80 Facts About Bhumibol


Bhumibol was highly revered by the people in Thailand – some saw him as close to divine.

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Bhumibol's cremation was held on 26 October 2017 at the royal crematorium at Sanam Luang.

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Bhumibol was born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States, on 5 December 1927.

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Bhumibol was the youngest son of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, the Prince of Songkla, and his commoner wife Mom Sangwan.

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Bhumibol's father was enrolled in the public health program at Harvard University, which is why Bhumibol was the only monarch to be born in the US.

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Bhumibol had an older sister, Princess Galyani Vadhana, and an older brother, Prince Ananda Mahidol.

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Bhumibol came to Thailand in 1928, after his father obtained a certificate from Harvard.

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Bhumibol's father died of kidney failure in September 1929, when Bhumibol was less than two years old.

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Bhumibol briefly attended Mater Dei school in Bangkok, but in 1933 his mother took her family to Switzerland, where he continued his education at the Ecole nouvelle de la Suisse romande in Lausanne.

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In 1934 Bhumibol was given his first camera, which ignited his lifelong enthusiasm for photography.

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In 1942, Bhumibol became a jazz enthusiast, and started to play the saxophone, a passion that he kept throughout his life.

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Bhumibol received the baccalaureat des lettres from the Gymnase Classique Cantonal de Lausanne, and by 1945 had begun studying sciences at the University of Lausanne, when World War II ended and the family was able to return to Thailand.

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Bhumibol ascended the throne following the death by gunshot wound of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, on 9 June 1946, under circumstances that remain unclear.

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Bhumibol succeeded his brother, but returned to Switzerland before the end of the 100-day mourning period.

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In December 1946, the Siamese government allocated several hundred thousand dollars for the ceremonial cremation of the remains of the late King Ananda, a necessary preliminary to the coronation of Bhumibol who was required by religious custom to light the funeral pyre.

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Bhumibol was then 15 years old and training to be a concert pianist.

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Bhumibol injured his back, suffered paralysis in half of his face and incurred cuts on his face that cost him the sight of his right eye.

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Bhumibol met his mother, who asked her to continue her studies nearby so that Bhumibol could get to know her better.

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Bhumibol selected for her a boarding school in Lausanne, Riante Rive.

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On 9 June 2006, Bhumibol celebrated his 60th anniversary as the King of Thailand, becoming the longest reigning monarch in Thai history.

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Bhumibol was ordained by the Supreme Patriarch on 22 October 1956 at the Royal Chapel of the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace.

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Bhumibol was later appointed Queen Regent in recognition of this.

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Bhumibol invited public criticism in a 2005 speech, but the lese majeste laws have not been revoked by the Thai parliament yet.

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Bhumibol advised the field marshal to resign to avoid a coup.

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Bhumibol issued a proclamation appointing Sarit as "military defender of the capital" without anyone countersigning the proclamation.

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Bhumibol attended public ceremonies, toured the provinces and patronised development projects, he visited the United States in June 1960, addressing Congress, and many countries in Europe, including a visit to Rome, hosted by PM Giovanni Gronchi, in September 1960.

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Bhumibol's birthday was declared the national day, replacing the previous national day, the anniversary of the Siamese revolution of 1932.

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When police attacked and killed dozens of students, sparking protest riots, Bhumibol announced general Thanom's resignation and departure from Thailand.

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Bhumibol distanced himself from the Thai military after Thanom's fall.

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Finally, Bhumibol provoked outrage among students and legal groups by inviting general Thanom back into the country.

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Bhumibol chose Thanin as the most suitable premier, leading student protesters to flee to join the communists in the jungle.

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The coups led many to believe that Bhumibol had misjudged Thai society and that his credibility as an impartial mediator between various political and military factions had been compromised.

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In 1992, Bhumibol played a key role in Thailand's transition to a democratic system.

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Bhumibol summoned Suchinda and the leader of the pro-democracy movement, retired Major General Chamlong Srimuang, to a televised audience, and urged them to find a peaceful resolution.

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Bhumibol then signed Suchinda's amnesty decree that applied to both side of a conflict, with the reason to protect security and unity of the country.

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Weeks before the April 2006 legislative election, the Democrat Party-led opposition and the People's Alliance for Democracy petitioned Bhumibol to appoint a replacement prime minister and cabinet.

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On 20 July, Bhumibol signed a royal decree endorsing new House elections for 15 October 2006.

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On 20 April 2009, Thaksin claimed in an interview with the Financial Times that Bhumibol had been briefed by Privy Councillors Prem Tinsulanonda and Surayud Chulanont about their plans to stage the 2006 coup.

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Bhumibol claimed that General Panlop Pinmanee, a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, had told him of the briefing.

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On 24 May 2007, about a week before the scheduled verdict, Bhumibol gave a rare speech to the Supreme Administrative Court.

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On 24 May 2014, the National Council for Peace and Order said Bhumibol had acknowledged the coup, but stopped short of describing the response as an endorsement.

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However, on 26 May 2014 Bhumibol formally appointed General Prayut to run the country.

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Serhat Uenaldi said that Bhumibol helped kill off democracy since last 2006 coup by endorsed a military coup against the popular Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

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Bhumibol suffered from lumbar spinal stenosis, and received a microsurgical decompression for the condition in July 2006.

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Bhumibol was admitted to the hospital in October 2007 and diagnosed with a blood shortage to his brain.

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Bhumibol received treatment for various ailments including heart problems and was released after three weeks.

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Bhumibol was again admitted to Siriraj Hospital in September 2009, apparently suffering from flu and pneumonia.

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Bhumibol was diagnosed with diverticulitis in hospital in November 2011, and was treated for the condition in January 2012.

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Bhumibol suffered minute subdural bleeding in the left frontal area of his brain for which he was treated in July 2012.

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Bhumibol left the hospital in July 2013, and travelled to Klai Kangwon Palace at Hua Hin on 2 August 2013, but returned intermittently in the following years, most recently on 1 June 2015.

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Bhumibol was too ill to appear for the public celebration of his birthday on 5 December 2015, but made a televised appearance on 14 December, his first in several months.

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On 1 October 2016, the palace released a bulletin stating that after recovering from a fever, King Bhumibol underwent tests that revealed a blood infection and an X-ray found inflammation on his left lung, along with water in his lungs.

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Bhumibol had been in kidney failure for some time and received dialysis.

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King Bhumibol Adulyadej died in Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand on 13 October 2016, at 15:52 local time, at the age of 88, as announced by the royal palace later that day.

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Bhumibol retained enormous powers, partly because of his immense popularity and partly because his powers – although clearly defined in the Thai constitution – were often subject to conflicting interpretations.

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In 1954, Bhumibol vetoed parliamentary-approved land reform legislation twice before consenting to sign it.

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Bhumibol had the constitutional prerogative to pardon criminals, although there are several criteria for receiving a pardon, including age and remaining sentence.

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Bhumibol noted how, in comparison to the Constitutional Court's 2001 acquittal of Thaksin, the judiciary was a much more important part of the "network" than it was in the past.

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Bhumibol's popularity was demonstrated following the 2003 Phnom Penh riots in Cambodia, when hundreds of Thai protesters, enraged by rumors that Cambodian rioters had stomped on photographs of Bhumibol, gathered outside the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok.

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Bhumibol was involved in many social and economic development projects.

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Bhumibol kept a carbine, a Sten gun and two automatic pistols in his bedroom, and he and his elder brother, King Ananda Mahidol, often used the gardens of the palace for target practice.

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Bhumibol was an accomplished jazz saxophone player and composer, playing Dixieland and New Orleans jazz, and the clarinet, trumpet, guitar, and piano.

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Bhumibol initially focused on classical music exclusively for two years but eventually switched to jazz since it allowed him to improvise more freely.

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Bhumibol continued to compose even during his reign following his coronation in 1946.

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Bhumibol performed with Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, Lionel Hampton, and Benny Carter.

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Bhumibol initially received general music training privately while he was studying in Switzerland, but his older brother, then King Ananda Mahidol, who had bought a saxophone, sent Bhumibol in his place.

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On his permanent return to Thailand in 1950, Bhumibol started a jazz band, Lay Kram, whom he performed with on a radio station he started at his palace.

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Bhumibol performed with his band at Thai universities, composing anthems for the universities of Chulalongkorn, Thammasat, and Kasetsart.

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Bhumibol performed with Benny Goodman at the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall, in 1956, and later played at Goodman's home in New York in 1960.

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Bhumibol still played music with his Au Sau Wan Suk Band in later years, but was rarely heard in public.

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In 1964, Bhumibol became the 23rd person to receive the Certificate of Bestowal of Honorary Membership on behalf of Vienna's University of Music and Performing Arts.

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Bhumibol was the first Asian in both cases to be honored as such.

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Bhumibol's influence is widely regarded as one reason why Thailand, and Bangkok in particular, has for decades had a strong jazz and improvised music "scene" relative to other Asian nations.

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Bhumibol won a gold medal for sailing in the Fourth Southeast Asian Peninsular Games in 1967, together with Princess Ubol Ratana whom he tied for points.

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On 19 April 1966, Bhumibol sailed the Gulf of Thailand from Hua Hin to Toey Ngam Harbour in Sattahip, covering 60 nautical miles in a 17-hour journey on the "Vega 1", an OK Class dinghy he built.

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Bhumibol produced several small sailboat designs in the International Enterprise, OK, and Moth classes.

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Bhumibol was a radio amateur with the call sign HS1A.

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Bhumibol was the patron of the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand.

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Bhumibol's parents stripped her of her royal title and banished her from the court, not returning to Thailand for nearly 8 years.

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Bhumibol's title is often translated by the English-language press as "Crown Princess", although her official English-language title is simply "Princess".

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