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Today, August 12, is the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit (Somdej Phra Nangchao Sirikit Phra Boromarajininat, สมเด็จพระนางเจ้าสิริกิติ์ พระบรมราชินีนาถ).  In Thailand, this is a major holiday and is celebrated as National Mother's Day (Wan Mae Heng Chat, วันแม่แห่ชาติ).  Portraits of the queen are raised throughout the country, flags are flown, large concerts are held (it is a great honor for a musician to sing in a concert honoring Her Majesty), and fireworks light up the night sky.  And everywhere, Thai people send flowers or small gifts to their mothers and take them out to dinner.

Mon Rajawongse Sirikit was born on 12 August 1932 as the eldest daughter of His Highness Prince Chandaburi Suranath and Mom Luang Bua Kitiyakara Snidwongse.  The name "Sirikit" was given to her by King Prajadhipok or King Rama VII.

It was while her father was stationed as Ambassador in Paris that she first met His Majesty Prince Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was then completing his studies in Switzerland.  He occasionally travelled to Paris where they had the chance of meeting each other.  The meetings in Paris ripened into mutual friendship and understanding.

Later on, when His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej had a very serious motor accident in Geneva, Switzerland, and had to stay in a hospital at Lausanne, Mon Rajawongse Sirikit was a frequent hospital visitor.  After Prince Bhumibol was well enough to leave the hospital, she arranged to continue her studies at the Riante Rive boarding school in Lausanne.

They were engaged on 19 July 1949 in Lausanne and returned to Bangkok on 24 March 1950 for the cremation ceremony of His Majesty King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VII).  The royal wedding took place on 28 April 1950 at the Pathumwan Palace in Bangkok.

They have four children:
H.R.H. Princess Ubol Ratana, born 5 April 1951, in Lausanne, Switzerland.
H.R.H. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkron, born 28 July 1952 in Bangkok.
H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakir Sirindron, born 2 April 1955 in Bangkok.
H.R.H. Princess Chulabhorn, born on 4 July 1957 in Bangkok.

One of the Queen's grandchildren, Bhumi Jensen (also known as Khun Poom), was killed in the December 26, 2004, tsunami.

When His Royal Majesty King Bhumibol entered the monkhood in 1956, Queen Sirikit was appointed as Regent of the Thai Kingdom.  She performed her duties so successfully that she was given the Royal Title of high distinction of Somdejphra Borom Rajininath (Queen Regent) by the government and the Thai people.

Queen Sirikit is perhaps best known for her efforts in reviving many of Thailand's ancient arts and crafts.  The Queen's SUPPORT foundation (Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques) has expanded progressively since its establishment in 1976 to include craft shops in many of Thailand's cities and tourist areas, and 2 Thai Folk Arts and Crafts Training Centers at Chitralada Villa and at in Bangsai, Ayutthaya.

I send out birthday greetings to Her Majesty and Mother's Day greetings to Tim's mother.  It's a rainy morning so Tim and I will just stay at home and watch the numerous celebrations in Bangkok on the television.