Caring Mother of the Thai Nation
August 12 is a very special day throughout the Thai Kingdom,
as it is the day the entire nation celebrates the auspicious occasion of Her
Majesty Queen Sirikit’s Birthday. The day is also celebrated throughout the
Kingdom as Mothers Day. The management and staff of the Pattaya Mail Media Group
join the Thai people and the many others from around the world to present our
loyalty and devotion to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and best wishes for a most
Happy Birthday and a long life on the occasion of her 78th birthday August 12.
Today’s edition of the Pattaya Mail incorporates, with our profound love and
respect, a special section courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household,
showing a glimpse of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s remarkable life. (Photo
courtesy Bureau of Royal Household)
Story & Photos Courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal
If we look back into history and consider the
role of Thai women in the past, it can be seen that Thai women have always had a
hand in the salvation and progress of the country. In times of necessity, they
even took up arms and fought for their country with great success and
distinction. But generally they devoted themselves to the running of their
household, showing an all-round capability and always adapting themselves to
suit the circumstances of the time. By constantly holding to the middle path in
conducting their life, they rarely clashed with those near and dear, and at the
same time, they never had the feeling of being inferior to their men folk.
Her Majesty Queen Sirikit stands by His Majesty King Bhumibol
Adulyadej the Great as he waves to the crowd during celebrations of the 60th
anniversary of His Majesty becoming Thailand’s King June 6, 2006. (AP Photo
/Thailand Public Relations Department, HO)
“At the present time, circumstances have changed and modern
life requires that women have to go out to work more and more. But even so, Thai
women still skillfully manage to lead their life with delicate and charming
skill, avoiding conflicts within the family. However much work they may do, Thai
women still hold on to the middle path, to adapt themselves to the new
circumstances, to be constantly wary and consider well all the happenings around
them, just like their forerunners did in the past. In short, Thai women manage
their life very well, but they never boast or show off.”
These shrewd observations are taken almost literally from an
address by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand to the National Council of Thai
Women many years ago and they shed significant light on many important aspects.
They indicate, first of all, the chosen and genuine attitude of Thai women
towards life and society, helping at the same time to explain why Thai women
have always had a recognized and vital part in the development of the country
throughout the ages and yet maintained the smoothest of relationship with their
men folk. The mutual admiration and respect between the sexes in Thailand are
the natural facts of life and the modern movement of women’s liberation seems to
be unnecessary to Thai people.
This unique tradition of Thai women naturally stretched over
the leadership of the country and became the tradition of Thai Queens from the
past up to the present. Succession to the Thai Throne has been limited to the
male line since the earliest establishment of the unified Kingdom until very
recently and there never was any attempt or thought of claiming an equal
opportunity for the female members of the Royal Family. The Thai Queens and
Consorts, however, were not the unobtrusive partners as might well be expected
in these circumstances. They have, instead, constantly played an integral part
with their Royal Husbands in effecting and symbolizing the government of the
The historical episodes of how some Queens had borne arms
beside their Husbands, and some even sacrificing their lives to save their
Husbands, are well known to all Thai people even down to young children. The
development of the Thai Monarchy, therefore, cannot be truly studied without
taking into account the parts played by the Queen and consorts of all times. The
life of any Monarch, in particular, would be far more comprehensible with
reference to His Royal Household.
The present Queen of Thailand, as Consort to a King who has
been called upon to be the first reigning Monarch in the modern democratic era
of the country, is required and expected to display all the more the traditional
exceptional qualities of Thai Queens and women in adapting themselves in the
best and most balanced manner to the new conditions and situations.
The Early Years
Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is the daughter of
H.H. Prince Chandaburi Suranath (M.C. Nakkhat Mongkol Kitiyakara) and his
consort Mom Luang Bua Kitiyakara (nee Mom Luang Bua Snidvongs). Prince
Chandaburi Suranath was the third son of H.R.H. Prince Chandaburi Suranath and
H.S.H. Princess Absarasman Kitiyakara.
She was born on August 12, 1932. The year 1932 is a
significant one: it was the year when constitutional monarchy was introduced
into Thailand. Her father was a prominent and capable Major-General in the Thai
Army at the time of the constitutional change. He left the army and went to
serve as First Secretary at the Thai Legation in Washington D.C. As HM the Queen
was then still a little child, she remained in Bangkok in the charge of her
relatives. She did not see her parents again until their return home.
Her Majesty has always been very devoted to Her children.
She attended the Kindergarten class at Rajini School. But
subsequently went to St. Francis Xavier School at Samsen District in Bangkok in
order to be nearer to home. Her father later on became Thai Minister to France,
to Denmark and ultimately Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Her Majesty
accompanied him and continued her general education in the three countries and
lastly in Switzerland.
