Soravij Bhirom Bhakdi presents a one-page essay,
20 September
Yearly Gathering of the Descendants of King Chulalongkorn

Her late Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, Princess of Naradhiwas, always felt akin to her extended relatives, the descendants of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). As there were numerous members of the descending families, she chose the birthday of King Chulalongkorn, which coincidentally was the same as her late brother's, King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII), as the yearly family gathering day. She also chose the venue to be the then much neglected Royal Cemetery at Wat Rajabopit Sathit Maha simaram, a Royal Temple of King Prajadhipok (Rama VII), built by King Chulalongkorn. On her initiation, she was able to have a day of merit making for the dead members of the family, a rebeautified environment of the Royal Cemetery, and a family gathering day ending with a lunchoen for all attending members. The princess was also able to catch up on the news of each family and see many members who she did not have a chance to meet on a regular basis. She also set up the Chulalongkorn Rajsantatiwongse Foundation, to help with the upkeep of the cemetery.

It was certainly always a happy and colourful day, beginning with the gatherings at 10am at the Royal Temple of Wat Rajabopit, a beautiful mix of Thai and Western architecture. The merit making ceremony at the temple, with the monks chanting in old sanskrit, sometimes with Royal chants of old, always bring back flashes of days gone by.

Merit Making Ceremony

The Merit Making Ceremony

The Main Hall of Wat Rajbopit

20 September 2011

The chanting usually ends before 11, and everyone then visit their family's mausoleum, as well as others, usually the ones that a person is closed to, or once there were some kind of connections between members of the families. It was also a chance to reflect about their own family history, the teachings of the elders, as well as a time of peace and quiet in an ever more busy lives we all lead. With the passing away of Princess Galyani in 2008, there has been many different members of the family preciding over the ceremony, including at one time Her Royal Highness Princess Somsawali, herself a descendant of the Royal House of Kitiyakara. Princess Galyani's ashes were also intered at the Rangsri Vadhana stupa, the "home" of the late Queen Sri Savarindhira, King Bhumibol's grandmother, and her descendants, including the present king's late parents.

Their Majesties the King and Queen performed the interment ceremony of the ashes of Princess Galyani Vadhana at the Rangsri Vadhana Mausoleum at Wat Rajabopit, 19 November 2008.
Rangsri Vadhana

The year 2011 has been a quiet one, with fewer than 50 members attending, and with no royal patronage by a member of the Royal Family. Nevertheless, the gatherings will go on, as many want the wishes of Princess Galyani to be continued. It is still a chance for many distant relatives to meet up, which usually ends with a luncheon at a nearby restaurant. The Serene Highnesses still turn out in full force, but it is time that the younger descendants start taking an active role, as the continuation of the family gatherings is much needed to keep alive the memories of the different Royal Houses of Siam.


The Royal Cemetery at Wat Rajabopit Sathit Maha Simaram
Royal Cemetery Map
Above is the area map of Wat Rajabopit, with the Royal Cemetery on the left side of the map. The mausoleum for the different descendants of King Chulalongkorn are as follows:
Chao Chom Manda Sae & family
"Pra Vihara Noi" housing the Royal Houses of Abhakara and Suriyong
HRH Princess Or-ong Akyupa
"Haim Memorial" for Chao Chom Manda Haim of the Amatayakul Family and children
Queen Sunandha and children Memorial
"3 Spires" housing the Royal Houses of Yugala
Chao Chom Manda Yoi and daughter
"Rangsri Vadhana" for Queen Sri Savarindhira and family, including the Royal House of Mahidol
84th daughter memorial
"Saovabha Memorial" for The Queen Regent Sri Bajarindra and family, the Royal Houses of Chakrabongse and Chudadhuj
HRH Prince Isariyabhorn
"Iam Memorial B.E. 2495" for Chao Chom Manda Iam
The Royal House of Rabibadhana
Chao Chom Sae
"Erb Memorial B.E. 2487" for Chao Chom Erb
"Sarira Nithan" for Chao Chom Manda Prom and children
HRH Princess Lavad Vora-ong
"Sukumal Naruemitr Memorial" for Queen Sukhumala Marasri and her family, the Royal House of Paribatra
Chao Chom Manda Kae and daughter
Chao Dara Rasmi and daughter
HRH Prince Komol Saowamal
Chao Chom Manda Chandra and daughter
The Royal House of Rangsit
"Orn Memorial B.E. 2476" for Chao Chom Manda Orn and daughter
The Royal House of Pravitra
"Chatrachai Memorial B.E. 2480" for the Royal House of Chatrachai
Chao Chom Arb
Chao Chom Manda Sud
Chao Chom Manda Saeng and daughter
Chao Chom Manda Ruen and daughter
The Royal House of Penbhat
Chao Chom Manda Chum and daughter
The Royal House of Kitiyakara
Saovapa Memorial
Pravitra Memorial
Inside the Saovabha Memorial (11)
Royal House of Pravitra Memorial (26)
24 September 2011