Connect with us

Thai Life

Looking Back: When two kings sat on the throne – Part II



PHUKET: In my last column, I spoke about Prince Mongkut’s journey before taking the throne.

When Prince Mongkut was 47, he left the monkhood to reign as king. There was a problem, however, as Prince Chutamani had an equally legitimate claim to succeed to the throne. At the time of King Rama III’s death, some nobles claimed that Prince Chutamani was, in fact, the heir presumptive. However, because Prince Mongkut was the older brother, his claim was stronger.

Prince Mongkut was crowned King of Siam on April 2, 1851. He took the title of Phrabat Somdet Phra Chomklao Chaoyuhua, Rama IV. In order to avoid conflict with his younger brother, Prince Chutamani, King Rama IV did something quite unprecedented in Siamese history. He allowed the prince to ascend to the throne as the ‘second king’ of Siam. He was asked to assume the title of Phrabat Somdet Phra Pinklao Chaoyuhua, which was equivalent to that of the king himself.

In the past, the position of vice-king, or Uparaj of Siam, was usually bestowed to the king’s brother. In the line of succession, the Uparaj was therefore also the heir presumptive. But it was always recognized that the Uparaj was second to the king.

Prince Chutamani, however, was not bestowed the title of Uparaj. He was asked by his brother to take on a title equivalent to Rama IV’s, a crowned king of Siam. For the first time in Siamese history, there were two crowned kings of Siam.

Some historians speculate that King Mongkut was a firm believer in astrology. According to astrological predictions, Prince Chutamani’s astrological signs showed that he would be crowned king as well. It was therefore this belief that led to Chutamani’s coronation and elevation to become Siam’s second king during the reign of King Rama IV. Others speculate that this was a clever move to appease Prince Chutamani and discourage him from challenging his brother’s position.

There is no doubt however that the coronation of King Pinklao strengthened the relationship between the two brothers, a relationship that would remain peaceful throughout King Mongkut’s reign. In practice, King Mongkut was the chief ruler of the kingdom, but King Pinklao was influential in foreign affairs due to his close ties with western diplomats.

King Pinklao maintained his own private army, as well as a navy of several modern ships. His palace became known as the ‘front palace’ and its authorities greatly expanded. King Pinklao died on January 7, 1866, predeceasing his elder brother by two years.

— Anand Singh


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime3 mins ago

Tenant fined 140,000 baht for keeping dog in Bangkok condominium

Pattaya17 mins ago

Speedo-wearing middle-aged joggers in Jomtien cause uproar

Thailand30 mins ago

Thailand No.1 in the world for a wellness retreat

Sponsored2 hours ago

British International School Phuket: Reflecting on 25 years of world-class education

Health33 mins ago

Which type of health insurance do you need in Thailand?

Thailand1 hour ago

Gunman wounds 8 in Jerusalem, 48 dead in Israeli Gaza strikes

Thailand1 hour ago

Thailand among top 5 destinations for Chinese travelers | GMT

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Travel13 hours ago

Where to find underrated international cuisines in Bangkok

Bangkok15 hours ago

Chinatown manhole covers to use art, tech to become cultural map

Transport16 hours ago

Man fights Indian Railways for 22 years for justice (and 9 baht)

Events17 hours ago

Tourism Minister visits Full Moon Party, supports later curfew

Crime17 hours ago

Thais cautioned against fake government websites

Thailand18 hours ago

Another Thai boxer dies from brain injury after fight in Malaysia

Thailand19 hours ago

Expats in Thailand, Cartoon characters & Letting Loose | Thaiger Bites

Pattaya19 hours ago

VIDEO: Young Thais have a blast at Pattaya Music Festival weekend 2

Pollution20 hours ago

Anti-Corruption Network complains of smelly wastewater in coastal Thai province

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11