It was while her father was stationed in Paris that she first
met His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was then studying in Switzerland
but went now and then to Paris. The chance meeting in Paris ripened into
friendship and understanding. When His Majesty met with a serious motor car
accident in Geneva, Switzerland and had to stay in a hospital at Lausanne, Her
Majesty was a frequent visitor. When His Majesty was well again and left the
hospital, He was graciously pleased to arrange for Her Majesty to continue her
studies at “Riante Rive”, a boarding school in Lausanne.
On July 19, 1949 Their Majesties were quietly engaged in
Lausanne. On March 24, 1950, Their Majesties landed in Bangkok by ship after a
long absence. On April 28 of the same year, the Royal Wedding took place at
Padumawan Palace before the Queen Grandmother. As a democratic King and Queen,
Their Majesties signed their names in the Registry Book of Marriages. Prince
Chandaburi Suranath also appended his signature in the book to show that he
permitted his daughter, who was then under age and required her father’s consent
to the marriage, to go through the ceremony of marriage. His Majesty then
crowned HM the Queen in conformity with Thai tradition.
Their Majesties have four children, namely: Princess
Ubolratana, born on April 5, 1951, His Royal Highness Prince Maha
Vajiralongkorn, born on July 28, 1952, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri
Sirindhorn, born on April 2, 1955 and Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn,
born on July 4, 1957.
Their Majesties took great care in the education of their
children in order to prepare them to meet the various duties which they will
have to undertake in later life. A choice had to be made between private
tutoring and sending the children to an ordinary school. Private tutoring is a
good medium for imparting knowledge, but it lacks human contact with children of
similar ages. Attendance at an ordinary school also has its drawbacks. From
experience, it would appear that teachers, pupils and even parents are subjected
to biases either favorable or unfavorable. In order to avoid these
inconveniences, His Majesty, with the entire concurrence of Her Majesty, set up
a school in the compound of Chitralada Villa. Better control and supervision
could thus be assured. The school was established and registered in accordance
with the law in November 1958. There were about 78 children in the school. The
classmates of the Royal children were sons and daughters of ordinary people of
various vocations. In the year 2007 the number of Chitralada School children
increased to 1,822 with 285 regular teachers and several part-time teachers.
Her Majesty has always been very devoted to Her children.
During their younger days, she used to spend as much time with them whenever Her
duties would allow, and kept close supervision on all their activities. When Her
Majesty was in the United States of America during the State Visit with His
Majesty in 1960, a TV representative asked Her what Her favorite hobby was. The
reply was: “Looking after my children!”
Projects to raise the living
standards of the people
18 August 2007 - Her Majesty the Queen
representing His Majesty the King, presiding over the opening ceremony of the 5th
Arts of the Kingdom exhibition held in honor of His Majesty on the occasions of
the 60th Anniversary of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne and of His Majesty
the King’s 80th
Birthday Anniversary, at Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall, Dusit Palace.
Her Majesty the Queen is naturally endowed
with artistic talents and is keenly interested in the world of arts and culture.
One of Her special interests, which She has made her life’s work, is Thai arts
and culture. Her cultural promotion activities dated back to the year 1960, when
She was to accompany His Majesty the King on a state visit to Europe and the
United States. She noticed at the time that there were no national dresses for
Thai women, unlike the Indian Sari or the Japanese Kimono, to name only a
It was high time to create a distinctive costume for the sake
of national identity. With this in mind, Her Majesty researched into traditional
costumes that Thai woman had worn in different historical periods, from
Sukhothai, Ayuthaya to the Rattanakosin (Bangkok) periods. She then set out to
adapt and modify these different modes into Thai national costumes for
Initially, there were five designs, all worn with a long
skirt: three of these have simply wrap-around skirts and the other two have a
pleated fold in the middle, running the entire length of skirt. The five designs
were given such names as Thai Ruan Ton, Thai Chitralada, Thai Amarin, Thai
Chakri and Thai Boromabiman. Later on, more designs were gradually added to the
collection; for example, Thai Dusit, Thai Prayuk, etc. These designs were
launched by Her Majesty the Queen on the course of State Visits and on
subsequent occasions. They are now internationally recognized as Thai national
The promotion of Thai national costumes has had lasting
consequences on Thai traditional handicrafts and cottage industries, the
costumes being particularly suited to hand-woven silk, plain, brocade or the
patterned, tie-dyed silk, called Mud-mee. These costumes are further enhanced by
traditional handbags, which again are the products of delicate craftsmanship in
Humanitarian and Social Welfare
Her Majesty personally interviews villagers in Songdao
District, Sakhon Nakhon Province to find ways of helping those with health and
Her Majesty has many public functions to
perform. She became President of the Thai Red Cross Society on August 12, 1956,
and Her keenness in the work has built up Her popularity and aroused enthusiasm
in the public for the cause of the Red Cross. Towards the end of 1959, H.R.H.
