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    Lifestyle Curators for Thailand + Southeast Asia

    The soul of the nation

      /  DESTINATIONS   /  The soul of the nation

    Grand celebrations are planned to mark His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 87th birthday on December 5.

    December is a very auspicious in Thailand for one reason: the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej—the longest reigning living monarch in history—which falls on the fifth day of the month. The dearly beloved King, who ascended the Thai throne in 1946, will be 87.

    Every year, big celebrations are organized by both the public and private sectors across the country to mark the birthday of the revered King, who is regarded as the “Soul of the Nation” and “Father of the Land.” This year, grander celebrations are expected to be held as usual at three focal points in Bangkok: Sanam Luang, the Royal Plaza, and the areas around Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall, and along Rajdamnoern Road. The spectacle—which many foreigners find unique and endearing—will include candle- lighting ceremonies, a fireworks display, and public performances, all meant to pay respects to the King. Similar celebrations are being organized in other parts of the kingdom.

    His Majesty has earned the respect and love of his subjects because, through the years, he continues to show that he cares for all his subjects whatever their station in life. Regarded as the most hardworking monarch in the world, His Majesty has visited every corner of his kingdom, birthday on December 5. checked how his subjects are living, and initiated numerous Royal Projects to help them uplift their welfare and livelihood. Today, these Royal Projects have become a backbone of social and economic support for all the people of Thailand, and have helped raised the standards of living of the Thai people.

    His Majesty was born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. on December 5, 1927. He was the youngest son of HRH Prince Mahidol Adulyadej and Mom Sangwal (later Somdej Phra Sri Nakarindhara Boromaratchachonnani). His name Bhumibol Adulyadej means “Strength of the Land, Incomparable Power.”

    The King returned to Thailand in 1928 after his father, Prince Mahidol, obtained a certificate in the Public Health program at Harvard University and briefly attended Mater Dei School in Bangkok. But in 1933, his mother took the family to Switzerland, where he continued his education at the École Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande
    in Lausanne. In 1935, his elder brother Ananda Mahidol became King of Thailand.

    The family came to Thailand briefly in 1938 for Ananda Mahidol’s coronation, but then returned to Switzerland. He received the baccalauréat des lettres (high-school diploma with majors in French literature, Latin, and Greek) from the Gymnase Classique Cantonal of Lausanne, and by 1945 had begun studying science at the University of Lausanne when World War II ended, and the family returned to Thailand.

    His Majesty ascended the throne following the death of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, on June 9, 1946.

    He then returned to Switzerland to complete his education, and his uncle, Rangsit, Prince of Chainat, was appointed Prince Regent. His Majesty switched over his field of study to law and political science to prepare himself more effectively for his new position as ruler.

    While finishing his degree in Switzerland, he visited Paris frequently.

    It was in Paris that he first met his future queen: Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara, daughter of the Thai ambassador to France. He was 21 and she was 15.

    His Majesty became a regular visitor to the ambassador’s residence and soon the two were engaged (in Lausanne on July 19, 1949). They were married April 28, 1950, just a week before his coronation.

    Their Majesties have four children: Princess Ubol Ratana, born April 5, 1951, in Lausanne, Switzerland; HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, born July 28, 1952; HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, born April 2, 1955; and HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak, born July 4, 1957.

    Lookeast magazine joins the entire Thai nation in wishing His Majesty long life and long rule! Long live the King!