Sirikit Kitiyakara

From Academic Kids

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Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand, with her husband, King Rama IX

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit (born August 12, 1932), is the wife and Queen Consort of Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), King of Thailand. Her formal name and title is Somdej Phra Nangchao Sirikit Phra Boromarajininat (Her Majesty Queen Sirikit) (สมเด็จพระนางเจ้าสิริกิติ์ พระบรมราชินีนาถ)

Born as Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara, she was the first daughter of Colonel Mom Chao Nakkhatra Mangkala Kitiyakara (who was given the title Prince Chandaburi Suranath after the royal marriage), a relative and close supporter of the Royal Family, and of Mom Luang Bua Kitiyakara (nee Mom Luang Bua Snidwongse). The title "Mom Rajawongse" indicates that she is a child of a Mom Chao (the most junior class of Thai princes) and thus descended from royalty. Her name, auspiciously granted by King Prajadhipok, means "the illustrious member of Kitiyakara".

She was born at the house of General Chao Phraya Wongsanuprapat (Mom Rajawongse Staan Snidwongse), her maternal grandfather, in Bangkok and was educated at Saint Francis Xavier, a Catholic convent school. During her childhood her father was successively Thai Ambassador to France, Denmark and the United Kingdom, and Sirikit continued her education in these countries and in Switzerland.

While studying in Switzerland Sirikit met Bhumibol Adulyadej, who although King was then still a minor and also studying in Switzerland. When the King was injured in a motor accident and was in a hospital at Lausanne, Sirikit was a frequent visitor. On July 19, 1949, they were engaged in Lausanne. On March 1950, the King returned to Thailand to take up his royal duties. Sirikit accompanied him and on April 28 the royal wedding took place at Pathumwan Palace.

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Queen Sirikit as a young woman

When the King undertook a period of service as a Buddhist monk in 1956 (as is customary for all Thai Buddhist males), Sirikit became Regent. She performed her duties so satisfactorily that she was made "Somdej Phra Boromarajininat" and given the style of "Somdej Phra Nangchao Sirikit Phra Boromarajininat".

Although the marriage was dynastic, it has proved highly successful. The couple have four children (see Bhumibol Adulyadej for details). Like her husband, Sirikit is immensely popular and deeply respected in Thailand: perhaps even as much as the King, since she has had no involvement in politics. The Queen's birthday, like the King's, is a national holiday, and is also Thailand's official Mothers' Day.

Sirikit is particularly revered in the more remote and traditional parts of the country, where the monarchy is regarded as semi-divine. The mystical aspect of the monarchy is heightened by the Thai habit of using images of the King and Queen showing them as many years younger than their real ages.

Sirikit is well-known for her charitable work. Her major formal involvement is as President of the Thai Red Cross, a post she has held since 1956. She gained new prominence in this role in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster in southern Thailand in December 2004, where she lost a grandson, Bhumi Jensen. She has also been active in relief work for the many refugees from Cambodia and Burma who have sought refuge in et:Sirikit ja:シリキット


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