King's Guard (Thailand)

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King's Guard
Royal guards from 1st Infantry Regiment in the Royal Funeral Procession of Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda.JPG
Active 1859–present
Country Thailand Siam
Branch Flag of the Royal Thai Army.svg Royal Thai Army
Flag of the Royal Thai Navy.svg Royal Thai Navy
Flag of the Royal Thai Air Force.svg Royal Thai Air Force
Type Guard Corps (Army), Guard Brigade (Navy and Air Force)
Role Protection and ceremonial duty
Size 69 regimental units
Nickname(s) Thahan Song Lo
(ทหารสองโหล, Two-Dozen soldiers)
Mahat Lek Lai Ka
(มหาดเล็กไล่กา, Scarecrow Corps)
March Royal Guards March
(มาร์ชราชวัลลภ, March Raja Vanlok)

The King's Guard (Thai: ทหารรักษาพระองค์; RTGSThahan Raksa Phra Ong) is a ceremonial designation given to various regiments within the Royal Thai Armed Forces. This contingent is dedicated to the protection of the Royal Family of Thailand.[1]


King's Guard at Grand Palace

The Royal Guards were established by King Chulalongkorn the Great of Thailand in 1859, when he was still crown prince. Initially, the Royal Guards were servants with duties such as scaring crows, which led to commoners referring to them as the "Mahat Lek Lai Ka," roughly translated as "Scarecrow Corps."

When he succeeded his father in 1868, King Chulalongkorn took his Royal Guard and formed a 24-strong Royal Bodyguard, referred to as the "Thahan Song Lo" (Two-Dozen soldiers"). In 1870, the Royal Guard regiment were given the name the "King's Guard" and their duties included escorting the king while he travelled around the country.

About the year 1875 the necessity for surveys in connection with improvements in the city of Bangkok, and for supervision in carrying out these improvements, led to the selection of certain officers of the royal bodyguard for training in this direction. These officers were formed into a special company called "Military Engineers of the Royal Bodyguard," in which Mr. James McCarthy held the rank of captain. A royal decree issued September 3, 1885, separated the surveyors from the royal bodyguard and created the Royal Survey Department,[2] which is now the Royal Thai Survey Department (Thai: กรมแผนที่ทหาร, a Special Services Group of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters.

The Royal Guards still exist down to the present and serve as protectors of the Royal Family of Thailand.[3][4] Today's King's Guard units serve as the Thai equivalent to the guards units of various countries.

King's Guard units[edit]

Royal Thai Army[edit]

Cadet unit
Infantry units
Cavalry units
Artillery units
Engineer units
Signal units
Transport unit

Royal Thai Navy[edit]

Royal Thai Air Force[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charuvastra, Teeranai (13 October 2017). "Royal Decoration Awarded to King's Chief Bodyguard". Khaosod English. Gen. Suthida is the de facto head of security for His Majesty the King. Although she formally holds the title of deputy commander of the royal guard corps, the top rank had been left vacant since December 2016.
  2. ^ Giblin, R.W. (2006) [1908]. "Royal Survey Work.". In Wright, Arnold; Breakspear, Oliver T. Twentieth century impressions of Siam (65.3 MB). London&c: Lloyds Greater Britain Publishing Company. p. 121. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Thailand". Nation, Religion, King. Retrieved 2016-06-24.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kenneth Conboy, South-East Asian Special Forces (Osprey)