Kings of Thailand. My Family Tree. Connected.
I am related, to the King of Thailand. Yes, that makes me Semi-Royal. Personally, I don’t receive that sort of information everyday. Before I headed to Bangkok recently, my mother gave me a call. The usual motherly advice, is what I suspected. “Stay safe”. “Make sure you phone or at least email”. “You’re too old to explore abandoned buildings filled with wild dogs”. This time around, Mum wasn’t dispensing advice. It was a simple request, with mind-blowing repercussions. “When you’re in Bangkok, look for your Great Grandfathers grave-site”. Huh? I was confused. Despite my unnatural passion for spicy hot Papaya Salad (Som Tam), the overwhelming feeling of being home when I’m in Bangkok, and my attraction to small displacement motorcycles, I don’t have the slightest bit of Thai DNA in me.
My Great Grandfather, Captain Harry Reginald Day, was a dentist from Fremantle, a port-side town in Western Australia. I’m not sure at this point why a Dentist had the title “Captain”. Maybe he was a retired Captain. Maybe he had a way with the ladies, and was nicknamed “Captain Bachelor”, like a good friend of mine. Either way, the sad part of the story is that in 1921, Captain Harry died whilst visiting his brother, Lieutenant Colonel Leonard D. Day, in Bangkok. Details about his death are not clear, but he may have drowned. As a result, Captain Harry was buried in Bangkok.
Leonard’s Royal Wedding. The King of Thailand may have been in attendance.
Unlike Harry, Leonard had the title” Lieutenant Colonel” (Lt. Col) for a very good reason. Leonard was a high ranking member of the Siam Police Force, in Bangkok. Leonard also had the good fortune of being married to a Thai Princess named “Princess Tham”, according to my mother (she’s never wrong, except when she said “you always like to take shortcuts in life”, she should have said “you nearly always like to take shortcuts in life”.) Lt. Col. Leonard and Princess Tham had four daughters.
During my last trip to Bangkok, I searched for the Thai grave-site of Captain Harry the Dentist, my great-grandfather. I had a month to kill, and thought it fairly important that I establish my semi-royal credentials. He was buried in the grounds of Christ Church, on Convent Road in Bangkok. Unfortunately on the day I visited, nobody was present who could speak English. And, given that my Thai language skills get about as far as “Sawadee Krap” (hello), and “Som Tam, SPICY” (papaya salad, SPICY), it was very difficult to communicate with the one security officer/grounds-keeper that was at Christ Church that day. I couldn’t find the grave. Nobody else was there to give me any more information. I will have to go back. My guess is that due to space constraints, and that Harry died 90 years ago, the graves are not permanent fixtures and the marker to his life has now been lost.
Research on the Kings of Thailand continues.
At the very worst, being related to Thai Royalty should get me a decent Papaya Salad. If anyone can point me in any directions that may help, please do. My Grandfather passed away some time ago, and the knowledge was not passed through the family. During my childhood, I clearly remember ‘Pa mentioning “Siam” with a glint in his eye. I should have paid more attention, but, “Siam” was just another one of Grandpa’s old-timey words or phrases I didn’t understand, like “telegraph”, “betwixt”, or “YOU SIR, ARE A BOUNDER, AND A CAD!”.
To finish off, I have narrowed it down, there are two former Kings of Thailand that I am more than likely related to. These are the Thai Kings that are the most likely candidates to be Princess Tham’s father.
Can you help?
Suspect “A” : Thai King Rama V.
Thai King Rama V was born in 1853, and died in 1910. Given that my Great Grandfather Captain Harry the Dentist visited Bangkok in 1921, the timing is about right that King Rama V had a daughter of an age that Lt. Col Leonard could marry. Interestingly, King Rama V (known as “King Chulalongkorn”) was the first Siamese King to send the Royal Princes to Europe to be educated. Thai King Rama V is considered one of the greatest Kings of all time. His reign was characterized by the modernization of Siam. He sounds like a classy guy to have in my family tree, especially with that cool moustache.
Suspect “B” : Thai King Rama VI.
Thai King Rama VI, known as King Vajiravudh, was born in 1881, and died in 1925. His reign was characterized by Siam’s movement further towards democracy and minimal participation in World War I. Nice. King Rama VI would also make a fine addition to my family tree.
Notes about the Kings of Thailand story:
The Photo of Christ Church was taken by Phillipa, the better looking half of Yomadic.com. You’ll find more out about her, sooner or later.
As more information comes to hand, updates will be made.
This page is tagged Bangkok, Christ, Church, Convent, family, King, Kings, Rama, Thailand, tree, V, VI