HRH PRINCESS GALYANI VADHANA
The older sister of the late King Rama IX (1927-2016), Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra (here after Princess of Naradhiwas) was the first daughter of Somdej Chao Fa Mahidol Adulyadej Krom Luang Songkla Nagarindra and Somdej Phra Srinagarindra Boromarajajonani, the Princess Mother. Princess of Naradhiwas was born on Sunday May 6, 1923 in London, United Kingdom. On her seventy-second birthday on May 6, 1995, King Rama IX granted his older sister the title Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra (Princess of Naradhiwas).
Her Royal Highness Princess of Naradhiwas obtained kindergarten education at Park School in Boston in the United States between 1926-1928, and she continued elementary school at Rajini School in Thailand, until grade three. She then pursued her schooling at Miremont School and high school education at a women’s academy in Lucerne in 1935. Afterward, she attended an international coeducation boarding school in Geneva. In 1938, she received the top examination score at her high school and the third highest score in Switzerland. After high school, in 1942, Her Royal Highness pursued a bachelor’s degree in the Faculty of Science at Lucerne University, where she majored in chemistry. She also studied social sciences and education and learned many Western arts and humanities subjects, in particular, classical music.
Determined to do good for the nation, Her Royal Highness and her family held dear the following motto: “In our family, duty isn’t something to mull. It is a natural habit. The first thing we teach is: What can we do for Thailand?” In the eighty-four years of her life, the Princess devoted herself to propeling national prosperity. Beginning in 1950, she started working as a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, and many other institutions.
She also frequently followed the Princess Mother to visit citizens, during which she brought along a team of volunteer physicians to care for the sick in remote areas. When the Mother Princess passed, Her Royal Highness continued her mother’s commitment to public charity by creating and leading various non-profits, sixty-three in total--all for the benefits and bliss of Thai people.
Moreover, Her Royal Highness maintained much faith in Buddhism. She agreed to serve as Director of Sri Buddha Gaya Pagoda Construction Project in Honor of King Rama IX’s Diamond Jubilee, at the board of directors’ request--and afterward, kindly placed the Forest Monastery under her patronage on June 12, 2007, bringing much joy to the sangha (monks) and Buddhist community.
On June 15, 2007, Princess of Naradhiwas experienced discomfort in her stomach; thus, she obtained care at Chalermprakiat Building Siriraj Hospital. Upon performing an x-ray exam, the medical team discovered that Her Royal Highness had cancer. She passed away at 2:45 AM on Wednesday January 2, 2008 at age eighty-four.
She is survived by her daughter, Than Phu Ying Dhasanawalaya Sornsongkram, and grandson: Captain Jitat Sornsongkram, the son of Than Phu Ying Dhasanawalaya and Mr. Sinthu Sornsongkram. After her passing, King Rama IX granted the Princess a superior royal rank, as declared in the following paraphrased proclamation:
His Majesty King Bubhimol Adulyadej … declares the passing of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra on 2 January 2008. She was a respected sister who provided him much assistance and who had been a benefactor of the nation. Her passing caused lament and conjured fond memories about her contributions to the country. Her Royal Highness was a source of pride for the royal family. It is, therefore, proper for her to be granted high honor as a way to praise her status in accordance with ancient tradition. Therefore, a royal declaration is issued: Officials shall provide a seven-tier royal umbrella above her funeral urn to recognize her prestige. Announced on 9 January 2008, the sixty-third year of the current reign.