Prince Nagor Svarga, who was Executive Vice-President of the Thai Red Cross
Society, died unexpectedly. Her Majesty very ably carried on the duties which
would ordinarily fall upon the Vice-President until a new Vice-President was
appointed on March 18, 1960.
Later on, in 1979, upon learning of the influx of about
40,000 Cambodian refugees into Thailand’s Trat Province, Her Majesty Queen
Sirikit flew to the site to see the situation Herself. Then in Her capacity as
President of the Thai Red Cross Society, Her Majesty set up the Khao Larn Thai
Red Cross Centre to give shelter, food and medical care to those Cambodian
refugees who were mostly peasant families with small children and unaccompanied
orphans. The centre became a refuge for these displaced people for some years.
In her role as Honorary President of the Thai Red Cross,
Queen Sirikit has always given her direct support to people in need. Recently,
she donated funds to help support the treatment of people infected with the
Chikunkunya virus, and taken financial responsibility for many patients in
desperate need of intensive care. A former entertainer, paralyzed for 7 years; a
7 year-old child with bone cancer and a 17 year-old girl badly burned girl are
just 3 of many victims aided by Her Majesty’s generosity. During the disastrous
floods of 2008 and the severe storms in early 2009, She immediately ordered that
packs of food, blankets, clothes and tools to repair homes be distributed to
those affected, in order to ensure her subjects were able to recover quickly
from these natural disasters.
When His Majesty entered the monkhood in 1956, Her Majesty
became Regent during that period. She gave the oath of allegiance before the
National Assembly. She performed Her duties so well and so satisfactorily that,
on the recommendation from the Government, Her Majesty was given the title of
higher distinction. She became “Somdech Phraborom Rajininath.” Such as title is
given to a Queen who has ably performed the function of the Head of State on
behalf of the King, when He is absent from the realm or for some reason is
unable to exercise His function temporarily.
On the social side, Her Majesty accepted to become the
Honorary President of the National Council on Social Welfare of Thailand under
His Majesty’s Patronage since August 10, 1961. The organization comprises of
around 905 private and public social welfare units throughout the Kingdom and it
is now a member of the International Conference of Social Work.
Since she was 18 years old, Queen Sirikit has encouraged the
preservation of the environment and of Thailand’s art and culture. Most notably,
she has encouraged the values of Thai life. An example of this was her support
of Pu Yen, a now-deceased citizen who lived by self-sufficiency throughout his
106 years on a boat in a river, asking nothing from anyone, and having no debts.
When, very late in the old man’s life, his boat home was badly damaged by heavy
rain, the Queen ensured that the damage was immediately repaired, thus
demonstrating that the value of one well-lived life, often overlooked, should be
Queen Sirikit is not only concerned with her human subjects,
but also with the many species of animals in the kingdom. Recently, after an
elephant had been severely injured in an accident, she sent specialist
veterinarians to ensure that the wounded pachyderm, much-loved symbol of
Thailand itself, received the best of care.
Her Majesty’s Work in Rural Areas
14 October 2005 - Her Majesty the Queen conversing with local
monks and imams who were grateful for Her Majesty’s concern over the situation
in the three southern provinces of Thailand, during a visit to the Model Farm
Project, Khok Rai Yai Village, Su-ngai Padi district, Narathiwat Province.
We will reign with righteousness for the
benefits and happiness of the Siamese people.” These words pronounced as the
Oath of Accession by His Majesty the King on His Coronation Day, are not mere
formalities, but form the key that unlocks the oft-wondered mystery - especially
to foreigners - as to why the Thai Monarchy has remained.
This concern to reign for the benefits and happiness of the
Siamese people is the prime motivation which drives His Majesty the King to
maintain close contact with ordinary Thai people. Her Majesty the Queen has made
it Her duty to be at the King’s side on every possible occasion. These functions
may include Royal audiences, receptions held on the occasion of the State Visits
of Heads of States, Royal and State functions, religious and traditional
Their Majesties frequently travel on extended journeys to
visit Their subjects in all corners of the realm, especially the remotest and
the most neglected. They have always felt particular concern for those in dire
need of help and support, whether material or moral, such as people made
homeless by natural disaster, the underprivileged and deprived hill tribesmen,
active combat units and wounded personnel of the military and the police.
