September 4, 2016

2729 THAILAND - Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX

2729 Bhumibol Adulyadej on the Royal Golden Chair of state
during a State Progress

Bhumibol Adulyadej is the King of Thailand, the ninth monarch of the Chakri dynasty. He is also known as Rama IX. The name Rama was adopted from the name of the Hindu god Rama, an avatar of Vishnu. Having reigned since 9 June 1946, he is the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. Since 2006, he has suffered declining health. Bhumibol is generally highly revered by the people in Thailand, but his heir Vajiralongkorn does not share the popularity of his father.

Bhumibol was born at Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States, on 5 December 1927. He was the youngest son of HRH Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, the Prince of Songkla, and his commoner wife Mom Sangwan (later HRH Princess Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother). Bhumibol came to Thailand in 1928. His father died in September 1929, and in 1933 his mother took her family to Switzerland, where he continued his education at the École nouvelle de la Suisse romande in Lausanne.

He received the baccalauréat des lettres from the Gymnase Classique Cantonal of Lausanne, and by 1945 had begun studying sciences at the University of Lausanne, when WWII ended and the family was able to return to Thailand. 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. Bhumibol succeeded his brother, but returned to Switzerland before the end of the 100-day mourning period.

Despite his interest in science and technology, he changed his major and enrolled in law and political science to prepare for his duties as head of state. His uncle, Rangsit, Prince of Chainat, was appointed Prince Regent. In Bhumibol's name, Prince Rangsit authorized a military coup that overthrew the government of Thamrongnawasawat in November 1947. The regent also signed the 1949 constitution, which returned to the monarchy many of the powers it had lost by the 1932 Revolution.

Bhumibol and Sirikit married on 28 April 1950, and have four children: Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya (born 5 April 1951 in Lausanne, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn (born 28 July 1952), Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (born 2 April 1955), and Princess Chulabhorn Walailak (born 4 July 1957). Bhumibol was crowned King of Thailand on 5 May 1950 at the Royal Palace in Bangkok. In 1950 on Coronation Day, Bhumibol's consort was made Queen (Somdej Phra Boromarajini).

In 1957, the military overthrew the government with allegations of lèse majesté, starting a new and long-lasting relationship between the monarch and military in governmental matters. A coup on 23 February 1991 returned Thailand to military dictatorship. In 1992, Bhumibol played a key role in Thailand's transition to a democratic system. In 2006 the Royal Thai Army staged a coup d'état against the elected caretaker government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

As monarch, Bhumibol enjoyed immense popularity. His most important function was to serve as a living symbol of and a focus of unity for the Thai nation. He led an active ceremonial life and, despite his limited governmental powers, on several occasions played a crucial role in mediations that either resolved or helped to avoid political crisis. National celebrations were held in Thailand in June 2006 to mark the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s ascension to the throne.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series issued on June 9, 1996, to mark the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty's Accession to the Throne (2nd Series). The second stamp is part of the series H.M. the King's 6 th Cycle Birthday Anniversary (2nd series), issued on September 9, 1999. The last stamp, depicting Rama IX, is part of a definitive set, about which I wrote here.

References
Bhumibol Adulyadej - Wikipedia

Sender 1433: Pumipat
Sent from Bangkok (Bangkok / Thailand), on 25.07.2016

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