12 August, 2002
It's a Glorious Day
On 12 August 1932 Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the Kingdom of Thailand came into this world. She was born to parents both of the Chakri Dynasty, so Her Majesty can trace her ancestry back to Rama I. Her father was Prince Nakkhatra and her mother was M.L. Bua Sanitwongse. Both proud parents were honored when the reigning monarch, King Prajadipok (Rama VII) suggested that the baby girl be named Mom Rajawongse Sirikit.
It was an auspicious choice, and as 1932 was a Year of the Monkey within the Oriental Zodiac calendar, astrologers had no hesitation in predicting a bright future for the baby. People born in such a year are destined for future success because they are clever, flexible, innovative, motivated and make good linguists. How right this proved to be; other Monkey Year people include Edward Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller and the Duchess of Windsor.
Her Majesty was educated at the Rajini School and the St. Francis Xavier Convent School before her diplomat father was posted overseas. This posting obliged the entire family to move to London where her father presented his credentials at the Court of St. James. Later, diplomatic postings took the family to Copenhagen, and eventually to Paris, where Her Majesty's father was Thai Ambassador to the Republic of France. Like so many others, it was in Paris that teenaged Mom Rajawongse Sirikit fell in love and met the man she would eventually marry.
It so happened that a young King Bhumibol Adulyadej was studying at Lausanne in Switzerland, and frequently made visits to Paris for weekends and holiday breaks. It was at the Thai Embassy, in Paris, that King Bhumibol met Mom Rajawongse Sirikit and a romantic courtship began. The romance grew and blossomed between the young couple fully approved of by both families and they became formally engaged on July 19, 1949 at an official ceremony at the Villa Wattana in Lausanne. When the news reached the people of Thailand, there was much joyous celebration throughout the land.
In order to allow His Majesty's studies to be completed, and that the onerous burden of Kingship be eased gently onto his shoulders, the coronation ceremony of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand had been postponed until 5 May 1950. Accordingly, the betrothed couple returned to Thailand prior to the coronation and were married in the Srapatum Palace on 28 April 1950. It was a week of tumultuous rejoicing in Thailand as the Royal Wedding was followed by the full pageantry of a State Coronation.
In 1956, H.M. Queen Sirikit acted as Regent of the Kingdom when her husband, King Bhumibol, entered the priesthood for a period. She is only the second Queen to be so honored; Queen Sao Vabha Pongsee, wife of King Chulalongkorn, also was honored as Regent when the King was travelling abroad.
As a lady devoted to her husband and the people of Thailand, H.M. Queen Sirikit has always been a motivator in helping the less fortunate, and also with environmental projects. The numbers of organizations in which Her Majesty is Royal Patron are legendary. Whether it is the Thai Red Cross or small groups of village ladies starting a handicraft endeavour, Her Majesty has lent a listening ear and a guiding voice. In many cases, H.M. the Queen has been un-stinting in providing personal funds to get the wheels of a new "self help for the villagers" project turning. As has been established countless times, Her Majesty loves the people of the Kingdom and they reciprocate with equal love and respect.
On a lighter note, Queen Sirikit shares His Majesty's love of music. She is an accomplished pianist to his saxophone talents and has demonstrated that they are a happy "duo" in life. Of course, The Queen has accompanied and assisted His Majesty on his travels to every remote corner of Thailand and on Royal State visits overseas.
The 12 August, the Glorious Twelfth a date that perhaps means different things to different people. In England and Scotland it signals the beginning of the grouse and ptarmigan hunting season, while other people who share the birth date include King George IV of Britain, film mogul Cecil B. de Mille, musician Mark Knopfler and tennis superstar Pete Sampras. But for the people of Thailand, the 12 August can only mean one thing the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. May we join with the nation in saying Happy Birthday and good wishes for many more to come. LONG LIVE THEIR MAJESTIES !