In the course of Her visits to wounded soldiers or policemen,
Her Majesty gives them presents and made inquiries after their conditions. In
some of the more serious cases of injury, such as when the patient is blinded,
Her Majesty would show great concern in giving personal attention to the
patients and asking for minute details of their medical history and treatments
to the extent of accepting them under Her Patronage. Her special care and
concern on these occasions have been greatly appreciated and infinitely boosted
the morale of the military and police forces who devote themselves for the sake
of the country.
As the number of wounded soldiers, policeman and civilian
volunteers increased, Her Majesty founded the “Sai Jai Thai Foundation” on April
2, 1975. The aim of the foundation is to help those soldiers, policemen, and
civilian volunteers who became wounded or disabled, to be able to live a more
comfortable life. The families of the deceased will be looked after to some
extent. Her Majesty graciously entrusts this Foundation to H.R.H. Princess Maha
Chakri Sirindhorn, Her second daughter, who has been Chairperson of the Sai Jai
Thai Foundation to this very day.
These Royal trips to the rural areas, sometimes classified as
“sensitive”, were undertaken in order that His Majesty the King may gain
first-hand knowledge about the actual living conditions of His people. With the
insight, Their Majesties have been able to alleviate their hardships as well as
prevent them from recurring. A number of projects have been royally initiated to
this end, and a great deal of Their time is spent on the follow-up of these
On these visits, Her Majesty the Queen likes to mix
informally with the people and talk to them with great interest. Some of the
visits take the Royal Couple to the simple homes of the needy; others involve
long hours of car journey on bumpy earth tracks from one village to the other.
On each visit, prompt aid is given to urgent cases while the sick are taken care
of, either on the spot by the accompanying team of Royal physicians or at
hospitals at Royal expense. A large number of patients are currently
hospitalized on Royal expense in this manner both in the provinces and in
Bangkok. During their hospital stay, the patients are regularly visited by court
officials and basic necessities provided for. On their complete recovery, their
home journey is usually arranged for them to ensure their safe return.
For Her Majesty’s outstanding work in this field, the Royal
College of Physicians of London awarded Her an Honorary Fellowship on May 1,
In certain remote areas, where there is a complete absence of
any health care facilities, Their Majesties would erect a “Sala Ruam Jai” or a
“Pavilion of united Spirit”, which serves as a centre for primary health care as
well as a library for the villagers.
Her Majesty the Queen learned from these visits that the
majority of farmers find it difficult to subsist on farm income alone. While His
Majesty the King launched thousands of agricultural projects to relieve their
hardships, Her Majesty the Queen looks for extra income generating occupations
to supplement their basic earnings.
Queen Sirikit initiated the Village Volunteer Guard project
in 2004, following reports from local villagers received during her visit to the
southern Thai provinces about the threat to their lives caused by the increasing
violence. Soldiers were sent to affected areas to train villagers in the use of
weapons to guard their villages against terrorist incursions.
In connection with her involvement with the situation in the
Deep South, the Queen has continued her support and help for people affected by
the ongoing crisis. Families of soldiers killed in the line of duty have been
provided with financial assistance; the dead have been honored for their
sacrifice, and their families comforted. The Thai people as a whole have been
made aware of the selfless acts of military personnel who are prepared to die to
Royal Development Projects
HM the Queen came
to the conclusion that most Thai people are dexterous, industrious, and
meticulous. Each region, moreover, has its own indigenous raw materials and
cottage industry. If these indigenous handicrafts can be promoted and their
utility emphasized, the rural poor would have additional occupations and
incomes. With this in mind, wherever She travels, HM the Queen pays attention to
indigenous cottage industries and crafts and tends to support all kinds of
Her Majesty’s craft promotion activities have encompassed
most of the country’s regions, starting with Hup Kaphing village in Petchaburi
province. At the village, a project was launched by HM the Queen to encourage
local women to make various kinds of accessories, such as handbags, hats,
sandals, and mats out of jute and palm leaves. At the self-help community of
Prachuap Khiri Khan province, HM the Queen initiated an artificial flower making
project using remnants of cotton, silk and other fabrics. She also sent expert
weavers to teach cotton weaving at Ayuthaya and revived the making of
traditional clay dolls, known as “Chao Wang” dolls or “palace” dolls, at Tambon
Bang Sadet, Ang Thong province.
Her Majesty the Queen inspects some Royal silk on display for
Her to give Her approval.
The making of clay dolls at Tambon Bang Sadet originated
during the course of a vacation HM the Queen took with the Royal Family at the
Summer Palace of Bang Pa-in at the close of 1975. A severe flood hit Tambon Bang
Sadet in nearby Ang Thong province where the farmers had already suffered from
successive crop failures caused by flooding in the past. Her Majesty was
accompanying HM the King on an urgent relief mission when She received the
mandate from His Majesty to find a way to supplement the farmers’ incomes. It
resulted in the revival of the old art of making tiny clay dolls, the raw
material for which is readily available in that sub-district. Subsequently, HM
the Queen provided training to the villagers by expert doll-makers and then
bought the finished products which would then be sold to tourists as souvenirs.
