|His Royal Highness Prince Maha Vajirunhis was born on 27 June 1878, the 20th
child of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn and the eldest son of Queen Sawang
Vadhana. As he was the eldest son to hold the royal rank of "Chao
Fa", as his mother was also of royal blood, he became the first Crown Prince
In the old Siam, there were no crown princes, but there was a title of Maha Uparaja, which was styled the Front Palace (Wang Na), acting as deputy to the king, as well as heir to the throne. During King Rama V's reign, the king abolished the title of Maha Uparaja and hence, created the heir to the throne as the Crown Prince, son of a king who would be the next king.
The royal ranks of Siam were extremely detailed and confusing. A child of a king and a mother of royal blood was styled "Chao Fa." A child of a king and a mother who is not of royal blood was styled "Pra Ong Chao." The Chao Fas were then considered part of the immediate royal family. They would then be first, second, third, and so on, in line to the throne according to their age. It was only until the Nineth Reign, with a king having just one wife, that the royal children are styled Chao Fas, whether the mother is of royal blood or not.
The Crown Prince Maha Vajirunhis was a handsome and bright child, maticulously brought up to be the next king, following his father's footsteps in every way. The prince fell ill in mid 1894 and died on 4 January 1895 from typhoid fever. He was only 16 years old. As one could imagine, King Chulalongkorn was thoroughly distraught, having ultimately prepared the prince to be the next King of Siam. The prince lied in state for a very long time, and foreign royalties visiting Siam at the time all paid their respect. The Royal Cremation ceremony finally took place in 1900.
The very first Investiture Ceremony of the Crown Prince was a very big and public affair, compared to the very simple and private second investiture of Siam's second Crown Prince, Maha Vajiravudh, who was studying in England at the time. The ceremony took place at the Siam Legation in London with his brothers who were studying in Europe at the same time in attendance as well as a small delegation from Siam.
The Palace of the Crown Prince
The palace, nicknamed "Windsor," was built by King Rama V for his first Crown Prince. After the princes death, the palace was used as sometime residence for members of the Royal Family while their own palaces were being built. During King Vajiravudh's reign, after having built Chulalongkorn University, the king gave the land to the university, and the palace became home to the university's Language Faculty, as well as administrative offices. The building was thoroughly used through the years, and became too expensive to repair. After the demolishion, the university leased it to the Ministry of Sports in 1934. Luang Supachalasai, the then Minister of Sports, built Siam's first National Stadium on this ground, spanning 77 rai, or about 30 acres, altogether.