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Queen Sirikit

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is the daughter of His Highness Prince Chandaburi Suranath (Mom Chao Nakkhatra Mangkala Kitiyakara) and Mom Luang Bua Kitiyakara (nee Mom Luang Bua Snidwongse).

She was born on August 12, 1932.  She attended kindergarten class at Rajini School, but subsequently went to St. Francis Xavier convent school at Samsen District in Bangkok.  Her father later on became Thai Minister to France, then to Denmark and, ultimately, Ambassador to the Court of St. James in England. 

Her Majesty accompanied him and continued her general education in the three countries and lastly in Switzerland.

 

queen sirikit thailand

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 very serious motor 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 Pathumwan Palace.

President of Thai Red Cross Society

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. Later on, in 1979, upon learning of the influx of about 40,000 Cambodian refugees into 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 Center to give shelter, food and medical care to those Cambodian refugees who were mostly peasant families with small children and unaccompanied orphans. The Center was a refuge for these displaced people for some years.

When His Majesty entered the priesthood in 1956, Her Majesty became Regent during that interval. She performed her duties so well and so satisfactorily that, on the recommendation from the Government, Her Majesty was given a title of higher distinction, “Somdech Phraborom Rajininath.”

Since August 10, 1961, Her Majesty has been Honorary President of the Council of Social Welfare of Thailand under His Majesty’s patronage.

Promoting Thai National Costumes

Her Majesty the Queen is naturally endowed with artistic talents and is keenly interested in the world of arts and culture, especially those of Thailand. 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. 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 two. She concluded it was time to create such costumes for the sake of national identity. With this in mind, Her Majesty made a research into traditional costumes that Thai women had worn in different historical periods, from the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya to the Rattanakosin (Bangkok) Periods. Then she set out to adapt and modify these different modes into Thai national costumes for present-day use. Initially, there were five designs, all worn with a long skirt. Three of these have simple wrap-around skirts and the other two have a pleated fold in the middle, running the entire length of the skirts. These five designs were given such names as Thai Ruan Ton, Thai Chitralada, Thai Amarin, Thai Chakri and Thai Borom Phiman. Later on, more designs were gradually added to the collection. These designs were launched by Her Majesty the Queen during the course of the state visits and on subsequent occasions, until they are now internationally recognized as Thai national costumes.

The promotion of Thai national costumes has had lasting consequences on Thai traditional handicrafts and cottage industries, as the costumes are particularly suited to hand-woven silk, plain, brocade or the patterned, tie-dye silk, called the mud-mee. These costumes are further enhanced by traditional handbags, which again are the products of delicate craftsmanship in wickerwork.

 



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