The open field in front of the Grand Palace has been used as a royal cremation site since the end of the 19th Century. It was originally called “Thung Phra Mane”, which means the royal crematorium ground in Thai. King Rama VI later renamed the field as Sanam Luang, which means the royal ground in Thai. To this day, the field is still used for royal cremations.
Recent Royal Cremation Ceremonies:
- 1950 – King Ananda Mahidol, the uncle of King Rama X
- 1956 – Queen Savang Vadhana, Queen Consort of King Rama V
- 1986 – Queen Rambhai Barni, Queen Consort of King Rama VII
- 1996 – Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, the grandmother of King Rama X
- 2008 – Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra, the aunt of King Rama X
- 2012 – Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana, the only daughter of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI)
- 2017 – His Majesty King Bhumibol, the father of the present King
The crematoriums are purpose built and are quickly dismantled after the cremations. However, they are usually opened for public viewing for a few weeks. I was in the UK for a holiday during the cremation of the King’s grandmother in 1996, but the following photos are of the crematoriums for HRH Princess Galyani and HRH Princess Bejaratana.
Crematorium for HRH Princess Galyani (2008)
Crematorium for HRH Princess Bejaratana (2012)
I will be visiting the crematorium for King Buhmibol later this week. Look out for my live photo blog.