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Queen of Thailand - Her Majesty Queen Sirikit

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Queen Sirikit (born August 12, 1932), is the wife and Queen Consort of Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), King of Thailand. Her formal name and title is Somdej Phra Nangchao Sirikit Phra Boromarajininat (Her Majesty Queen Sirikit) (สมเด็จพระนางเจ้าสิริกิติ์ พระบรมราชินีนาถ).


Born as Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara, she was the first daughter of Colonel Mom Chao Nakkhatra Mangkala Kitiyakara (who was given the title Prince Chanthaburi Suranath after the royal marriage), a relative and close supporter of the Royal Family, and of Mom Luang Bua Kitiyakara (nee Mom Luang Bua Snidwongse). The title "Mom Rajawongse" indicates that she is a child of a Mom Chao (the most junior class of Thai princes) and thus descended from royalty. Her grandfather was HRH Prince Kitiyakara Voralaksana, Prince of Chandaburi, son of King Rama V, and elder half-brother of HRH Prince Mahidol of Songkla, King Bhumibol's father, which makes her a first cousin once removed of her husband. Her name, auspiciously granted by King Prajadhipok, means "the illustrious member of Kitiyakara".


Sirikit was born at the house of General Chao Phraya Wongsanuprapat (Mom Rajawongse Staan Snidwongse), her maternal grandfather, in Bangkok and was educated at Saint Francis Xavier, a Catholic convent school. She had a younger sister, Busba. During her childhood her father was successively Thai Ambassador to France, Denmark and the United Kingdom, and Sirikit continued her education in these countries and in Switzerland.


While studying in Switzerland Sirikit met King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was then still a minor and also studying in Switzerland. When the King was injured in a motor accident and was in a hospital at Lausanne, Sirikit was a frequent visitor. On July 19 1949, they were engaged in Lausanne. On March 1950, the King returned to Thailand to take up his royal duties. Sirikit accompanied him and on April 28 the royal wedding took place at Pathumwan Palace.


When the King undertook a period of service as a Buddhist monk in 1956 (as is customary for all Thai Buddhist males), Sirikit became Regent. She performed her duties so satisfactorily that she was made "Somdej Phra Boromarajininat" (Queen Regent) and given the style of "Somdej Phra Nangchao Sirikit Phra Boromarajininat".


Although the marriage was dynastic, it has proved highly successful. The couple have four children:


(Formerly HRH) 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;

HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak, born July 4 1957.


One of the Queen's grandchildren, Bhumi Jensen (also known as Khun Poom), was killed in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. He was the son of Princess Ubol Ratana and her American husband.


Like her husband, Sirikit is immensely popular and deeply respected in Thailand. Her birthday, like the King's, is a national holiday, and is also Thailand's official Mothers' Day. She is particularly revered in the more remote and traditional parts of the country, where the monarchy is regarded as semi-divine. The mystical aspect of the monarchy is heightened by the Thai habit of using images of the King and Queen showing them as many years younger than their real ages.


Sirikit is well-known for her charitable work. Her major formal involvement is as President of the Thai Red Cross, a post she has held since 1956. She gained new prominence in this role in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster in southern Thailand in December 2004. She has also been active in relief work for the many refugees from Cambodia and Burma who have sought refuge in Thailand.


Many things in Thailand have been named after Queen Sirikit:


the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok

the Queen Sirikit Park in Bangkok

the Sirikit Dam on the Nan River, Uttaradit Province

the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Chiang Mai Province

the Queen Sirikit Arboretum Garden, Pathum Thani Province

the Queen Sirikit Cup, an annual Asian-Pacific golf Teams Event

the Queen Sirikit Crab (Thaiphusa sirikit)

the Queen Sirikit Rose

the Queen's Cup, annual football competition


Extracted from Wikipedia: Queen of Thailand

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