Sirikit, born Mom Rajawongse Sirikit
Kitiyakara on 12 August 1932, is the queen consort of Bhumibol Adulyadej,
King 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
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: Prof. Mom Rajawongse Galyanakit
Kitiyakara, M.D. Mom Rajawongse Adulakit Kitiyakara
Mom Rajawongse Busba Kitiyakara 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 the 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
At age four, Sirikit attended the Kindergarten College at Rajini School.
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, with 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. At that time,
Bhumibol had ascended to the throne and was studying in Switzerland. Both
Bhumibol and Sirikit 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 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. 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, 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 When the king undertook a period of
service as a Buddhist monk in 1956, Queen Sirikit became regent. 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 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. The Queen has been treated and has
refrained from public appearances since, including the grand audience granted by
her husband on his 85th birthday from the Ananta Samakhom Hall on 5 December
2012. Children
The couple has four children, three daughters and a son:
(Formerly HRH) Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, born 5 April 1951 in
Lausanne, Switzerland; married Peter Ladd Jensen, has two daughters
HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, born 28 July 1952; married Mom Luang
Soamsawali Kitiyakara; one daughter. Then married Yuvadhida Polpraserth; four
sons and a daughter. Third marriage was to Srirasmi Akharapongpreecha; one son.
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, born 2 April 1955; unmarried
HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak, born 4 July 1957; married Virayudh
Tishyasarin,; two daughters Cultural status
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. Books and writing
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 That Thoe
Sai Yut Nang Yaem
Charitable works and institutions associated with Queen Sirikit
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 Sirikit National Institute of Child Health, children’s hospital
the Queen Sirikit Medical Center building, Ramathibodi Hospital
the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer, a new 10-storey hospital in
Bangkok the Queen Sirikit National Convention
Center in Bangkok the Queen Sirikit Park in Bangkok
the Sirikit Dam on the Nan River, Uttaradit Province
the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Chiang Mai Province
the Queen Sirikit Arboretum Garden, Pathum Thani Province
the Queen Sirikit Cup, an annual Asian-Pacific golfing event
the Queen Sirikit Crab the Queen Sirikit Rose
the Queen’s Cup, annual football competition
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.
Awards Honorary degrees
Title and ranks 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, in the Royal Thai Army.
12 August 1932 – 28 April 1950: The Honourable or Mom Rajawongse 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. The Queen’s birthday
is celebrated on 12 August each year. Honours
Thailand : Knight Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rajamitrabhorn
Knight Grand Cordon with Chain of The Most Illustrious Order of the Royal
House of Chakri Knight Grand Cordon with Chain of the
Order of the Nine Gems Knight Grand Cordon with Chain of the
Order of Chula Chom Klao Knight Grand Cordon of The Most Exalted
Order of the White Elephant Knight Grand Cordon of The Most Noble
Order of the Crown of Thailand Knight Grand Cross of The Most Admirable
Order of the Direkgunabhorn Member of The Order of Symbolic
Propitiousness Ramkeerati – Boy Scout Citation Medal
Freeman Safeguarding Medal Civil Dushdi Mala Medal
The Border Service Medal King Rama IX Royal Cypher Medal
King Rama IX Rajaruchi Medal The Red Cross Commendation Medal
=Foreign Honours=Portugal
Grand Cross of the Order of Saint James of the Sword, 1960
Sweden Member Grand Cross of The Royal Order of
the Seraphim Denmark
1960: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Elephant
Germany 1960: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit
of the Federal Republic of Germany Italy
22 September 1960 : Grand Cross of The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
Belgium 1960: Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of
Leopold Luxembourg
1960: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
Netherlands 1960: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of
the Netherlands Lion Spain
1960: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
1987: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Charles
III Indonesia
1961: First Class of The Star of Mahaputera
Malaysia 1963: The Most Exalted Order of the
Crown of the Realm 1999: Selangor – Grand Cross of The
Most Most Esteemed Royal Family Order of Selangor
2004: Kelantan – Grand Cross of The Most Most Esteemed Royal Family Order of
Kelantan 2009: Terengganu – Grand Cross of The
Most Distinguished Royal Family Order of Terengganu
Japan 1963: Grand Cordon of the Order of the
Precious Crown Taiwan
1963: Special Grand Cordon of The Order of Propitious Clouds
Austria 1964: Grand Star of the Decoration of
Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria
Norway 1965: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal
Norwegian Order of St. Olav Philippines
1968: Grand Collar of The Order of the Golden Heart
South Korea 1981: Grand Order of Mugunghwa
Brunei 1990: The Most Esteemed Royal Family
Order Seri Utama of Brunei Laos
1992: Phoxay Lane Xang =Honours from former Sovereign
Families=1963: Grand Cross of the Order of
Beneficence 1963: Grand Cordon of the Most Esteemed
Order of the Million Elephants and the White Parasol
1968: Iranian Imperial Family: Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of the
Pleiades, 1st Class 1968: Dame Grand Cordon of the Most
Exalted Order of the Queen of Sheba 1986: Member of The Nepal Pratap
Bhaskara Issue
Ancestry See also
King Bhumibol Adulyadej References

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