The doll-making project, besides being a source of
supplementary income, helps preserve a near-extinct aspect of Thai traditions as
well as popularized Thai traditional culture overseas. The “palace dolls” do in
fact faithfully portray traditional manners, clothing, aspects of everyday life
and other ancient traditions and customs.
In the North, HM the Queen launched several hand-weaving
projects, involving silk, brocade and thick cotton cloth. The fabrics could be
fashioned into curtains, handbags and other accessories. Other crafts which have
been promoted in this region include fancy clothes hangers and embroidery.
Her Majesty became fascinated by the indigenous embroidery of
the hill people while she was accompanying HM the King on a visit to the Yao
tribe. She observed that the Yao tribesmen were dressed in colorful and
delicately embroidered costumes. Embroidery is one of the traditional crafts of
all the hill-tribes, passed down from generation to generation, and deserved to
be preserved and promoted. Since then, HM the Queen herself has, on several
occasions, worn garments with hill-tribe embroidery in order that the
tribes-people may feel proud of their traditional costumers and consequently
fully appreciate the efforts to preserve and perpetuate such craftsmanship.
During one of Her private visits to the United States
(January 25-March 31, 1980), Her Majesty organized a fashion show at the
Shoreham Americana Hotel in Washington D.C., where a collection of hill-tribe
costumes and handicrafts was presented to the American public. This promotional
event attracted a large number of interested parties and important orders from
big department stores, thus boosting the national economy and the hill-tribes’
The North-eastern people prefer to weave Mud-mee or tie-dyed
silk as well as ordinary silk cloth for their family needs. But they have
inadequate supplies of raw silk for the purpose. Her Majesty found a way out by
giving extensive support to the raising of local silk worms. The traditional
patterns and designed of Mud-mee weaving are revived and production techniques
improved. Her Majesty uses Her own private funds to finance the whole
enterprise, from purchasing raw material to paying wages and buying up the
finished products. As an extra incentive, any outstanding weaver who
distinguished herself in the art would be awarded a special prize by Her
Weaving in the South also has a unique traditional pattern;
some are modeled after the local varieties of flowers, such as the jasmines;
others are more abstract. In recent years, its popularity has been declining, a
phenomenon which prompted Her Majesty to take up its cause as zealously as She
has done for other regions. Other Southern handicrafts have also been given Her
attentions, such as bulrush matting, and a delicate craft of wickerwork, using a
local variety of vine, called Yan Lipao, which can be fashioned into all kinds
of household accessories, including the famous evening bags. After a period of
training, the southern people became outstanding in embroidery.
The Support Foundation
30 January 2006 - Her Majesty the Queen inspecting handicraft
products made by the local populace and members of the SUPPORT Foundation of Mae
Buan Nua and Tai Village, Doi Tao District, Chiang Mai Province.
The Royal rural development efforts attracted
a large number of donors, whose contributions formed the basis of SUPPORT, or
the Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related
Techniques, founded in 1976 under Their Majesty’s Royal Patronage and
Chairmanship. The promotional work of the foundation has been recognized as
highly effective, particularly since SUPPORT provides outlets for local wares
and handicrafts from all regions of the Kingdom.
In 1979, the Support Foundation Chitralada Training Center
was set up to teach Thai arts and crafts to children of landless villagers.
Through this project, Her Majesty succeeded in preserving some dying arts. At
the present time, there are hundreds of thousands of poor and needy families
around the country whose livelihoods have been much improved through Her
Majesty’s SUPPORT projects.
While improving the livelihood of Her people through the
SUPPORT Project, Her Majesty worked simultaneously on the conservation of
natural resources and the environment. The Highland Agricultural Development
Stations initiated by Her Majesty, Her “Forests Love Water”, “Little House in
the Big Forest” and “Sirikit Reforestation” project has enabled people to live
in harmony with nature. Forests that had been ravaged have been replanted with
useful trees and medicinal plants. Watersheds have been restored and preventive
measures put in place against forest fires. In addition, during the past decades
Her Majesty launched many other notable environmental conservation projects, to
name a few: “Offshore Natural Rehabilitation”, “Sea Turtle Conservation”,
“Metallic Beetle Conservation”, “Lady Slipper Orchid Conservation By returning
Them to the Wilderness”, “Elephant Conservation by Releasing Them to Return to
the Forest”, and “Rehabilitation of Thai Fish, River Prawns, Mountain Frogs,
Native Fowls, etc., to Feed the People”.
