The History of King Prajadhipok
King Prajadhipok was the youngest son of King Phra Chula Chomklao Chaoyuhua, better known as King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V, and Queen Sri Patcharindra. King Prajadhipok was born Prince Prajadhipok Sakdidej on 8 November 1893.
In 1906, after His Royal Highness completed primary education in Thai and English as required by tradition, he continued his secondary education at Eton College in England and then at the Woolwich Royal Military Academy, where he graduated in artillery and cavalry and was appointed an honorary second lieutenant in the British Army. His Royal Highness then returned to serve in the Thai military for six years.
In 1917, Prince Prajadhipok became a monk at the Bovornivej Viharn Temple to study dharma and serve Buddhism.
Prince Prajadhipok married Princess Ramphaipannee Sawadiwas on 26 August 1918 at the Varopad Piman mansion, Bang Pa-In Summer Palace. At the occasion, Queen Sri Patcharindra ordered the building of Sukhothai Palace as a wedding present.
Succession to the Throne
On 25 February 1925, His Royal Highness underwent the royal coronation ceremony to become King Rama VII of the Chakri Dynasty and received the name, His Majesty Phra
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Poramintharamaha Prajadhipok Phra Pokklao Chaoyuhua. His Majesty did many things to benefit the nation, including establishing the Phranakorn Museum and initiating the construction of the Phra Putta Yodfa Bridge connecting Bangkok and Thonburi, patronizing the National Library. His Majesty also cancelled the Education Fee and hastened the announcement of the Primary Education Act.
His majesty King Prajadhipok was the first Thai king to present university graduates with their degrees, presiding over the commencement ceremony at Chulalongkorn University on 25 October 1930.
Granting the Constitution
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On 24 June 1932, a group called the People’s Party (Khana Ratsadorn) mounted a coup and demanded a change in the political regime. King Prajadhipok was already considering changing the regime to introduce democracy, and he did not want the Thai people to fight among themselves, so he agreed to become Thailand’s first constitutional monarch. On 10 December 1932, King Prajadhipok granted the Constitution of the Kingdom of Siam, 1932, the country’s first “permanent” constitution.
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On 2 March 1934 King Prajadhipok abdicated after nine years, three months and four days on the throne. At the time, His Majesty was already living at Knowle House, his residence in England, because of political conflicts.
After abdicating, His Majesty stayed in England until he passed away on 30 May 1941, at the age of 48. Queen Ramphaipannee organized a simple, private funeral at Golders Green in North London.
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