Sirikit

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Sirikit
Queen Sirikit In Russia 2007.jpg
Queen Sirikit in Russia, 2007
Queen consort of Thailand
Tenure 28 April 1950 – present
64 years, 241 days
Coronation 5 May 1950
Spouse King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)
Issue Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn
Princess Sirindhorn
Princess Chulabhorn Walailak
House House of Kitiyakara
Father Nakkhatra Mangala, Prince of Chanthaburi
Mother Bua Snidvongs
Born (1932-08-12) 12 August 1932 (age 82)
Bangkok, Thailand
Religion Buddhism
Signature

Sirikit (Thai: สิริกิติ์; Thai pronunciation: [sìrìkìt]; About this sound listen ), born Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara (Thai: สิริกิติ์ กิติยากร; RTGS: Sirikit Kitiyakon) on 12 August 1932, is the queen consort of Bhumibol Adulyadej, King (Rama IX) of Thailand. She met Bhumibol in Paris, where her father was the Thai ambassador. They married in 1950, shortly before Bhumibol's coronation. Sirikit was appointed Queen Regent in 1956. Sirikit produced one son and three daughters. As the consort of the king who is the world's longest-reigning head of state, she is also the world's longest-serving consort of a monarch. Sirikit suffered a stroke on 21 July 2012 and has since refrained from public appearances.

Early life[edit]

Sirikit was born on 12 August 1932, at the home of Lord Vongsanuprabhand, her maternal grandfather. She is the eldest daughter and the third child of Prince Nakkhatra Mangkala Kitiyakara, the son of Prince Kitiyakara Voralaksana, and Mom Luang Bua Snidvongs. Her name, which was given by King Prajadhipok, means 'the Greatness of Kitiyakara'.

She had three siblings; two elder brothers and a younger sister:

Sirikit was raised by her maternal grandparents for a year after her birth, as her father went to United States to work as the secretary of the Siamese Royal Embassy at Washington D.C. Her mother joined her husband three months later. When she was one year old, her parents returned to Thailand. Sirikit lived together with her family in Deves Palace, near Chao Phraya River, Bangkok.

As a child, Sirikit often visited her paternal grandmother. Once in 1933, she traveled with Princess Absornsaman Devakula following King Prajadhipok's tour in Songkhla.

Education[edit]

The King and Queen after their wedding on 28 April 1950.

At age 4, Sirikit attended the Kindergarten College at Rajini School (sometimes called the Queen’s College). She studied at the primary level. During that time the Pacific War was being fought; Bangkok was attacked many times, thus making travel unsafe. She then moved to Saint Francis Xavier Convent School, because it was near the palace. She studied there from her second year at the primary level to the secondary level.

In 1946, when the war ended, her father moved to the United Kingdom to work as the ambassador to the Court of St. James's, taking his family with him. At that time, Sirikit was 13 and had graduated to the secondary level. While staying in England she learned to play the piano and learned English and French. Because of her father's work as an ambassador, she and her family moved to various countries, including Denmark and France. While living in France, she studied at a music academy in Paris.

Also while in France, Sirikit met King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is distantly related to her, both being descendants of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V.). At that time, Bhumibol had ascended to the throne and was studying in Switzerland. Both Bhumibol and Sirikit (as well as a few other students) were staying at the Thai Royal Embassy in Paris. Sirikit accompanied the king as he visited various tourist attractions. Both Bhumibol and Sirikit found much in common and thus began a relationship.

Marriage[edit]

Queen Sirikit during a parade in New York City, July 1960.

On 4 October 1948, while Bhumibol was driving a Fiat Topolino on the Geneva-Lausanne road, he collided into the rear of a braking truck 10 km outside of Lausanne. He hurt his back and incurred cuts on his face that cost him most of the sight in one eye.[1] He subsequently wears an ocular prosthetic. While he was hospitalised in Lausanne, Sirikit visited him frequently. She met his mother, The Princess Mother Sangwan, who asked her to continue her studies nearby so that the king could get to know her better. Bhumibol selected a boarding school for her in Lausanne, Riante Rive. A quiet engagement in Lausanne followed on 19 July 1949,[1] and the couple married on 28 April 1950, just a week before his coronation.

The marriage took place at Srapathum Palace. Queen Sri Savarindira, the Queen Grandmother presided over the marriage ceremony. Both the king and Sirikit signed on line 11 of their certificate of marriage. As she was not yet 18, her parents also signed, on line 12 directly under her signature. She later received the Order of the Royal House of Chakri, and became queen. After the coronation ceremony on 5 May 1950, both went back to Switzerland to continue their studies, and returned to Bangkok in 1952.

Regency[edit]

Queen Sirikit in the Netherlands, 1960.

