King of Siam 1910-1925
A signed photo dated 1921
|His Majesty King Vajiravudh was born His Royal Highness
Prince Maha Vajiravudh, Prince of Debdavaravardi, on 1 Januanry 1881, 29th
child of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn, and the eldest son of Her Majesty
Queen Sri Bajarindra. He was appointed Crown Prince of Siam on 17
January 1897, at the age of 16 while studying in England, after the unexpected
death of his half-brother, the first Crown Prince Maha Vajirunhis.
As Crown Prince of Siam, the prince represented his father
on many visits abroad, such as at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria,
and later on at her funeral, at the installation of King Alfonso XIII of
Spain, and the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of Great
Britain. The prince was also appointed Region of Siam on the King's
last trip to Europe. He became King Rama VI on the death of his father
At Rama VI's coronation in December 1911, it was the very first time that foreign royals were invited, and sent representations. By that time, the new king was acquainted with many European Royals through his years spent in England and Europe, and having visited many members of the European Royal Families as well as attended many important functions, both public and private.
Rama VI was the first king of Siam to set up a model of the constitution at Dusit Palace. He wanted first to see how things could be managed under this western system. He saw advantages in the system, and thought that Siam could move slowly towards it, but could not be adopted right away as the majority of the Siamese people did not have enough education to understand such a change just yet. He also set up Vajiravudh College, modeled after the Bristish system, as well as the first Thai university, Chulalongkorn University. He also set up the Wild Tigers Corp, modelled after the English Boys Scout. In extension of the Wild Tigers Corp, he also set up his own private army, loyal to the king, and would call to do war if necessary at a moments notice. There was no need for warfare as such, but these men all remained very loyal to King Vajiravudh during the king's lifetime, and continued to protect his good name thereafter.
HM King Vajiravudh was most remembered as a great writer and poet in the Thai history. He wrote numerous poems, songs and plays. He also translated many noted foreign works including Shakespear into Thai.
The King, with his western education, was the first to grant surnames for the Siamese people, as there did not exisit then, with people known as the son or daughter of someone. He was also the first monarch to practice the act of "marrying" in Siam. Though this was not law at the time, he became "engaged" as well as "unengaged" to one lady, and married then un-married another. He nevertheless, created only one queen, Her Majesty Queen Indrasakdi Sachi, and later demoted her to a lesser rank of Princess Consort. His only child, Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana, was by his third "wife," the Princess Consort Suvadhana. The King had just one daughter, who was born two days before the King's death on 26 November 1925. He was 44 years old.
With no son, the kingship passed on to his youngest brother, and incidentally, the only surviving brother of 5, who became King Prajadhipok, Rama VII of the Chakri Dynasty.