Her  Personality

Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, Princess of Naradhiwas was the eldest and only daughter of H.R.H. Prince Mahidol of Songkla– a son of H.M. King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), and H.R.H. Princess Srinagarindra. She was the elder sister of H.M. King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII). and H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), and was the aunt of H.M. King Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua (Rama X), the present reign of Thailand.

Intelligent, well-educated, soft-spoken and kind, she led an early quiet and private life, working for a decade as a university teacher, an independent writer, a historical researcher and a traveler.

Later, over five decades, she took the humanitarian course of promoting fair and equitable access to education, sciences and culture, and became a great patroness of about 60 non-government charity organizations in a wide variety of fields. Her work was in line with the development visions of H.M. King Chulalongkorn, her 19th century reformist grandfather, but she went further by responding to the human needs and development challenges of the underprivileged communities in Thai society. In this sense, she followed in the footsteps of her parents—H.R.H. Prince Mahidol who graduated in Public Health and Medicine from Harvard, and his wife—H.R.H. Princess Srinagarindra, a graduated nurse from Siriraj Nursing School and from Simmons College in USA.

Embracing the human development concept – right to education – and its multiple dimensions, she focused on expanding people’s opportunities for education, sciences, and culture, to improve their well-being. Her work was hence complimentary to the royal policies and projects initiated by H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej who reigned from 1946 – 2016, especially in relation to Education and Sciences for Sustainable Development which were also praised by many UN organizations. Her moral courage and strength of character shone through in the course of her perseverance.

On her 72nd birthday, 1995, the King awarded her with the title “Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra” (‘Princess of Naradhiwas’), the only such designation in the reign.

During her lifetime, she was honoured by leaders and academic communities in many countries, receiving decorations, medals and honorary degrees both in Thailand and abroad. Nationally, stamps and commemorative coins were issued in her celebration, and numerous places in many parts of Thailand have been named after her.

A devout Buddhist, she regularly made donations in support of temple funds and religious activities, and accepted invitation of temples at international, national, provincial, and even at small remote community levels, to participate in their special religious events. She set up a Princess Galyani Vadhana’s Tipitaka Endowment Project, to sponsor the publication of the romanized Buddhist scripts in Pali, in 40-volume set, called The World Tipitaka Edition, for presentation as “gift of Buddhist goodwill and peace” to significant institutes around the world. The project started in 1999 by the Dhamma Society, was completed in 2004, and H.R.H. Princess Galyani Vadhana, as honorary president and patroness, led a pilgrimage flight from Bangkok to Colombo to present the inaugural edition as a gift of from H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej to the President of Sri Lanka on March 6, 2005.

On the occasion of her 84th Birthday, books and exhibitions about her life and work were produced by various organizations, and at least 6 songs were composed for her, produced and publicized by some groups of Thailand’s contemporary musical talents, many of whom received her kind encouragement and scholarships.

One song, in particular, described her as “One beautiful rainbow — a spectrum of light, though invisible to some, did shine on the world — allowing many hidden good elements to be visible.”