Sad Story of Sunandha.

Sunandha Kumariratana, Queen Consort of Siam.

Royal families beyond Europe rarely feature in many history textbooks in my experience so if you want to know about them you have to look for yourself, this was just what I did.

When we think of Siam don’t we all think Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr in ‘The King and I’ a romanticized version of the true events, when I looked into them I came across this woman Sunandha Kumariata  her given name is Princess Sunandha Kumariratana (พระองค์เจ้าสุนันทากุมารีรัตน์). She was a half-sister and the first queen consort (พระบรมราชเทวี) and one of four queens of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V,of Siam,now Thailand), two of which were her full-sibling younger sisters, Queen Savang Vadhana and Queen Saovabha Bhongsi, as you can see they believed in keeping it in the family in Europe cousins could marry cousins and indeed in my own family research in America and Canada found cousins could marry cousins but siblings marrying siblings was incest, but I’m not going to go on about the morality of that situation it was done to keep the Royal line pure which of course we know doesn’t work but the family doesn’t seem to have suffered any genetic effects for this even the current Crown Prince of Thailand married his first cousin as his wife.

Sunandha Kumariata was born on November 10th 1860 in Bangkok, Siam her father Mongkut or King Rama V is the played by Yul Brynner in ‘The King and I’ her mother was Piyamavadi one of the Kings three wives.

She married her half brother Chulongkom and became pregnant with his child, while taking a trip on the Royal boat on May 31st 1880 it capsized and Sunandha drowned along with obviously her unborn child, the tragedy gets worse if you can imagine she could have been rescued by any one of the many onlookers but royal protocol forbade anyone of them on pain of death to touch her, not even to save her life, she was just nineteen years old.

The grief-stricken Chulalongkorn later erected a memorial to her and his unborn child at the Bang Pa-In Palace as for the rule that had ensured her demise that was never revoked.


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