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.I visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok a while back, and at the entrance hall of the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall, I noticed the pictures of past Kings and Queens but one. This portrait stood out from the rest with its strong red colour and an unfamiliar face. After some research, the person-in-point turns out to be HRH Prince Bhanurangsri Sawangvongse, son of HM King Monkut (Rama IV) and Queen Dhebsirindra, and youngest and much loved brother of HM King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). I guess that HM King Rama V had this portrait of his favourite brother painted and put in the hall of the Throne Hall.

The details in the painting are excellent. For example, the gold-thread coat worn by immediate members of the royal family is quite magnificent. (The coat is laid out on the table at left) The grand red top with full regalia is an adaptation of western style military outfit, but worn over a "Pa Muang" or "Jongkrabane," a long silk cloth traditionally worn instead of trousers. The face is beautifully painted, giving the perfect expression of grandness of the princes of Siam back then. The only thing wrong in this painting is the left foot of HRH, which seems to be out of sinc with the whole body. This painting stood in my mind the whole time I was finding out who it was.

The prince was the father of Siam's greatest race car driver, Prince Birabongse Bhanudej, or Prince Bira.


The Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall