The Thai Royal Wedding
Last year, the King and Queen of Thailand celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. It provided an opportunity for some reminiscing on the part of the Thai media.
Sixty years ago, the Bureau of the Royal Household received the royal command to prepare two royal ceremonies, the Royal Wedding Ceremony on April 28, 1950 and the Royal Coronation Ceremony on May 5. The Royal Coronation Ceremony was scheduled from May 4 to 8, with May 5 as the day of the coronation, and the elevation of the royal consort to Queen.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej commanded MPs and the House Speaker to represent the Thai people in presenting the consecrated water to the royal couple. The Senate was also represented.
On Friday, April 28, 1950, it seemed all of Thailand was inspired by the first royal wedding held in the new democratic era. The local press was awash with reports on the official function and various related facts. It was mentioned that M.R. Sirikit Kitiyakara, the royal fiancée, who, since her arrival back in Bangkok, was staying at her parents’ residence, Devavesm Palace, would be dressed in light blue, the colour of her day of birth, a Friday.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in his full-dress, white uniform, arrived at Sapathum Palace and waited in the reception hall of the new wing. At the same time, M.R. Sirikit Kitiyakara was conducted by her parents to another reception hall. The bride was in a long, silk, Thai dress, in ivory, with a golden brocade skirt, wearing the sash of the Dame Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao, granted earlier on April 26. At 9.30 am, M.R. Sirikit was led by her father into an audience with the King.
There, they were presented with a marriage registration book by the Minister of Interior. The King signed his name first, followed by M.R. Sirikit; with her father, His Serene Highness Prince Nakkhatra Mangala Kitiyakara, signing his consent, as M.R. Sirikit was then a minor. Witnesses then signed their names in the book, specially produced by Khana Chang Company Limited, the cover made of yellow lambskin, embossed with the royal standard, with a red royal garuda and gold lettering, bound in brown leather. The book was made in two editions, the original one and an exact copy, both of which were signed.
Thereafter, the couple proceeded to the ceremonial room in the royal residential quarters, for an audience with the Queen Grandmother, Queen Savang Vadhana of the Fifth Reign, during the auspicious time 10.24-12.10 hr. They presented traditional tribute-paying items to the Queen Grandmother, who sprinkled consecrated water and gave them blessings in accordance with the ancient court tradition. The Queen Grandmother then anointed the foreheads of the King and his bride. The royal couple returned to the reception hall, where royals, the Prime Minister, the Senate Speaker and the Speaker of the House of Representatives formed two reception lines in waiting. King Bhumibol Adulyadej granted permission to the Royal Scribe to read the announcement instating M.R. Sirikit as Queen Sirikit. Following the announcement, the King bestowed upon his Queen the highest royal decoration, the Most Illustrious Order of the Royal House of Chakri.
After the royal wedding ceremony, royals and relatives presented gifts to the royal couple. They, in turn, gave well-wishers a souvenir, a miniature silver box inscribed with their initials on the cover.
A grand audience was later granted that afternoon, in the Phaisan Thaksin Throne Hall, with royals in the audience, and later in the Amarin Winitchai Throne Hall, with high-ranking officials and members of the diplomatic corps. Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram, the then-Prime Minister, offered felicitations on behalf of all in the grand audience, expressing their great joy on the occasion, and offering their best wishes for the royal couple’s long and prosperous lives together. A private banquet was given that evening for close relatives and members of the royal entourage, no more than 20 persons in total.
The next morning, Saturday, April 29, 1950, the King and Queen travelled by train to Klai Kangwol Palace in Hua Hin. They were greeted by loyal subjects all the way from Bangkok to Hua Hin, at the railway station, and in Hua Hin itself. Throughout their three-day sojourn, the Royal Thai Navy provided a royal guard comprising four royal warships. The royal couple returned to Bangkok for the Royal Coronation Ceremony, from May 4 to 8, 1950.
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