Modern Thai Monarchy
Ascending to the throne in 1946, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty, is the world’s longest reigning monarch. In his Oath of Accession, the King pledged to “reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people.” With these words, the King devoted his life and resources to aiding the development of the Kingdom and the improvement of the Thai people's livelihood.
As a working monarch, His Majesty has visited every province in the Kingdom, defying discomfort and inconvenience when travelling to outlying areas to do field reconnaissance and appraise local conditions by himself. Often assisted by members of the Royal Family, the King takes copious notes on these trips, whereupon he initiates action to provide assistance, working through the appropriate government agencies or sometimes using his own funds. More than 4,000 royal-initiated projects have since been launched, covering a broad range of areas, including agriculture, water resources, conservation of the environment and its natural resources, occupational promotion, public health, public welfare, and communication. While all of these are mainly aimed at raising the standard of living, particularly among farmers in rural areas, His Majesty has also concerned himself with helping alleviate the problems facing city dwellers, which include floods and traffic congestion.
In recognition of his lifelong work, His Majesty has been honoured with numerous prestigious international awards. In 2006, the King was awarded the UNDP Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of Lifetime Achievement in Human Development, by the United Nations Secretary-General. More recently in 2009, he was awarded the first World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Global Leaders Award, in recognition of his contribution to intellectual property both as an inventor and as an active proponent of intellectual property as a tool for development.
The dedication to public service exemplified by His Majesty the King is also found in the other members of the Royal Family. Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s interest in the welfare of rural people closely parallels that of the King. An area in which she has taken a particular interest is that of finding sources of supplementary income for farmers in the off-season, or when crops are destroyed by droughts or floods. Her Majesty is also at the forefront in promoting traditional Thai arts and culture.
Others in the Royal Family have also been working actively for the benefit of the country – sometimes participating in projects initiated by the King and sometimes initiating their own or serving as patrons of foundations. Their work encompasses issues relevant to people’s life – ranging from health, nutrition, education, family and prevention of narcotic abuse, to women’s right and the rights of children with special needs, as well as the promotion of scientific research and development. In doing so, all have contributed significantly to the creation of Thailand’s modern monarchy.