What You Should Know About Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand's Late King

A child pays respect to the King of Thailand in Phitsanulok ©  Left Handed Photography / Shutterstock
A child pays respect to the King of Thailand in Phitsanulok © Left Handed Photography / Shutterstock
Photo of Kelly Iverson
14 October 2016

Thailand has lost its beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the age of 88 on Thursday, October 13th. As the world’s longest-reigning monarch and, quite possibly, the most adored, it has come as a shock to many that he has passed. Many Thais have not known or lived through the era of another king, and the grieving process will be a long and grueling one. Here are ten things to know about the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.

1. King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 5th, 1927. He is the only monarch in the entire world to have been born in the U.S. His father, Prince Mahidol, was studying medicine at Harvard University when he was born.

Thai flag was lowered to half-mast for paying respect for the king of Thailand | © BonNontawat / Shutterstock

2. He worked effortlessly to improve the lives of those living in rural Thailand; for example, he supplied a great amount of aid to farmers affected by droughts. He launched thousands of royal projects to encourage development in rural areas as well.

Thai People Mourn the Passing of Bhumibol Adulyadej | © 1000 Words / Shutterstock

3. King Bhumibol Adulyadej played a handful of different musical instruments, including the saxophone, clarinet, trumpet and more. He took a particular interest in jazz music and began composing songs at as early as 18 years old.

The King was the longest reigning monarch in the world | © BasPhoto / Shutterstock

4. King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the world’s richest monarch. In 2012, Forbes estimated his net wealth to exceed $30 billion.

Ratchapak Park and the statues of seven former Thai kings were constructed by the Royal Thai Army under royal permission from His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej | © Narong Jongsirikul / Shutterstock

5. King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s older brother, King Ananda Mahidol, died by an unexplained gunshot wound in June 1946.

October 2016 will be remembered as the passing of the Thai King Bhumibol , the most respected figurehead in Thailand | © Panya7 / Shutterstock

6. King Bhumibol Adulyadej was an avid photographer and was rarely seen without his camera; he also enjoyed painting and writing.

The Pink Elephant statue Decoration for His Majesty the King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej 84th birthday | © GOLFX / Shutterstock

7. He published a book in 2002 about his dog, Tongdaeng (Copper). It sold 100,000 copies within hours of its launch and an animated film based on the book was later released.

Burning Lantern , a sign of respect | © Sam DCruz / Shutterstock

8. King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s father died when he was two years old.

Portraits of Thai King Bhumibol are seen commonly on buildings across Thailand | © 1000 Words / Shutterstock

9. He met his wife, Sirikit, while he was visiting Paris; she was the daughter of the Thai ambassador to France.

Artificial flowers used during a funeral | © Photoraidz // Shutterstock

10. King Bhumibol Adulyadej studied law and political science at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Thai man showing picture of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit | © Settawat Udom / Shutterstock

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