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6 May 1923 - 2 January 2008
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Her Royal Highness the Princess Galyani Vadhana was a much loved Princess. She was also a much loved elder sister to two Kings, namely His Majesty King Anada Mahidol (Rama VIII) and His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX).

Her Royal Highness the Princess Galyani Vadhana was one of the hardest working member of the Royal Family. She normally went about her work quietly and without much fuss. Whatever she did, she did with her heart. She took for herself a work load that could be indescibable to some. She was head of over 60 organizations and she looked after each one herself, and with full knowledge and concentration. Her workloads could rival that of the King and the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. After her mother's passing, she took over most of the charities and organizations that was her mother's as well, with full knowledge as she used to accompany the Princess Mother on her trips to the rural areas.

The Princess's health has been in decline since June 2007. Although she was admitted to Siriraj Hospital for cancer treatment, she still went about her work as much as possible. We began to see less of her in the second half of 2007, and were all worried for her. Finally, the princess left this world on 2 January 2008, at 2.54am. The news of her passing should have been expected to some degrees with nearly 40 announcements from the Royal Household bureau about her worsenning condition, but we were still shocked and saddened that she has left us so soon, especially when we know that she still had a zest for life and work.


Her Royal Highness was born Her Serene Highness Mom Chao Galyani Vadhana on 6 May 1923 in London, the eldest child of HRH the Prince Mahidol of Songkla and the Princess Mother Sri Nagarindra. She is the elder sister of HM King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) and HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX).

In 1927, she was elevated to Her Highness (Pra Vorawongse Ther Pra Ong Chao) by HM King Prajadhipok (Rama VII).

In 1935, the princess was elevated to Her Royal Highness after her brother ascended the Throne as King Rama VIII. Her Royal Title was Somdetch Pra Chao Pi Nang Ther Chao Fa which translates as "the princess who is the King's elder sister."

In 1995, in the year of the Princess' 6th Cycle birthday (72nd year), HM King Bhumibol bestowed on her the title of the Kroma Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra, a traditional Siamese customs dating back to the Ayudhaya period, and not seen for decades. She thus became the Princess of Naradhiwas since. (It was said that the province of Naradhiwas was chosen because of it's location being near the province of Songkla, the name given to the Princess and the King's father, The Prince of Songkla)

Ceremony Royal Birthday Ceremony of 6 May 1995 celebrating the Princess' 6th Cycle Birthday where HM the King bestowed the title of Kroma Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra
After returning to Thailand from her studies in Switzerland, the princess became a professor in the French language, history and literature at Chulalongkorn University, assisting professor at Thammasat University, as well as guest lecturers at many others. At the same time she also represented HM the King at various charities and royal work, as well as her own work in the areas of medicine, public health, youth programmes and education. She also represented many organizations in the name of her father specializing in the medical field. After the passing of the Princess Mother, she continued to preside over and take full personal interests in all charities, foundations, associations, organizations and schools set up by her late mother.
The princess had represented HM the King in many visits abroad, as well as on her own behalf. With her keen interests in education, she came out with books and videos of all the countries she has visited educating the Thai public on the history and culture of the different countries. The videos were aired on Thai Televisions before and during each of her visits to a foreign country. She also penned many books as well as gave special insights in different books on a variety of subjects, including the history of the Siamese Royal Family, especially the descendents of King Rama V, her mother's philosophy and teachings, descriptions of ancient ceremonies and their meanings, and collections of royal emblems and cyphers of past era.
The Princess of Naradhiwas married Col. Aram Ratanakul Serireungriddhi in 1944 and had to relinguish her Royal title upon marriage to a commoner. HM the King restored her Royal title in 1950, after he was officially crowned. In 1969, the princess married His Highness Prince Varananda Dhavaj, son of His Royal Highness Prince Chudadhuj Dharadilok, Prince of Bejraburna. The princess has one daughter, Thanpuying Dasna Valai Sorasongkram, from her first marriage and one grandson, Jitas Sorasongkram, son of Thanpuying Dasna Valai and Ambassador Sindhu Sorasongkram. Her only daughter had represented HRH in many functions and events, as with the workload the princess had taken, it was near impossibility to be in the same place at one time. Her interests in classical music was welknown, and with the growing appreciation of the Thai people in classical music concerts, the princess had presided over many charity concerts that sprang up in Thailand.
Royal Birthday Celebrations
  Thailand normally celebrates birthdays or anniversaries every 12 years, according to the lunar calendar. It is similar to the Chinese calendar years, which is based on the 12 animal signs. Recently, most important birthdays are celebrated once an individual reaches the 5th cycle, which is 60 years, and then 72 for 6th cycle, and 84 for 7th cycle, and so on. Many have adopted the Western ways of celebrations, and tends to count on the rounded years, such as 60, 70, 75, 80, rather than the traditional 12-year- cycle. Some have included both, bringing celebration times for every year.
  For the 6th Cycle Birthday Celebrations in 1995, the number one Thai society magazine, Ploy Gam Petch, commissioned famous portrait photographer, Sukchai Guy, for portraits of HRH to commemorate the event. Parts of the photos can be viewed below. All images are taken from Ploy Gam Petch, issue 79, 15 May 2538 (1995).
  The said issue of the magazine Ploy Gam Petch is seen as a collectible edition, and is sought after by collectors. It features the Royal Portraits, interviews with the Princess, her daughter, and 4 members of the Royal Houses of Paribatra, Kitiyakara and Diskul, who were also celebrating their 6th Cycle Birthday. In addition, the magazine came out with a special book called "One in a Hundred" where 100 aristocrats and society figures donated a certain amount, get their portraits taken by Sukchai Guy and published in the book, and received a signed photograph of HRH. All proceeds went to charities of the Princess' choosing.
In 2007 the Thai people saw another occasion to celebrate, that of the 84th birthday or 7th cycle anniversary of HRH the Princess Galyani Vadhana, Princess of Naradhiwas. The schedule of activities were as follows:
March Trocadero Group have launched Thailand Limited Edition watches by distinctive watch companies Ulysse Nardin, Carl F. Bucherer, Oris and Orient to commemorate the 7th Cycle birthday of HRH the Princess of Naradhiwas.
24 March The Tamnak Prathom Harp Centre kicked off a series of harp concerts throughout the year in honour of HRH the Princess of Naradhiwas at the Siam Society. HRH graciously attended the concert.
4-13 May Photo Exhibition at the Siam Paragon Shopping Complex organized by the Princess' family and loayalists depicting the Princess' life from 4-13 May. The exhibition travelled around Thailand throughout the year and ended at the late Princess Mother's home, Doi Tung Villa in Chiang Rai.
6 May Thai people around Thailand celebrated the 84th Birthday of HRH the Princess of Naradhiwas. Many held Buddhist ceremonies in her commemoration, and many men ordained as monks in her honour. The princess' official colour, blue, was the colour of the day. In addition, the Office of the Secretariate to HRH came out with many souvenirs, including t-shirts and pins, which sold out almost immediately.
17 December

