King Prajadhipok Day in Thailand Date in the current year: May 30, 2024

King Prajadhipok Day in Thailand King Prajadhipok Day is a Thai observance that was established in 2002. It commemorates the death anniversary of the seventh king of the Chakri dynasty, best remembered for being the last absolute monarch and the first constitutional monarch of Siam. Although King Prajadhipok Day is not a public holiday, it is marked with an official ceremony.

Prajadhipok was born on November 8, 1893, to King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and Queen Saovabha Phongsri. He was the youngest of the couple’s nine children, the 33rd and youngest son of Chulalongkorn, and the king’s second-youngest child overall (of a total of 77).

Since Prajadhipok was unlikely to succeed to the throne, he chose to pursue a career in the military. He was educated in England, first in Eton College and then in the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.

In 1910, King Chulalongkorn died, and Prajadhipok’s elder brother, Crown Prince Vajiravudh, became King of Siam as Rama V. Prince Prajadhipok was by then commissioned in both the Royal Siamese Army and the British Army. Following the outbreak of World War I, King Vajiravudh announced Siam’s neutrality and demanded that Prajadhipok resign his British commission and return home.

Upon his return to Siam, Prakadhipok continued his military career, becoming a high-ranking official. He temporarily put it on hold in 1917 to be ordained as a monk at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which was customary for Buddhist Siamese men, including members of the royal family.

Following his tenure as a monk and the end of war, Prajadhipok resumed his military career and married Rambhai Barni, his cousin and childhood friend. The couple resided at Sukhotai Palace and enjoyed a quiet life until Prajhadipok’s elder brothers began to die and he found himself rising in succession to the throne. King Vajiravudh died in 1925, leaving no male issue, and Prajadhipok became King Rama VII at age 32.

Being the youngest son, Prajadhipok didn’t expect to ever succeed to the throne and wasn’t quite prepared for his new responsibilities. In addition, the country was in a serious financial crisis caused by war and Vajiravudh’s mistakes as a king. Nevertheless, he showed himself as an intelligent, modest and diplomatic ruler who was eager to learn.

From the very first days of his reign, Prajadhipok realized that the country needed political change in order to preserve the monarchy. He began to make the first steps towards a constitutional monarchy, but the Supreme Council of State consisting of experienced senior princes felt that Siam wasn’t ready for this.

As a result, Thailand became a constitutional monarchy after the 1932 bloodless coup launched by the Khana Ratsadon party. After the revolution, members of the Khana Ratsadon occupied all the key posts in the new government and requested that Prajadhipok become a constitutional monarch. He eagerly agreed, but the king’s relations with the party deteriorated quickly. In 1935, Pradjadhipok abdicated and moved to England, where he spend the rest of his life with his wife.

Pradjadhipok died from heart failure on May 30, 1941. His death anniversary is observed in Thailand as King Prajadhipok Day.

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King Prajadhipok Day in Thailand, holidays in Thailand, observances in Thailand, King Rama VII, king of Thailand