Her Majesty’s concern for Education
and Health Care
The well-being of Her people has always been
at the heart of Her Majesty’s concern. Among Her concerns over the past years
has been education, especially for people in remote areas of the country. That
is why she founded Sala Ruam Jai, with multi-purpose centers serving the
community as libraries and medical clinics. These centers provide education and
entertainment, with magazines, newspapers, books, cartoons, and pictures so that
villagers of all ages, even illiterates, can acquire knowledge.
Primary health workers, called “village doctors”, are in
attendance to give advice before referring sick people to the nearest local
hospital. Higher up on the education ladder, Her Majesty has been providing
scholarships for needy students throughout the country. Since 1974, when the
program started, more than 14,000 students have been provided with Her Majesty’s
Over sixty years after Her Royal Wedding, Her Majesty
continues to dedicate Herself to the welfare and livelihood of the people. “Do
not come to speak to me about profits and losses, I want poor people to have
lots of work to do. My losses are the profits of the Nation,” said Her Majesty
in connection with Her Royal Initiative for Model Farms, whose purposes are to
create employment opportunities for farmers, provide knowledge and training in
agriculture and food for local communities. Thus, His Majesty’s self-sufficiency
philosophy has turned into reality.
International Recognition and Awards
A brief overview of Her Majesty’s activities
amply bears witness to Her dedication to the people and Her determination to
better their general welfare. Her achievements in this regard have been
internationally recognized by various international organizations. For example,
the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) asked for Royal permission to
portray Her Majesty’s likeness on a Ceres Medal. Dr. Edouard Saouma, the
Director of FAO said that such an honor is reserved only for great women, who,
“by their lives and their work, have helped to uplift the status of women,
especially in the rural areas.” The gold Ceres Medal was presented to Her
Majesty at a ceremony held in the Chakri Throne Hall of the Grand Palace by the
FAO Director on May 11, 1979.
On March 4, 1980 on the recommendation of the world-famous
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University of the United States of
America awarded Her Majesty an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters in
recognition of Her work for the rural poor of Thailand and Her humanitarian work
in Her capacity as Chairwoman of the Thai Red Cross Society.
For Her Majesty’s many contributions to the conservation of
the environment, natural resources and wildlife in all parts of Thailand, the
Chairman of the Board of Directors of World Wildlife Fund presented to Her
Majesty an award as an outstanding conserver of forests and wildlife on November
As we said about His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej that
through selfless devotion to duty supported by great intelligence, His Majesty
has won the affection of the Thai people and has given a profound meaning to the
Thai Throne by making it “the personification of the Thai nationhood, the symbol
of the Nation’s unity and independence, the invariable constant above the
inconstancies of politics, indeed, as it is written to be, the repository of the
sacred trust of the whole nation.”
By equal dedication, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has blended
Her role to the most correct and most effective degree to that of His Majesty.
The Thai Monarchy is thereby embellished and humanized by the feminine touch.
The Monarchy thus becomes even more meaningful and more completely personifies
Thai nationhood with its balanced composition of men, women and children.
It is no wonder that one can believe wholeheartedly that Her
Majesty Queen Sirikit is, indeed, a born Queen.
It is often said, and sincerely believed in Thailand that
Kings and Queens cannot be made but are really born as such though we may not
know it in the beginning. Thailand has continuously been ruled by men who upon
their succession to the Throne have proved themselves worthy Monarchs as if born
for such duties and the line of succession merely accidental.
The belief seems even farther-fetched where Thai Queens are
concerned, for no female line of succession came to pass. Yet Thailand has also
been blessed with many Queens who seem equally born for Their supreme
responsibilities. If one looks at Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, especially as She
moves by the side of His Majesty, be it in the most stately ceremonies or
through the adoring crowd in the remotest areas of the country, one cannot help
feeling how perfectly natural She seems to fit in the design of things. Then
turn to ponder well also Her words and actions which have come forth from Her
since Her elevation to the Queenship, it will be no wonder that one can believe
wholeheartedly that She is, indeed, a born Queen.
Wir entbieten Ihrer Majestät Königin Sirikit die besten Glückwünsche zum Geburtstag
Rajawongse Sirikit Kittiyakara wurde am 12. August 1932 als Tochter eines
Prinzen und bekannten Generalmajors in der Armee und dessen Gattin geboren.
Der Vater nahm nur wenig
später den Posten als Erster Sekretär der thailändischen Legation in Washington,
D. C., an und ließ die kleine Sirikit in Bangkok bei Verwandten. Sie besuchte
den Kindergarten an der Rajini Schule, um später an die St. Francis Xavier
Schule in Samsen zu wechseln.
