- HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Long Live Her Majesty Queen Sirikit
5000 baht smiles from 10 lucky Thai students
at Chiang Dao Welfare School
Long Live Her Majesty Queen Sirikit
Loving Mother of the Thai Nation
& Photos Courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household
Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is Consort to a King who has been
called upon to be the first reigning Monarch in the modern democratic era of
Thailand. She is required and expected to display the traditional
exceptional qualities of Thai Queens in adapting themselves in the best and
most balanced manner to new conditions and situations.
Queen Sirikit is the daughter of H.H. Prince Chandaburi Suranath and his
consort Mom Luang Bua Kitiyakara, and was born on August 12, 1932, the
auspicious year during which constitutional monarchy was introduced into
Thailand. Her father was a Major-General in the Thai Army at that time, and
later served as First Secretary at the Thai Legation in Washington D.C.,
then becoming Thai Minister to France and to Denmark and ultimately
Ambassador to the Court of St. James. His young daughter accompanied him to
his last 3 posts, and continued her education in the 3 countries and lastly
While her father was stationed in Paris, she first met His Majesty King
Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was visiting Paris on a break from studying in
Switzerland. The chance meeting ripened into friendship and understanding.
When His Majesty met with a serious car accident in Geneva, resulting in a
stay in a Lausanne hospital, Her Majesty was a frequent visitor. When His
Majesty was well again, He was happy to arrange for Her Majesty to continue
her studies at Riante Rive, a Lausanne boarding school.
On July 19, 1949 Their Majesties quietly became engaged, and on March 24,
1950, They arrived in Bangkok by ship after a long absence. On April 28 of
the same year, the Royal Wedding took place at Padumawan Palace. As a
democratic King and Queen, Their Majesties signed their names in the
Registry Book of Marriages. Prince Chandaburi Suranath also appended his
signature to show that he consented to his underage daughter’s marriage. His
Majesty then crowned his new wife Queen in conformity with Thai tradition.
Their Majesties have four children, 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.
Her Majesty has many public functions to perform. She became President of
the Thai Red Cross Society on August 12, 1956, and Her enthusiasm for the
work has built up Her popularity and aroused public support for the
organisation. Towards the end of 1959, H.R.H. Prince Nagor Svarga, Executive
Vice-President of the Thai Red Cross Society, died unexpectedly. Her Majesty
ably carried on the Vice-Presidential duties as well as her own as President
until a new Vice-President was appointed.
In 1979, after the influx of 40,000 Cambodian refugees into Trat Province
Her Majesty set up Khao Larn Thai Red Cross Centre to give shelter, food and
medical care to the mostly peasant families with small children and
unaccompanied orphans. The centre became a refuge for these displaced people
for some years.
Queen Sirikit has always given her direct support to people in need. This
year, she has donated in support for 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. On the
social side, Her Majesty has been Honorary President of the National Council
on Social Welfare of Thailand since August 10, 1961. The organisation
comprises around 905 private and public social welfare units throughout the
Kingdom and is now a member of the International Conference of Social Work
When His Majesty entered the monkhood in 1956, Her Majesty became Regent
during that period, performing Her duties so well that, on a recommendation
from the government, She was awarded the title of ‘Somdech Phraborom
Rajininath’, a title given to a Queen who has ably performed as Head of
State when the King is either absent from the realm or is unable to exercise
his function for another reason.
Since she was 18 years old, Queen Sirikit has encouraged the preservation of
the environment and of Thailand’s art and culture and 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 appreciated. Her
cultural promotion activities date back to 1960, when She accompanied His
Majesty the King on a state visit to Europe and the United States. Noticing
that there was no national dress for Thai women, she researched traditional
costumes and adapted and modified the styles into 5 distinctive designs
which proclaimed the wearer’s national identity. The introduction and
promotion of Thai national costumes, so suited to hand-woven silk, has
resulted in lasting benefits for manufacturers of the 4 types of Thai silk.
Tie-died silk (mud-mee) is a speciality of North Eastern weavers; when Queen
Sirikit became aware of a shortage of raw silk, she gave extensive support
to the raising of local silk worms, suing her own funds to finance the
project and buying up the products. Traditional patterns and designs have
been revived and production techniques improved.
In addition to her encouragement of traditional crafts across the kingdom,
here in the North, HM the Queen has launched several hand-weaving projects,
involving silk, brocade and thick cotton cloth, and promoted the indigenous
embroidery of the hill tribe women, with which She is fascinated. She has,
on several occasions, worn garments with hill-tribe embroidery in order that
the tribespeople may feel proud of their traditional costumes and their
The Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related
Techniques (SUPPORT) was founded in 1976 under Their Majesties’ Royal
Patronage and Chairmanship, and provides outlets for local wares and
handicrafts from all regions of the Kingdom. In 1979, the foundation
launched the Chitralada Training Centre, which teaches Thai arts and crafts
to children of landless villagers. At the present time, there are hundreds
of thousands of needy families countrywide whose livelihoods have been much
improved through the project.
Queen Sirikit is committed to the conservation of natural resources and the
environment, and has initiated Highland Agricultural Development Stations
across Thailand as well as projects focused on reforestation, water
resources, natural medicine and conservation, all of which enable her
subjects to live in harmony with nature.
Education and health care are at the heart of Her Majesty’s concern for her
people, especially those in remote areas. She founded the Sala Ruam Jai
multi-purpose centres, serving as libraries and health centres and also
providing both education and entertainment to villagers of all ages. Higher
on the education scale, Her Majesty has been providing scholarships for
needy students throughout the country since 1974, with more than 14,000
students benefiting from Her generosity and care
Queen Sirikit is not only concerned with her human subjects, but also with
the many species of animals in the kingdom. Earlier this year, after an
elephant had been severely injured in an accident, she sent her expert
veterinarians to ensure that the wounded pachyderm, much-loved symbol of
Thailand itself, received the best of care.
Nearly sixty years after Her Royal Wedding, Queen Sirikit continues to
dedicate Herself to the welfare of her people. By her dedication, Her
Majesty Queen Sirikit has blended Her role in the most effective manner
possible to that of His Majesty. The Thai Monarchy is embellished and
humanised by her feminine touch, becoming even more meaningful and more
completely a personification of Thai nationhood.
5000 baht smiles from 10 lucky Thai students
at Chiang Dao Welfare School
Ten Thai students at the New Life Foundation’s Chiang Dao village
were recently overjoyed to receive scholarships of 5,000 baht each from the
foundation. The youngsters are all students at the Chiang Dao Welfare School
in the village and are all from either single parent or ‘caretaker’
families. 9 girls and 1 boy are being supported through the entire education
process by the foundation, with girls being the priority as it is believed
that when you educate a girl, you can change an entire family, and through
this an entire community. Here in Thailand, there are many more
opportunities for boys than for girls; a good education for female students
is, therefore, essential.
5000 baht smile for 10 students and their guardians at the Chiang Dao
Welfare School, thanks to New Life Foundation
The scholarships, given for a period of 6 years, are not based as a reward
for academic achievement , but are awarded as a means of support for the
student’s family or caretakers, enabling the youngsters to continue with
their education without being put under pressure to leave school and earn
money. Most of the recipients are in their 5th year of scholarship support.
The Chiang Dao Welfare School is now educating the third generation of New
Life Foundation villagers, and also provides education with weekday boarding
for over 760 hill tribe children. The scholarship fund itself was set up in
2001, with the proceeds from the 1st Western classical music concert given
with the support of Payap University and the Chiang Mai community. 5
concerts in the ‘Chiang Mai Classics’ series have followed, all at Kad Suan
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