King's sister dies
Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, the beloved sister of His Majesty the King, has died after a length illness at Siriraj Hospital, the Royal Houselhold Bureau has announced. The princess passed away at 02:54 Wednesday morning. She was 84.
She had been receiving treatment for abdominal cancer at Siriraj hospital since mid-June.
Just hours earlier, the 37th statment of the Royal Household Bureau has said, the kidney function of the princess had diminished and the Princess had developed a blood infection.
Royal physicians gave her antibiotics for the infection and tried to maintain all of her bodily systems, the statement said.
His Majesty the King, accompanied by HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Royal Consort and their son, visited the Princess at the hospital about 6pm yesterday.
In his New Year address broadcast last night His Majesty thanked well-wishers who showed their heart-felt concern for his elder sister.
People of all walks of life had turned up at the hospital to sign books wishing the Princess well.
Following is a biography of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana.
Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana was born May 6, 1923, in London, England, as Her Serene Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, the only daughter born to Their Royal Highnesses the Prince Father and the Princess Mother.
On her sixth-cycle birthday in 1995, His Majesty the King performed an investiture ceremony, appointing her as Krom Luang, in accordance with ancient tradition, for the first time in the present reign, as Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra. In former days, senior royals were appointed to rule major cities and regions in the name of the king.
The Princess represented His Majesty the King at various functions, and dutifully carries on the noble works initiated by the late Princess Mother.
She paid close attention to all of the projects under her royal patronage, which were extensive and varied, mostly in education, sports, social welfare, medicine, and public health.
As a keen educator, Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana realised the importance of basic education, at pre-school and primary levels, for the improvement of the people’s quality of life.
During her trips in the company of the late Princess Mother to remote areas of the country, she took on the task of experimenting with educational tools and toys developed by the Association of University Women Foundation, so that effective educational media for elementary students nationwide could be developed.
The Princess also took up a guest lecturer post with various local universities, focusing on foreign languages and linguistics, especially French. She also sought new methods and theories to improve the teaching of language, and frequently gave advice to teachers of language and literature.
The Princess founded the Association of Teachers of French in Thailand, aimed at improving teaching methods and promoting research into language, art, and culture at all levels and in all disciplines. The Princess served as President of the Association from 1977 to 1981, and was the Honourary President.
Her Royal Highness was a staunch supporter of Thai youth participation in academic Olympiads, in both science and mathematics. She granted the use of her personal funds and the funds from the Princess Mother’s Charity Fund. She also followed up closely on events held in various parts of the world, giving encouragement and constant support.
She also supported several sporting activities for youth.
Continuing with the good works of her royal parents, the Princess accepted under her royal patronage foundations related to social welfare, and public health. She served as Vice President of the Princess Mother’s Charity Fund, Honorary President of the Princess Mother’s Mobile Doctors Foundation, and succeeded the Princess Mother as President of the Siriraj Foundation.
There are other foundations that were also under her royal patronage:
* Cardiac Children’s Foundation, to help cardiac children from poor families, affording them care and treatment by specialists;
* The Princess Mother’s Prosthesis Foundation, set up at the initiative of the late Princess Mother and Princess Galyani Vadhana, to provide artificial limbs for needy amputees. Inexpensive prostheses are manufactured for the purpose;
* Autistic Foundation, set up by the Princess, to take care of autistic children, enabling them to study with other children. Some have even managed to graduate from university;
* The Princess Mother’s Thanyarak Foundation, to create awareness and understanding of breast cancer, “than” being a formal word for “breast.” A Thanyarak Center was set up at Siriraj Hospital as a full-cycle breast cancer center, and
* The Princess Mother’s Mobile Doctors Foundation, with mobile medical units sent out to rural and inaccessible areas. The Princess took the mobile units to those areas herself. Some patients were accepted under the Princess’ royal patronage for medical transfer and treatment in the provinces or Bangkok.
Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana was keen on literature, the arts, culture, and history. On her trips abroad, she always visited archaeological sites and places where she could learn about the world’s heritage. The trips were documented and published as well-written books that serve as excellent references.
Also much appreciated are books such as Busy Fingers on the late Princess Mother’s hobbies, Mother Told Me on the private life of the Princess Mother, Young Royals Juvenile Kings on their young days, and The Princely Postcards, a collection of the Prince Father ’s postcards.
With her steadfastness, and the gratitude shown to benefactors and her royal parents, Her Royal Highness contributed greatly to the country and the royal institution. She was invested with titles and the nation’s highest decorations.
Her academic achievements also earned her high commendations from foreign governments and organisations, such as the Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Merite, presented by the French government, and the Victor Hugo medal, presented by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation.
Bangkok Post Jan. 2, 2008
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