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InternationalThe King is dead.

November 1, 2016

On October 13, 2016, the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, died. He was the monarch (king) for seventy years. For many people in Thailand, he has been their only king.

Interestingly, Bhumibol Adulyadej, was born in Cambridge, MA on December 5, 1927. His father was studying public health at Harvard at the time. He spent most of his youth with his family in Switzerland. He learned to play jazz saxophone and played with the great American saxophonists, Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton. He was also a photographer and an excellent sailor.

When his older brother died of a gunshot wound, Bhumibol was in line to become the next monarch of Thailand. He was crowned King on May 5, 1950 in Bangkok.

Bhumibol Adulyadej was a very popular monarch. His power was limited by Thailand’s Constitution, but he helped provide stability to the many changes to the government over the years. One example of his positive influence came on May 20, 1992. Military leader, Suchinda Krprayoon, forcefully became the Prime Minister of Thailand. Chamlong Srimuang organized pro-democracy marches against Suchinda. People in the streets were fighting. The King brought the two men together and said, “The nation belongs to everyone, not one or two specific people…” These simple words with the King’s authority ended the fight.

Bhumibol Adulyadej was revered by the Thai people like a god. President Obama said, “His majesty leaves a legacy of care for the Thai people that will be cherished by future generations.” His only son, Vajiralongkorn, will become the next King.


Published November 2016

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