Sirikit and Bhumibol

Secret British cable on the Thai royal family, 1963

A declassified secret cable in the UK national archives, reporting on a meeting between Sir Desmond Dreyer, admiral of the British navy’s Far East Fleet, with King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.

It appears that this cable has been ripped out at some point, and reattached with tape, rendering some parts of it illegible.

The cable describes Bhumibol as exceptionally earnest and serious. It reports that Bhumibol told his guests: “He was all for change and progress but the danger was that change might happen so quickly as to get out of hand. It must be controlled and that was quite a difficult thing. Students must be controlled: he did not mean screwing them down (and he made a gesture with his thumb) but kept in check… He thought student demonstrations were very wrong.”

The cable also quotes Sirikit as saying “she was having trouble with Prince Vajiralongkorn who was a naughty and lazy little boy”.

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