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The Funeral Urn of the Princess of Naradhiwas and the "Maha Savetta Chatra" or White Tiered Umbrellas

Her Royal Highness the Princess Galyani Vadhana, Princess of Naradhiwas has been accorded the highest honour for the State Funeral, as she is the only and elder sister of two Kings, who has done so much work for the benefit of the country and people.

There are 14 different funeral urns used for the different ranking royals. This particular urn is known as the Pra Gos Tong Yai, or the Great Golden Urn, built by His Majesty King Rama I in 1808. It was to be the urn that the King will used when he passes away. The urn was finished before the King dies. The King's favourite son, HRH Prince Kroma Luang Sri Suthorn Thep died soon after, so the King ordered the use of this golden urn for his beloved son. The King himself became the second Royal to use the urn. Since then, the most senior members of the Royal Family has been accorded the use of the urn, including all of the Chakri Kings, except HM King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) who died in the UK and had his Royal Cremation there. During the reign of HM King Bhumibol (Rama IX) it was said that 8 senior members has beed granted use of this most important urn, among which were HM King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII), HM Queen Rambai Barni, Rama VII's Queen and HRH Princess Sri Nagarindra, the Princess Mother. HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana has been accorded the 9th user of the Great Golden Urn.

The urn is carved from wood and covered in solid gold from another golden urn. Diamond decorations in the form of flowers and garlands were probably added later, during the reign of King Rama IV.

Royal Urn

Funeral Urn

The picture above is of the Funeral of HM Queen Rambai Barni in 1984. The setup would be similar for HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, except for the white 5-tiered umbrellas normally placed above the urn that would now be 7 (not shown in this picture), since HM the King granted the special use of 7 tiers in recognition of the hard work that the Princess had performed for Thailand and her people. In addition, she has been a tower of strength for both Kings Ananda (Rama VIII) and Bhumibol (Rama IX) since they were young.


The tiered umbrellas, or the Maha Savetta Chatra, is a symbol of Royalty, and the number of umbrellas tell of the rank of that particular Royal. The Nine-tiered umbrella is reserved for the King only. The Queen consort, and the Crown Prince have the 7-tiered umbrellas. The 5-tiered are reserved for the rest of the immediate Royal Family. The King reserves the right to elevate any member of the Royal Family to 7-tiered as he sees fit, in particular weighing by the goods and benefit that that particular member has done for the country and people. In the case of Princess Galyani Vadhana, the granting of the 7-tiered umbrellas is undoubtedly supported and cheered by the people of the kingdom. The picture to the right is the actual Great Goldern Urn and the 7-tiered white umbrella for the Princess Galyani Vadhana.
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