Chudadhuj Crest
Prince Chudadhuj
Prince Chudadhuj

Below: Princess Bunchiradara

Princess Bunchiradara

His Royal Highness Prince Chudadhuj Dharadilok, Prince of Bejraburna, was born on 5 July 1892 at Chudadhuj Throne Hall, Srichang Island, Thailand. The prince was the 72nd child of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn and the 8th child of Her Majesty Queen Sri Bajarindra.

Prince Chudadhuj received his education within the palace walls as all royal princes of Siam did. Afterwards, he read literature at Cambridge University in England. He was known for his artistic talents, and spoke English and French fluently. His love was in music, and he played the piano, violin and viola well.  He was also the first Thai to master the art of playing the harp.

After retuning to Siam, he became principal at the Poh Chang Art School in Bangkok. At the same time, he was also a Member of the Privy Council to King Rama VI, and a professor at Chulalongkorn University. With his tremendous achievements in the arts arena, he is viewed by the Thais as the "Father of Thai Arts and Crafts," as well the prince who introduced the harp to Siam.

His Royal Highness married Her Serene Highness Mom Chao Bunchiradara (Chumbala) Chudadhuj, daughter of His Royal Highness Prince Chumbala Sombhoj, the Prince (Kromma Luang) Siddhi Prasong, a son of King Rama IV, on 25 August 1922. The Prince had two children, first by Mom La-or Sirisambhand, and secondly, by Mom Ravi Kaiyanonta, namely:

  1. Her Highness Princess Sudasiri Sobha, born 16 December 1921.  
  2. His Highness Prince Varananda Dhavaj, born 17 August 1922.  

Prince Chudadhuj was given a lage land on the intersection of Rajdamri Road and Rama I Road, on which he built his palace and named it Bejrabura, pronounced Petchaboon, like a province of Siam. This piece of land was next to the land belonging to HRH Prince Mahidol of Songkla, King Bhumibol's late father, with one part of the in-between land belonging to Wat Sra Patum.

His Royal Highness Prince Chudadhuj died on 8 July 1923, at a tender age of 31.

After the prince's death, his consort lived on at the Bejraburna Palace. Her step daughter was sent to the Grand Palace by King Rama VI to be brought up by Princess Busban Buapan. She came to live at her father's palace after her marriage to HSH Prince Suvinit Kitiyakara.

Princess Bunchiradara died on 19 March 1980, aged 83 years.


Prince Varananda

Above: Prince Varananda at right, with HM King Prajadhipok

Prince Varananda Dhavaj

Prince Varananda Dhavaj was a bon vivant, and his good looks and perfect manners brought many admirers. The prince first married Pamela Smee, an English lady, and had two children:

  1. Mom Rajawongse Dilok Varananda
  2. Mom Rajawongse Dara (Varananda) Park

Prince Varananda issued his own name as the surname of his children. The prince married secondly Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, elder sister of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, on 24 September 1969, but had no issues.

During the war, Prince Varananda was an airline pilot for the British Airforce, and was active as a member of the Free Thai Movement, a Thai undergraound resistance movement against imperial Japan during the Second World War. He parachuted into Thailand to help with the eradication of the Japanese forces occupying Thailand at the time. With the end of World War II, also saw the end of Japanese occupation of Thailand.

After the war, Prince Varananda set up the first private airline in Thailand and named it Air Siam, in 1965. The airline was quite a success, winning important routes over Thailand's national airline. The airline closed down in 1976 from the pressure from the decree issued by the Thai government of having only one airline representing Thailand, and pressured the closure of Air Siam in 1976, as well as mounting high debts. With his love of flying, the prince then became a pilot for Thai International Airlines.

Prince Varananda relocated to England for a while, before returning to Thailand in late 1980s due to illness. The prince died on 14 September 1990 at his sister's home. He was 68 years old.

Tamnak Prathom

Above: Prathom Villa, once the residence of the prince within the Bejraburna Palace, not relocated to Nonthaburi

Bejraburna Palace

His Majesty King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) gave this land to his younger brother and his decendants. But, during the political turmoil of Siam, ending the absolute monarchy in the process, the new governent confiscated all royal lands, including Bejrabura. At a later date, another governent returned these lands, but instead of returning to the individual owners, the lands were group together and was given to the Crown Property.

Princess Bunchiradara was allowed to continue living at the palace. After her death, the land reverted back to the Crown Property. As it was "wrongly" given to the Crown Property, the Crown decided to pay an amount to "rightfully" acquire the land. After its return, Princess Sudasiri Sobha got the royal permission to relocate the villas within the Bejraburna Palace ground to a new location in Nonthaburi, including Tamnak Prathom where her late father lived. It is now a private museum belonging to her daughter, and is opened to the public on special occasions. As for the palace land, it has sinced been turned into the World Trade Center in Bangkok, which is now the Central World and Centara Hotel.