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King of Siam 1910-1925

King Vajiravudh's signed photo

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 in 1910.

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.


Prince Vajiravudh's Naming Coin Front Prince Vajiravudh's Naming Coin Back Left: Commemorative Coin on the occasion of the officially naming of HRH The Prince Maha Vajiravudh, where his full name was written on gold sheet and presented to the prince by HM the King.

Right: The then Crown Prince Maha Vajiravudh running aroung the horse-drawn carriage with HM King Chulalongkorn already seated inside, taken at the Grand Palace, in front of the Amarindra Throne Hall, 1897


King Rama VI Cypher Medal

Above: King Vajiravudh's Cypher Medal, 3rd Class, in enamel on gold



Right: Postcard of the King, the Queen and the Crown Prince, circa 1907

The then Crown Prince Maha Vajiravudh
King Vajiravudh King Vajiravudh Cover of the Great War Magazine
Postcards of the king King Vajiravudh is featured on the cover of The Great War Magazine.
Princess Laksami Pra Sucharit Suda Queen Indrasakdi Sachi

The tragic Princess Laksami Lavan, the king's first consort


Pra Sucharit Suda, King Vajiravudh's 2nd fancy


Queen Indrasakdi Sachi became pregnant many times, so closed to giving the king a much wanted heir.


King Rama VI's Kris Pin Pra Nang Chao Suvadhana King Rama VI's Presentation Cypher Clips
King Vajiravudh's Presentation Pin in the form of a 4-pronged weapon carried by the God Indra (which is the meaning of his name), in silver and gold plating

Pra Nang Chao Suvadhana, mother of the king's only child, Princess Bejaratana


King Vajiravudh's Presentation Cypher Clips in enamel on gold

HRH Princess Bejaratana

Related Links:
  HRH Princess Bejaratana
  Royal Visitors for the Coronation of HM King Rama VI
The Tragic Princess Laksami Lavan





Updated 19 May 2021