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King Prajadhipok Museum

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Set in a handsome heritage building in the old town, the King Prajadhipok Museum has an excellent display of photographs, antiques and info on the life of one of Siam’s most misunderstood kings.

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As the last absolute monarch to rule Siam/Thailand, you might guess that Prajadhipok (Rama VII) was a tyrant who deserved to be overthrown. In fact, he was a gentle and intelligent leader who tried to recover the country from financial difficulties caused by the Great Depression and huge expenditures from the previous two reigns. He was well educated, and his writings show that he probably would have granted Siam a constitution along with some form of democracy had he retained power.

The man himself. Photo taken in or around King Prajadhipok Museum, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

The man himself. Photo: David Luekens

But before that could happen—as recounted in newspaper articles and other writings displayed at the museum—a group of civilian and military leaders usurped power in a coup while Prajadhipok was on holiday in Hua Hin in December 1932. One of the most poignant exhibits shows the king’s written thoughts as he decided whether to flee or return to Bangkok after the coup, when he “decided to gamble by turning to the women and let them ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)

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