83 Years Ago: Deposing King Prajadhipok

SIAM: Hat-Born Hierarchs – Time, July 11, 1932
…In slumbrous, easy-going Siam the gentle comedy of deposing King Prajadhipok as Absolute Monarch and reinstating King Prajadhipok as Constitutional Monarch was wafted to its close last week. A progressive little man, His Majesty had eagerly favored the change from the first. It permitted dismissal of his Supreme Council of State composed exclusively of Princes—all relatives of King Prajadhipok. Delighted to get rid of his relatives, some of them big men who have tried to boss and bully him, the bantamweight King ushered happily into office a [new] Cabinet of Ministers…

[Below is the complete text of the original article.]

In slumbrous, easy-going Siam the gentle comedy of deposing King Prajadhipok as Absolute Monarch and reinstating King Prajadhipok as Constitutional Monarch was wafted to its close last week.

A progressive little man, His Majesty had eagerly favored the change from the first. It permitted dismissal of his Supreme Council of State composed exclusively of Princes—all relatives of King Prajadhipok. Delighted to get rid of his relatives, some of them big men who have tried to boss and bully him, the bantamweight King ushered happily into office a Cabinet of Ministers in which there is not a single Prince!

Two of the new Cabinet members are men who as humble undersecretaries did the Princes’ work. Quite unheard of outside Siam are Premier & Finance Minister Monophkarana; Foreign Minister Phya Srivisar Vacha; Defense Minister Prasertsong Coram; Minister of Interior Phya Chasaenyapati.

Without a constitution—which Siam has never had—King Prajadhipok could not of course become a Constitutional Monarch. In a quiet Siamese way it was announced last week that a constitution had been adopted and that “under certain circumstances the Senate has power to override the King.”

Siam has never had a Senate. Produced last week like a hat-born rabbit, the Senate was found to consist of 70 Siamese army officers, the same who last fortnight staged with His Majesty’s approval their placid, bloodless coup d’état.

There also appeared in Bangkok last week a Committee of 15 about which nobody seemed to know anything except that “the Cabinet is responsible to it,” according to Premier Monophkarana. Foreign correspondents, groping for familiar words in which to state so peculiar a situation, decided that the Committee of 15 is a “junta” or “dictature.” His Majesty, long a public advocate of popular suffrage, welcomed rumors that the vote had been given to Siamese women last week, though by whom and for what did not appear. A theory grew that the original 70 Senators who simply took their seats will be joined by 70 more elected Senators, thus giving Siamese their first taste of parliamentary government as it is understood in the West.

There being no hard feelings, the innumerable Siamese Princes arrested at the outset of the coup d’état were all set free last week—all except domineering Prince Paribatra whom it was thought best to keep locked up for a while.

“The King and members of the new Administration,” said a spokesman for His Majesty, “have completely won each other’s confidence. It is not too much to say that King Prajadhipok is delighted.”

This entry was posted in June 24, 1932, The Monarchy. Bookmark the permalink.

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