When the king undertook a period of service as a Buddhist monk in 1956 (as is customary for all Thai Buddhist males), Queen Sirikit became regent.[2] She performed her duties so satisfactorily that she was made queen regent and given the style of 'Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit Phra Borommarachininat' by her husband on his birthday, 5 December 1956. She then became the second Siamese queen regent. The first queen regent was Queen Saovabha Bongsri of Siam, who was regent when her husband King Chulalongkorn travelled to Europe, and later became Queen Sri Patcharindra, the queen mother.

Health[edit]

At dawn on 21 July 2012 Queen Sirikit felt unsteady and staggered while exercising at Siriraj Hospital where King Bhumibol Adulyadej resided. A team of physicians determined after performing magnetic resonance imaging that she had incurred an ischemic stroke.[3]

The Queen has been treated and has refrained from public appearances since, including the grand audience granted by her husband on his 85th Birthday Anniversary from the Ananta Samakhom Hall on 5 December 2012.[4]

Children[edit]

Sirikit in Germany with President Heinrich Lübke and his wife Wilhelmine, 1960.

The couple has 4 children; 3 daughters and a son:

Cultural status[edit]

Queen Sirikit's birthday, as is the king's, is a national holiday, and is also Mothers' Day in Thailand. She is particularly revered in the more remote and traditional parts of the country, where the monarchy is regarded as semi-divine. Her work in promoting tolerance and understanding for the Muslim minorities in the southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat have made her especially popular amongst local Muslims. The queen has a strong bond with southern Thailand. She spends months in the Muslim-majority provinces every year. The queen is considered to be one of the more quiet diplomats.[5]

Books and writing[edit]

Personal Standard of Queen Sirikit, often flown in August (near her birthday and Mothers' Day).

Queen Sirikit published In Memory of my European Trip in 1964, which described her time in Europe with the king. It was this book that revealed that she was a talented writer. Moreover, she has composed songs for performance by The Handsome Band, the band of the palace.

The songs she composed were:

  • Chao Chom Khwan (เจ้าจอมขวัญ)
  • That Thoe (ทาสเธอ)
  • Sai Yut (สายหยุด)
  • Nang Yaem (นางแย้ม)

Charitable works and honors[edit]

Queen Sirikit is well known for her charitable work, where she is the honorary president of the Thai Red Cross, a post she has held since 1956. She gained new prominence in this role in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster in southern Thailand in December 2004. She has also been active in relief work for the many refugees from Cambodia and Burma in Thailand.

Many things in Thailand have been named after the Queen:

The queen is also active in promoting Thai culture and history, mainly through her initiative in the making of the Thai movie The Legend of Suriyothai, one of the most lavish and expensive Thai movies ever made.[7]

Awards[edit]

Year Award Awarded by
1979 CERES Gold Medal Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
1985 Humanitarian Award Asia Society
1986 Best Conservationist Certificate World Wildlife Fund
1990 Immigration and Refugee Policy Award The Center of Migration Studies
1991 International Humanitarian Award Friends of the National Children's Museum, Washington, DC
1992 Gold Medal for Outstanding Leadership Asian Institute of Technology
1992 UNESCO Borobudur Gold Medal United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
1992 UNICEF Special Recognition Award United Nations Children's Fund
1992 Award of Excellence United Nations Development Fund for Women
1992 UNEP Gold Medal of Distinction United Nations Environment Programme
1993 Woman of the Year 1993 Award Stanford University
1995 1995 Lindbergh Award The Lindbergh Foundation
2000 Merite de Invention The Belgian Chamber of Inventors
2001 Special Prix Bulgarian American Chamber of Commercial and Industry
2002 Louis Pasteur Award International Sericultural Commission
2002 Award for Humanitarian Service The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
2004 IUCN Gold Medal International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
2005 Food Safety Award World Health Organization

Honorary degrees[edit]

Year Field Academy
1957 Social Work Thammasat UniversityTemplate:Country data Thammasat University
1960 Public Health Mahidol University
1961 Political Science Chulalongkorn University
1962 Home Economics Kasetsart University
1963 Humanities Centro Escolar University (Philippines)
1965 Decorative Arts Silpakorn University
1969 Agriculture Khon Kaen University
1970 Psychology Chiang Mai University
1970 Development Economics National Institute of Development Administration
1981 Humane Letters Tufts University (United States of America)
1983 Political Science Thammasat University
1984 Industrial Design Chulalongkorn University
1984 Home Economics Sukhothai Thammathirat University
−1987 Humane Letters Concord College (United States of America)
1988 Medicine Mahidol University
1989 Forestry Thammasat University
1989 Business Administration Khon Kaen University
1990 Industrial Design King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
1990 Vocational Education Administration King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
1990 Public Health Sukhothai Thammathirat University
1991 Finance Khon Kaen University
1991 General Administration Ramkhamhaeng University
1992 Technology of Environmental Management Mahidol University
1992 Education Chulalongkorn University
1992 Marketing Kasetsart University
1992 Thai Arts Silpakorn University
1993 Humane Letters Georgetown University (United States of America)
1995 Humane Letters Johns Hopkins University (United States of America)
1997 Philosophy Tokai University (Japan)
2000 Thai Language Thaksin University
2003 Visual Communication Design Khon Kaen University
2004 Textile, Costume,Garment and Fashion Design Thammasat University
2004 Social Development Management Khon Kaen University
2004 Natural Resource Management King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi
2004 Environmental Management Prince of Songkla University
2005 Food Science Kasetsart University
2006 Cultural Studies Songkhla Rajabhat University
2007 Eastern Languages and Cultures University of Saint Petersburg (Russia)

