is probably to watch the crowd
and do what it does.
Having ruled for almost 60 years, few Thais can remember any other head of state. King Bhumibol's image is prominently displayed all over the country, including on every coin and banknote. Thais take any suggestion of disrespect for the King, by Thais or
foreigners, very seriously.
The King's designated successor is Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.
King Bhumibol is an accomplished jazz musician and composer. He was awarded honorary membership of the Vienna
Institute of Music and Arts at the age of 32. He used to play jazz music on air on the Or Sor radio station earlier in his reign.
His songs can often be heard at social gatherings and are performed in concerts.
In addition, he is a painter, photographer and best-selling author and translator.
His translated works are "Tito" (The biography of Josip Broz Tito, former Yugoslavia president,
by Phyllis Auty) and "Nai In Phu Pid Tong Laang Phra" (The Man called Intrepid by William Stephenson).
National best-seller "Phra Mahachanok" is based on a traditional Jataka story of Buddhist scripture.
"The story of Thong Daeng" is the story of his dog Khun Thong Daeng. He suggested making this book into a
bilingual comic illustrated by a nationally famous comic illustrator Chai Rajawat, and it sold out quickly.
He is the world's only monarch to hold a patent, holding several patents on rainmaking since 1955:
the "sandwich" rainmaking patent in 1999 and lately the "supersandwich" patent in 2004.