Als ihr Vater zum
thailändischer Minister für Frankreich und Dänemark und schließlich zum
Botschafter am „Court of St. James“ wurde, durfte seine Tochter Sirikit ihn
begleiten und setzte in diesen Ländern ihre Schulausbildung fort, die sie
letztlich in der Schweiz beendete.
Im Jahre 1945 begann die
junge Sirikit, deren Name „Schönheit und Ehre“ bedeutet, ihr Sprach- und
Musikstudium in Paris, wo sie den künftigen König Thailands, Bhumibol Adulyadej,
der in Lausanne studierte, zum ersten Mal traf.
Als der junge Prinz
Bhumibol nach einem schweren Autounfall in einem Krankenhaus in Lausanne lag,
besuchte ihn die schöne Sirikit regelmäßig. Nachdem er wieder gesund war, nahm
sie einen Studienplatz am „Riante Rive“ Internat in Lausanne an, um in seiner
Nähe sein zu können.
Die Verlobung erfolgte
dann am 19. Juli 1949 und das Paar fuhr am 24. März 1950 auf dem Schiffswege
nach Bangkok. Die Vermählung fand am 28. April desselben Jahres im Padumawan
Palace in Anwesenheit der Königin Großmutter statt. Als demokratisches
Königspaar heiratete das Paar auch beim Standesamt, und Chandaburi Suranath
unterzeichnete die Erlaubnis für die junge Sirikit, da diese noch minderjährig
Als der Prinz am 5. Mai
1950 zum König Rama IX. gekrönt wurde, bestand seine erste offizielle Handlung
darin, seine Gemahlin zur Königin „Somdej Phranang Chao“ zu erheben. Seit diesem
Zeitpunkt fällt der Muttertag in Thailand auf diesen Tag.
Ihre Majestäten haben vier
Kinder: Ihre königliche Hoheit Prinzessin Ubol Ratana (*5. April 1951), Seine
königliche Hoheit Prinz Maha Vajiralongkorn (*28. Juli 1952), Ihre königliche
Hoheit Prinzessin Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (*2. April 1955) und Ihre königliche
Hoheit Prinzessin Chulabhorn (*4. April 1957).
Die Wohltäterin der Nation
Majestät ist seit dem 12. August 1956 Präsidentin des Thailändischen Roten
Kreuzes. Als Seine
Majestät 1956 Mönch wurde, hatte Ihre Majestät, nach Leistung des Treueides, die
Regentschaft über das Königreich übernommen. Auf Empfehlung der Regierung wurde
ihr der Titel „Somdech Phraborom Rajininath“ verliehen.
Ihre Majestät war und ist
stark sozial engagiert. Am 10. August 1961 wurde sie zur Ehrenpräsidentin von
Thailands Nationalrat und Sozialfürsorge unter der Schirmherrschaft Seiner
Majestät ernannt. Darunter vereinigen sich 905 private und öffentliche
Sozialhilfe-Abteilungen aus dem ganzen Land.
Im Jahre 1979 richtete
Königin Sirikit sofort als Präsidentin des Roten Kreuzes Thailand das Khao Larn
Center ein, um den 40.000 kambodschanische Flüchtlingen in Thailands Provinz
Trat Essen, Unterkunft und medizinische Versorgung zu bieten.
„Wir werden mit
Rechtschaffenheit zum Wohl und für das Glück des siamesischen Volkes regieren“,
schwor Seine Majestät der König vor der Thronbesteigung und bis heute blieb dies
für ihn keine Formalität. Es ist vielmehr der Grund, weshalb die Monarchie in
Thailand immer noch Bestand hat.
Bei ihren Besuchen in
entlegene ländliche Gebiete Thailands beschloss das Königspaar, eigene, „hausgemachte“
Lösungen zu finden, um die Armut der Landbevölkerung zu lindern und ihr ein
ausreichendes Einkommen zu verschaffen.
Verwundeten Soldaten und
Polizisten überreichte Ihre Majestät Geschenke und informierte sich über ihren
Gesundheitszustand. Manche Betroffene unterstützte sie sogar persönlich.
Am 2. April 1975 gründete
Ihre Majestät die „Sai Jai Thai“-Stiftung, deren Ziel es ist, im Krieg
Verwundeten oder deren Hinterbliebenen das Leben zu erleichtern. Dafür wurde
Ihrer Majestät von der Königlichen Ärztekammer in London am 1. Mai 1988 die
Ehrenmitgliedschaft verliehen. Ihre Tochter Prinzessin Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
übernahm nun die Aufgabe als Vorsitzende der „Sai Jai Thai“-Stiftung.
