The king of Thailand, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej, passed away peacefully on October 13 after some 70 years on the throne, making him the world’ longest-reigning monarch at the time of his death.
Beloved as a father figure to Thais everywhere, many of whom had known no other monarch in their lifetimes, His Majesty was an inspirational and wise visionary and leader. As well as leading his country as constitutional monarch, steering it through some turbulent political times, His Majesty also tirelessly worked to better the lives of his subjects.
Born on December 5, 1927, His Majesty was the ninth king in the Chakri Dynasty and was married to Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara in 1950—just one week before the then-prince was crowned King Bhumipol Adulyadej and his wife became Queen Sirikit.
From then onwards, as well as becoming a popular figure in society circles, and in particular playing his beloved jazz music with a succession of greats, His Majesty also worked hard to improve the lives of the Thai people themselves.
He was, for example, the only monarch to hold patents: for wastewater management and also for rainmaking. He also received government support for royal projects such as irrigation developments to help farmers during dry periods and he developed the “Sufficiency Economy” model with the aim of making Thai society self-sufficient.
In later years, His Majesty suffered declining health yet did not slow down in his work for the good of the country, appearing annually on his birthday to adoring crowds until relatively recently. A humble man not afraid of literally getting his hands dirty on field trips upcountry, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej was an inspiration to millions and will be sorely missed.
Photo credit: The Forum