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's concert in Bangkok in celebration of the Princess' birthday featuring Dame Kiri and the pianist, Julian Reynolds. Sadly, the Princess Galyani did not attend, as she had been admitted to Siriraj Hospital for cancer treatment. The event was attended by HRH Princess Chulabhorn, as well as all the individuals of the Court of the Princess Galyani. Programme pages: Cover, Dame Kiri ,Programme

19 December The Tamnak Prathom Harp Centre held a Harp and Flute Concert to end the series of harp concerts held throughout the year. The concert featured Ms. Catrin Finch, formerly Harpist to the Prince of Wales, and Ms. Juliette Bausor. The pair have played for the Princess Galyani twice before, and Ms. Finch three times; the first time was a solo harp concert on the Prince Chudadhuj Grand Concert Harp. Programme pages: Cover, The Princess, Information, Programme, The Duo with the Princess 2005
21 December

Launch of the official web site to celebrate the Princess' 84th birthday by the Thai Goverment. (A bit late considering the Princess's birthday was in May) The web site is in Thai only, I'm afraid, and not quite complete just yet, but it has a lot of information about the Princess. It was at but no longer exist.

25 December The cabinet approved funds to build the Galyani Vadhana Classical Music Institute to mark the Princess' 84th birthday anniversary. It is a fitting tribute as the Princess' love for music is a welknown fact, which helps to promote the awareness of many classical concerts held in Thailand in the last 5-10 yewasars.
Since May 2007
The Princess' Love for Animals
It is welknown to the Thai people that Princess Galyani loved the animals of Thailand as well. She has set up the "13 Funds" to help animals in need. The "13 Funds" is named after one of her many pet dogs. Sometime, quite unfair to the Princess, someone would discard their pet dog in front of her villa, and she would take in these discarded pets and look after them. She would treat these pets with loving care. In addition, the Princess had supported the elephants of Thailand as well. The elephants were used as transporters in the old days, for Kings and soldiers to go into war, as more recently, as transporters of rare logs. When logging was deemed illegal in Thailand, the elephants "lost their job." With no income to support the elephants and their masters, they came to Bangkok looking for work as tourist attractions. The poor elephants were not used to walking on hard paved streets and fumes of modern day transportation and hard work soon affected their health. Funds were then set up to look after these elephants, and large parameters were set up in the North of Thailand for elephants to roam freely. The Princess was one of the major supporters of the funds, and had adopted some elephants under her care. Though the Princess is now gone, her pets are still being looked after at her villa by her faithful servents. It is thus necessary to leave a page of introduction to her pet family as a tribute to her.
Personal Remembrance

I am proud to say that Princess Galyani was, and still is, my favourite member of the Royal Family. I had the honour and luck to meet many, and as my wife's family was close to Her Royal Highness, I had the chance to meet her many times. She was certainly a strict individual who upheld the properness that one should have as a member of the Royal Family. One was expected to use the right language when conversing with a member of the Royal Family, but in this day and age when the education system is farther from par, increasingly fewer people know the Royal language. So, she adapted, and expected a minimal use of the Royal language, which still is a big problem for the majority who were granted an audience with her. I thought it was kind of sad to witness such a scene, as it shows how Thai people have backwardly developed. We are fast loosing our culture, our way of life as a Thai or Siamese. We are now being "colonized" by the Western ways, and not realising it.

I had a chance to travel with HRH to a private dinner once as well. She took her large van so all 8 of us could travel together. There was just one motorcycle escort, and the traffic lights were turned green wherever she went. There was no need to block off other cars, for they were benefitting the green lights without knowing that they were on the same route as HRH. The police escort did not have the sirens on, but was there for protection. She arrived at a hotel to pick up her guest. There was no need to inform anyone. The van stopped at the hotel's main entrance, door opened, she peaked out, her waiting guests bowed and curtseyed and step into the van. Most people outside the group didn't even know that the princess was there. It was something so simple and just plain nice. It's a fond memory that I look back often and smile.

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Updated 3 October 2011