Ananda Mahidol Day in Thailand Date in the current year: June 9, 2024

Ananda Mahidol Day in Thailand Ananda Mahidol Day is observed in Thailand on June 9. It is an official observance that was adopted by the government of Thailand in 2015 to honor the memory of the eighth King of Siam from the Chakri dynasty, who died on June 9, 1946 at the age of 20.

Ananda Mahidol was born on September 20, 1925 to Prince Mahidol Adulyadej (song of King Rama V) and his wife Mom Sangwan. He was the first King of Siam to be born and spend his early childhood abroad: at the time of his birth, Ananda Mahidol’s parents were living in Germany and shortly after they moved to Paris, Lausanne and finally Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1928, Prince Mahidol finished his medical studies at Harward University and the family returned to Siam. The next year, Prince Mahidol died of kidney failure, leaving Ananda Mahidol fatherless at just four years old.

Following the Siamese revolution of 1932, Siam transitioned from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. Since the political situation in the country was unstable and there was a possibility that King Prajadhipok might abdicate, the royal family was concerned about Ananda Mahidol’s safety (the young prince was a likely heir to the throne because King Prajadhipok, his uncle, had no children of his own).

To keep her grandson safe, Queen Savang Vadhana suggested that Mom Sangwal and her children (Ananda Mahidol, his elder sister and his younger brother) return to Switzerland, where the children could be raised safely. King Prajadhipok finally abdicated in 1935 due to disagreements with the new government and ailing health. He didn’t name a successor to the throne, so the government, after a discussion concerning the Succession Law, named the nine-year-old Ananda Mahidol the new king.

A child king living abroad was the perfect choice for the quasi-democratic government of Siam because the country was ruled by the Regency Council and the real power belonged to Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram, who established a de facto military dictatorship and renamed the country Thailand. In 1938, the 13-year-old Ananda Mahidol visited Siam for the first time as its monarch, but he soon returned to Switzerland to complete his studies.

During World War II, Thailand was occupied by Japan. King Ananda Mahidol spent the entire duration of the war in Switzerland, and the country was ruled by Pridi Banomyong as his regent. The king returned to Thailand after the capitulation of Japan. Despite being young and inexperienced, Ananda Mahidol was popular among the Thai people. However, foreign observers suspected that his reign would be short because Ananda Mahidol didn’t want to be monarch. And they were right: on June 9, 1946, the king was found shot dead in his own bedroom.

According to the initial official announcement, the king’s death was an accident. However, in 1947, Ananda Mahidol’s secretary and two pages were arrested and charged with murder. They were found guilty and executed in 1955. The circumstances of King Ananda’s death are still a mystery that is never openly discussed in Thailand.

Ananda Mahidol Day in Thailand is observed on the king’s death anniversary. It is an official memorial day, but not a public holiday.

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