HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, Princess of Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra (สมเด็จพระเจ้าพี่นางเธอ เจ้าฟ้ากัลยาณิวัฒนา กรมหลวงนราธิวาสราชนครินทร์) (6 May 1923 – 2 January 2008) was a Princess of Thailand and the elder sister of King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) and King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). She was also a direct granddaughter of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V).
Princess Galyani Vadhana was born on 6 May 1923 in London, England, the only daughter of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej of Songkla, the sixty-ninth son of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and seventh son by Queen Savang Vadhana, and Miss Sangwal Talabhat (later known as Princess Srinagarindra, The Princess Mother). She was firstly named "May" on her birth certificate and was later named Mom Chao Galyani Vadhana Mahidol by King Vajiravudh (Rama VI). The word "Vadhana" in her name came from the one of her paternal grandmother, Savang Vadhana. In 1927, she was subsequently promoted to the royal rank, a Princess of Thailand (Phra Vorawongse Ther Phra Ong Chao) by King Prajadhipok (Rama VII).
In 1944, Princess Galyani Vadhana renounced her royal order of precedence in order to marry Colonel Aram Rattanakul Serireongrit (24 August 1920 - 3 February 1982), the son of General Luang Serireongrit (Charoon Ratanakul Serireongrit), a former Army commander-in-chief around the time of World War II. They are the parents of the only daughter, Thanpuying Dasna Valaya Ratanakul Serireungriddhi (later Sorasongkram) (born in 1945 in Switzerland). This marriage ended in divorce. In 1950, when the current King ascended to the throne, he reinstated her royal order of precedence.
In 1969, The Princess then married HH Prince Varananda Dhavaj (19 August 1922 - 15 September 1990), son of Prince Chudadhuj Dharadilok, Prince of Bejraburna and Mom Ravi Kayananda. They had no children.
On the occasion of the sixth circle (72nd) birthday anniversary of Princess Galyani Vadhana on 6 May 1995, her brother, King Bhumibol gave her the noble title "Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra" (loosely translated "Princess of Narathiwat"), making her the only female member of the Chakri Royal Family in the reign of King Rama IX to have been bestowed this title. In announcing the honored title, The King said the Princess was his only elder sister who had been with him through good and bad times, since they were young. She was the only one who had won his respect and the one who always supported him with the hope of making him happy. She had represented The King to carry out various royal works and had always taken good care of their mother, which was a great relief to him.
Under the princess' royal patronage, projects included the traditional Thai arts, education, sports, social welfare, etc. She was president and honorary president of various organisations and foundations, including the Cardiac Children’s Foundation, the Princess Mother’s Charity Fund, the Autistic Foundation of Thailand. She created her own foundation for funding the studies of gifted young musicians.
She was a patron of various classical music foundations. With her trips, she always gathered important and useful information which was shown in the Royal news, giving knowledge to people. She also wrote books, poetry, and spoke French. She traveled widely within Thailand and abroad to represent the royal family and her country on missions.
At the same time in October, her brother, King Bhumibol Adulyadej was treated at Siriraj after he experienced weakness on his right side; doctors later found out through scans that he had a blood shortage to his brain. He was admitted on October 13 and discharged on November 7. After leaving Siriraj, the monarch has visited his sister at the hospital on an almost daily basis.
On December 14, the Royal Household Bureau released its 25th statement about the princess' health, saying she was feeling increasingly tired and was becoming less responsive.
Princess Galyani Vadhana liked reading and writing books since she was young. While studying Prathom 1 to Prathom 3, she read as many Thai language books as she could find. At that time, however, children’s books in Thai were rare, so she often read the newspaper. However, she remembered that she had once read a story, which she later found again in the original French while studying in Switzerland, the 1878 novel Sans Famille.
During her secondary study, especially while at Geneva, Switzerland, she read much literature. She found that reading developed her French language skills. Later, when she was a French teacher at Thammasat University, she read many books on linguistics. In addition, she also studied art, culture, archaeology, and history for many years. When she planned to visit a foreign country, she would first read many books and documents on that country.
When she was nine, she published a journal called ‘Ruaen Rom’ with her friends at Srapathum Palace, containing articles she wrote. Her mother supported her in reading and writing English. On September 10, 1932, she published a story she wrote. In addition, she wrote eleven poems about the royal family, translated three books, wrote ten tourist guide books, and an academic article.