Title and ranks[edit]

Monarchical styles of
Queen Sirikit of Thailand
Queen's Standard of Thailand.svg
Reference style Her Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Ma'am

Her formal name and title is Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit Phra Borommarachininat Thai: สมเด็จพระนางเจ้าสิริกิติ์ พระบรมราชินีนาถ; 'Her Majesty Queen Regent Sirikit'. Her official title is Queen Sirikit.

At present, the queen ranks as Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Thai Air Force, usually mentioned in official documents that: Chom Phon Ying Chom Phon Ruea Ying Chom Phon Akat Ying Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit Phra Borommarachininat Thai: จอมพลหญิง จอมพลเรือหญิง จอมพลอากาศหญิง สมเด็จพระนางเจ้าสิริกิติ์ พระบรมราชินีนาถ; 'Her Majesty Queen Regent Sirikit, the Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Thai Air Force'. The queen holds ceremonial supreme power, after her husband who ranks as the Head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, among the Royal Thai Army.

  • 12 August 1932 – 28 April 1950: The Honourable (English style) or Mom Rajawongse (Thai style) Sirikit Kitiyakara
  • 28 April 1950 – 5 December 1956: Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand
  • 5 December 1956 – present: Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, Queen Regent of Thailand

In 1976, the Thai government honored the queen by declaring her birthday a national holiday. Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday is celebrated on 12 August each year.[8]

Thai Royal Decorations[edit]

Thailand Thailand  :

Foreign Decorations[edit]

Former Sovereign Families[edit]

Issue[edit]

Name Birth Marriage
Date | Spouse
Their Children Their Grandchildren
Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya 5 April 1951 29 July 1981
Divorced 1998
Peter Ladd Jensen Ploypailin Jensen Max Wheeler
Poom JensenDied 2004
Sirikitiya Jensen
Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn 28 July 1952 3 January 1977
Divorced 12 August 1991
Soamsawali Kitiyakara Princess Bajrakitiyabha
1994
Divorced 1996
Yuvadhida Polpraserth Prince Juthavachara Mahidol
Prince Vacharaesorn Mahidol
Prince Chakriwat Mahidol
Prince Vatchrawee Mahidol
Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana
10 February 2001
Divorced 11 December 2014
Srirasmi Suwadee Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn 2 April 1955 Never married
Princess Chulabhorn Walailak 4 July 1957 1982
Divorced 1996
Virayudh Tishyasarin Princess Siribhachudhabhorn
Princess Adityadhornkitikhun

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Handley, Paul M. (2006). The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej, pp. 103–4. Yale University Press.
  2. ^ Handley (2006), p. 131-32.
  3. ^ "Statement of the Bureau of the Royal Household, Re: Her Majesty the Queen falls ill at Siriraj Hospital, dated 21 July 2012." (pdf) (in Thai). Bureau of the Royal Household. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Statement of the Bureau of the Royal Household, Re: Her Majesty the Queen falls ill at Siriraj Hospital, No. 12, dated 4 December 2012." (pdf) (in Thai). Bureau of the Royal Household. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Morris, Kylie (16 November 2004), "Thai Queen's plea to end violence", http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4017485.stm News, UK: BBC, retrieved 7 July 2008 .
  6. ^ Ridout, Lucy (2009). The Rough Guide to Thailand, p. 357. Penguin.
  7. ^ "Thailand's Suriyothai beats Titanic", News, UK: BBC, 23 November 2001, retrieved 7 July 2008 .
  8. ^ Forbes, Andrew (2010). DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Thailand's Beaches & Islands, p. 35. Dorling Kindersley Limited.
  9. ^ Sirikit wearing the Order of the Nine Gems
  10. ^ "S.M. Sirikit Regina di Tailandia, Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" (in Italian). Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  12. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  13. ^ Malaysia - Queen Sirikit's photo, wearing the order
  14. ^ Photo of Sirikit wearing the Order of the Precious Crown
  15. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 171. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Topicstock
  17. ^ Photo of the State visit of Laotian President in Thailand
  18. ^ Iran - Photo of the order worn by the Queen
  19. ^ Nepal - Photo of Sirikit wearing the Order
Sirikit
Born: 12 August 1932
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Rambhai Barni Svastivatana
Queen Consort of Thailand
1951 – present
Incumbent
Order of precedence
Preceded by
The King
The Queen Consort Succeeded by
The Crown Prince