Ihre Majestät kümmerte
sich verstärkt um die Bildungsmöglichkeiten in abgelegenen Regionen und gründete
„Sala Ruam Jai“, bei der mehrere Gemeindezentren Bibliotheken, medizinische
Versorgung, Bildung und Unterhaltung bieten. So genannte „Siedlungsärzte“
versorgen Kranke, bevor sie ins nächstgelegene Krankenhaus gebracht werden
Seit 1974 durften sich
über 14.000 Schüler aus dem ganzen Land über ein Stipendium Ihrer Majestät
Die Gründung von „Support“
war eine weitere Meisterleistung Ihrer Majestät.
Handwerker des Hofes im
Ruhestand gaben ihre Kunstfertigkeiten an die neue Generation, zum Teil auch
Körperbehinderten, weiter. Ihre Majestät stellte aus eigenen Mitteln Webstühle
und Materialien zur Verfügung.
Ihre Majestät hat
zahlreiche andere Projekte ins Leben gerufen. Dazu zählt der „Botanische Garten
Königin Sirikit“ im Bezirk Mae Rim in der Provinz Chiang Mai, in dem seltene
einheimische und vom Aussterben bedrohte Pflanzenarten gesammelt und gepflanzt
werden. Die Projekte „Der Wald braucht Wasser“ und „Das kleine Haus im großen
Wald“ sind ebenfalls sehr erfolgreich. Sie setzt sich für den Schutz der Wälder
ein, da sie die Quelle des Wassers und der Nahrungsmittel darstellen.
1997 und 1998 errichtete
die Königin drei Mustergüter, zwei davon in der Provinz Chiang Mai, das dritte
in der Provinz Chiang Rai. In Ubon Ratchatani initiierte sie eine Reihe
alternativer Projekte für die nahezu mittellosen Bauern.
1997 gründete Ihre
Majestät einen „Elefanten-Auswilderungsplan“, unterstützt vom World Wildlife
Fund. Auch die Meeresschildkröten-Rettung in Sattahip wurde von ihr ins Leben
Im Mai 1979 wurde das
Porträt Ihrer Majestät auf der goldenen Ceres Medaille der FAO (Essen und
Agrikultur Organisation), geprägt. Dr. Edouard Saouma, der Direktor der DAO,
sagte, diese Ehre wird nur solchen Frauen zuteil, die durch ihr Leben und Wirken
dazu beigetragen haben, den Status der Frauen, besonders in ländlichen Gebieten,
zu heben. Diese Medaille wurde der Königin in der Chakri Thronhalle des Grand
Palace am 11. Mai 1979 überreicht.
Von der „Fletcher School
of Law & Diplomacy“ an der Tufts Universität wurde Ihrer Majestät am 4. März
1980 der Ehrendoktortitel als Anerkennung ihrer Verdienste für das Landvolk und
ihrer humanitären Arbeit als Vorsitzende des Roten Kreuzes Thailand verliehen.
Ihr Engagement zum
Naturschutz und zum Erhalt natürlicher Ressourcen brachte ihr am 19. November
1986 von WWF eine Auszeichnung ein, und im Jahre 2004 wurde sie für ihre
fortgesetzten Anstrengungen zum Schutz der Wälder, der Tierwelt und der Umwelt,
mit einer Goldmedaille ausgezeichnet.
Im Jahr 2006 wurde in
Pattaya der Queen Sirikit Public Park auf dem Pratumnak Hügel eröffnet. Die
königliche Marine entließ 150.000 Fische und Schildkröten ins Meer, im Gedenken
an Ihre Majestät.
Ihre Majestät schenkte den
Witwen und deren Familien aus dem kriegerischen Süden 600 Rai Land, damit sie
sich Häuser bauen konnten.
Wie auch Ihr Gemahl, der König, erfüllt Ihre Majestät Königin
Sirikit ihre Aufgabe mit höchstmöglicher Effektivität. Die
thailändische Monarchie gewinnt Charme, Schönheit und Mütterlichkeit
durch ihre feminine Note. Wer Ihre Majestät, Königin Sirikit, sieht,
vor allem, wenn sie an der Seite des Königs steht - sei es bei
staatlichen Anlässen oder während Besuchen in weit abgelegenen
Regionen - erkennt, wie perfekt und natürlich sie sich jeder Rolle
anpasst. Und wenn man sich dann ihre Worte und Taten seit ihrer
Ernennung zur Königin in Erinnerung ruft, wird einem mit ganzer
Seele bewusst, dass sie wahrhaft eine geborene Königin ist.
Die Geschäftsleitung und alle Angestellten von Pattaya Blatt,
Pattaya Mail, Chiang Mai Mail und Pattaya Mail TV schließen sich den
Glückwünschen der thailändischen Nation an und wünschen der
geliebten Königin das Allerbeste und ein langes Leben zu ihrem 78.
Geburtstag. Ebenso wünschen wir allen unseren Leserinnen alles Gute