Princess Galyani Vadhana was interested in photography, which she had learned to take not only for recalling, but also for art and academic purposes.
When she visited important places either in-house or abroad, she always took photographs of those she found interesting. Those photographs were useful for her travel writings.
Princess Galyani Vadhana learned about many fields of western art. She was interested in all types of music and drama, especially classical music from master composers. She listened to these music since she studied at Switzerland. She'd ever learned piano at home with her younger brothers, but she'd just learned for not long time because she had very little time to practise. While she did homework, she liked to listen to songs from a radio, made she knew classical music and like it for all the time.
In 2004, concerned about the lack of interest in promotion classical music in both the governmental and private sectors, Her Royal Highness established a Fund for Classical Music Promotion of which she became President. The fund supported classical music and related activities, and provided assistance to Thai musicians for studying, competitions, and concerts both in domestically and internationally. She also supported the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and the Chulalongkorn University Symphony Orchestra, and was the patron of the Bangkok Opera. Her presence in the classical music scene was ubiquitous.
Princess Galyani Vadhana was interested in education not only for university education. She realized that the primary education is very important for population quality development.
From her experience in teaching French language for a long time, she realized problem of uncontinuous French language subject for Mattayom and university education. In 1977 She found L'Association Thailandaise des Professeurs de Francais (The Association of Thai Professors Teaching French Language) to be the center for meeting in exchanging experience and improvement teaching French language in Mattayom and university classes. She took a position of the president of the association between 1977 and 1981, then she was the honorary president along her life. Her assistance to the association was in many ways, included assistance in publishing journals to distribute the modern knowledge, writing her own articles in journals, and supporting teachers to meeting in seminar, research abroad and study in higher education.
With her working, teaching and research of French language in Thailand had been developed continuously. She was conferred honorary degree of doctor in many branches, and also conferred honor from many foreign governments and international organizations, included UNESCO.
Princess Galyani Vadhana was interested in history and archaeology for a long time, because she thought these fields are the bases of other subjects, and she believed in methodology of reasoning to support ideas in history field. She had always said that her thoughts weren't correct all the time, and she would accept new data if it had reason and evidences.
During the duties, she was interested in many important places, which she then visited by herself. She also lead groups and associations to educational tours at many historic sites, and she advised fellow reporters to emphasize the information of the sites.
For visiting historical sites, she didn't receive only the information from archaeologist's narration, but she'd researched about those sites before, and asked experts deeply and all-around. The topics she asked included sites restoration and excavation, and the impacts to people nearby during the operations.
Princess Galyani Vadhana had visited abroad many times on formal and private visits. In addition to strengthening friendly relations with those countries, her visits helped spread knowledge of Thai culture and customs. Before any such visit she would carry out careful research.
After most of these visits, she collected her record notes and the information about those countries to publish books or produce in digital media for distribution.
In 1964, while the Mother Princess stayed at Phu Phing Palace, Chiang Mai, she acknowledged the destitution, especially in food and medicine, of population in the local. So she found "The Mother Princess Medical Volunteer Unit" on February 22, 1969, and persuaded doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and nurses to join the unit to go to cure the patients in remote communities. Then on May 21, 1974, the unit was registered to become "The Mother Princess Medical Volunteer Foundation", which the Mother Princess ascended the honor president.
Princess Galyani Vadhana followed her mother in the operations of the foundation since it was the unit. They together lead the volunteers to visit and cure people in rough areas. Some patients was brought into the royal aid and sent for the treatment to the center hospital of the province or in Bangkok. They'd often journeyed by helicopters because some area had not car roads. After the Princess Mother died, Princess Galyani Vadhana ascended the honor president.
In 1991, Princess Galyani Vadhana visited and stayed at Huai Nam Dang Watershed Management Unit. She found that the nearby forests were deteriorated from reclaiming for agriculture, so she had the idea to Royal Forest Department to restore the forests. Then in 1995, the Royal Forest Department announced this area to be Huai Nam Dang National Park, and built a Chalet-styled palace, which the princess named "Silver Orchids Palace, dedicated to her. She stayed there during late January and early February every year to visit nearby hill tribes. Her thought is that people and local administration organization take part to look after forest, water, wildlifes, and rare flora resources for balancing nature.