On January 2, 2008, the King of Thailand's sister, Princess Galyani Vadhana, died. She was 84. Her life spanned the transformation of the former exotic and mysterious Siam into the modern and distinct democracy of Thailand. She was a vivid participant and influence in most aspects of Thai society especially the arts.
Among her her lifetime achievements, she was an example for the brave Thai women who fought the poverty of Thai people alongside her brother the King Bhumibhol Adulyadej (Rama 9th). And she was an important advocate of both domestic and enhanced international education
She founded the “L’Association Thaïlandaise des Professeurs de Français.” (French teachers’ association of Thailand ) to encourage students to expand their perspective through the study of French science and literature. She also was a French conversation and literature professor for more than ten years in Chulalongkorn University and Thammasart University in Bangkok.
She often traveled abroad with teachers and students to foreign countries to study traditions and cultures. She wrote books about her travels, and translated into French a number of volumes including “The Spanish Coronation”, which comprised a series of English articles by the famous 19th century King Mongkut of Siam (Rama the 6th).The readers found that the French translation was a profound and aesthetic rendering of the original English articles.
The Princess supported Thai students in musical scholarship and the development of a symphony orchestra. On many occasions, she was an honored guest who came to open charitable shows that featured classical music and ballet. The income from these events was used to fund musical students for study abroad.
Her support for the performing arts was expansive. The last project she supported was the Thai puppet theatre “Hunlakornlek.” When she was hospitalized in December 2007; she gifted her portrait to the theatre because she thought that the company was a unique Thai performance experience. The company won the international puppet competition in 2006 in Prague. Recently, Hunlakornlek decided to perform their renowned “The Birth of the Ganesh” as a tribute to her and her good will..
Because of her efforts, a new foundation for classical music and an orchestra will be created under the guidance of the international conductor, Bundit Ungrangsee. He noted that the loss of Her Royal Highness was not only sad for Thai people but especially for musicians and artists..
In her life, Princess Galyani Vadhana was an inspiration and a vital force. She remains a treasured memory.
A small part of that memory is captured in the display below. Please enjoy it.