It’s Queen Sirikit’s 81st birthday today. She and King Bhumibol left hospital a few days ago and are celebrating in Hua Hin. The rest of the country is celebrating too and the place is full of posters. It’s also Thailand’s Mother’s Day and a national holiday.
Their story is like a fairy tale. On a trip to Paris Bhumibol met the outstandingly beautiful 17-year old daughter of a Siamese diplomat. He could trace his ancestry back to the early 13th century kingdom of Sukhotai. Sirikit was studying classical music, he loved jazz and they spoke French together.
In October 1948 Bhumibol was involved in a bad pile up and she looked after him. They got engaged in July 1949 and married in 1950.
More details in our forthcoming book on Bangkok.
There are more photographs on www.jonathaninbali.com