The Royal House of Chakri is a family line that has remained unbroken since 1782, the year of the founding of Bangkok as the capital of Thailand.
The first king of the Royal House of Chakri, King Rama I, established Bangkok as the royal capital after he ascended the throne on 6 April 1782. He also built the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha complex, which is now a major landmark of Bangkok and one of the country’s important tourist attractions.
The establishment of the capital was the starting point of the history of Bangkok, following the destruction of the previous capital of Ayutthaya in 1767. So the history of the Royal House of Chakri is, in fact, the history of the Bangkok period. Amid political changes in each period, the Royal House of Chakri has reigned over the kingdom for 229 years now.
King Rama I tried to recreate the lost splendor of Ayutthaya, which had served as the capital of the country for 417 years. Since the royal palace of Ayutthaya had a temple within its compound, King Rama I decided to follow this tradition by building his palace, the Grand Palace, with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the same area. The Grand Palace was the royal residence for the Chakri kings until the beginning of the present reign in 1946. King Rama I also transformed Bangkok into a cosmopolitan city based on the Ayutthaya’s example.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the ninth monarch of the Royal House of Chakri, is very much loved and respected by his people for his great contribution to the country. On 2 July 1988, his loyal subjects celebrated King Bhumibol’s marvelous achievement of being Thailand’s longest reigning monarch ever. One year later, His Majesty also became the world’s longest reigning, living monarch.
In 1996, the 50th anniversary of his succession, King Bhumibol’s reign was set to take its place among other well known, long reigning monarchs of history – Britain’s Queen Victoria, who reigned for 64 years, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan, who reigned for 62 years.
In 2006, Thailand celebrated the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne, and it invited monarchs from 28 countries to take part in the celebrations. Joining this special occasion were reigning monarchs and royal representatives from 25 countries. Never before did so many of the world’s royal families gathered in the same place and at the same time. Later, in 2007, Thai people launched year-long celebrations to commemorate His Majesty the King’s 80th birthday.
In 2011, Thailand celebrates another auspicious occasion throughout the year. This time it is His Majesty the King’s 84th birthday anniversary.