PHRA CHAOYUHUA ANANDA
King Rama VIII (1934-1946)
His Majesty King Ananda
Mahidol (Rama VIII) was the 2nd monarch of the Chakri Dynasty to be
crowned king under the new Constitutiional Monarchy System. Born on
September 20, 1925 in Heidelberg, Germany, he was the first son of HRH
Prince Sonkhla Nakarind and Somdej Phra Sri Nakarindhara, with one elder
sister, Princess Galyani Vadhana and a one younger brother, then, Prince
Bhumibol Adulyadej. At the tender age of ten, he was crowned King Rama
VIII. At the time he was attending school on Switzerland. His father was
one of King Rama V's sons and having done much for the country in the
field of medicine. His mother is most brilliant and a very enterprising
person who devotes her time attending to the needs of the people.
His coronation came as a compete surprise and was most unexpected
as at that time the entire world was in a state of turmoil because of
worldwide economic depression.
King Rama VIII visited Thailand
when he was 13 years old, accompanied by his royal mother, elder sister
and younger brother. The Thai people were most excited to see their very
young king who had grown up in a foreign country. What they witnessed was
an extremely gentle but serious minded person, especially after having
heard about his interview graciously given to the foreign press on his
many pending duties and responsibilities. The Thai people admired him
greatly and talked about him endlessly. When he departed to finish his
education, thousands of people went to see him off, wishing him the best
of luck and a speedy return.
Seven years later, King Rama VIII
returned to Thailand for the second time together with HRH the Princess
Mother and his brother Prince Bhumibol. King Ananda Mahidol was heartedly
welcomed wherever he went. At official function the young king would
appear serious and dignified. But the gentleness was always there making
people love and revere him for his sincerity and firmness in whatever he
wanted to do for the good of the country.
What really impressed
the people was his close and personal visits to communities both in
Bangkok and the surrounding areas.He made people feel confident that their
king was their protector. His mannerism was always bland and he was always
at home when ever he talked to people.
One memorable occasion was
when he visited "Sampheng", a district that King Rama I had given to
Phtaya Rajasetthi and the Chinese community when they moved out of the
site where and the present day Grand Palace is located and where they had
engaged in business peacefully since the construction of Bangkok. The
Government managed to put a stop to the unrest by arresting a number of
Chinese who were responsible. Even though the situation was soon under
control many Chinese still held grudges.
King Rama VIII decided
that the problem had to be resolved and harmony restored since the Thais
and Chinese had been living in peace together for ages. He could have
requested the Chinese community to send representatives for talks at the
palace but in steady he chose to visit the Chinese community.
was an extremely difficult undertaking since Sampheng was a business
center with rows of shop houses located on both sides of the road. When
news reached Samphaeng that His Majesty King Anada Mahidol and HRH Prince
Bhumibol would visit the community, all the Chinese and businessmen in the
vicinity were overwhelmed with delight. Preparations for receiving the
Monarch were immediately under taken; roads were repaired and all shops
set up alters in front of their shops creating the most reverential
atmosphere. All, young and old alike, kowtowed in front of their shops to
pay homage to their king.
In the meantime the Thais, witnessing
the deep loyalty and high esteem the Chinese showed to His Majesty the
King, like all typical Thais, forgot their anger and over display of
violence which could have developed into something very serious. His visit
of the country and the people of Thailand.
King Ananda Mahidol was
most deeply loved and respected for his gentleness, sincerity, and
On June 9,1946, at about a little past nine in the
morning, the saddest news hit the air - His Majesty the King had died.
People broke down and cried and many just simply would not believe it
until an official announcement was broadcast. "Ever since June 2 of this
year, His Majesty the King had been having stomach trouble causing fatigue
and debility. His Majesty, however, still continued to make personal
visits to places. But as his condition deteriorated he remained inside the
palace not making any appearances as scheduled. On June 9 of this year,
His Majesty woke up at 6.00 a.m. and had taken castor oil after which he
conducted the morning routine before turning in again. At about 9.00 a.m.,
pages of the royal chamber arid a gunshot from the inside and on immediate
investigation discovered His Majesty lying on the bed with blood on his
body and already dead. The royal page, therefore, reported the incident to
HRH Princess Mother who immediately rushed into the royal chamber to see
what had happened. Afterwards, members of the Cabinet came to pay their
respects. The Director-General of the Police Department and the autopsy
followed later by investigations. It is surmised that His Majesty toying
with a pistol as was his wont with firearms and it accidentally went off.
The entire country dressed in black and melancholy prevailed in
every corner of the nation. Thousands of sad-hearted people paid their
last respects to their beloved king. Many came for months to the Grand
Palace where his body rested with tears in their eyes.
his reign was short and required a Council of Regency since he was quite
young then, King Rama VIII still managed to conduct his many tasks
exceptionally well. His warm and graceful personality earned him the
tremendous love and respect of Thais as well as aliens residing within the
country. Their memory of His Majesty King Ananda Mahidol will remain vivid
in the minds of the Thais for many years to come.