The statue of King Rama VIII, or Ananda Mahidol, near the Rama VIII Bridge in Bang Phlat district will become a new landmark of Bangkok.
His Majesty the King is scheduled to preside over the unveiling of the statue at 17.30 hr on 9 June 2012, which is regarded as “Ananda Mahidol Day.”
The statue of King Rama VIII was built as a tribute to King Ananda Mahidol, the elder brother of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is considered part of the Rama VIII Bridge across the Chao Phraya River. The statue is in a standing posture.
The bridge, which was opened to traffic in May 2002, was constructed at the initiative of His Majesty the King to ease traffic congestion and link inner Bangkok with the Thon Buri side.
Bangkok Governor M. R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra said that it would be a good opportunity for Thai people to pay homage to the statue of King Rama VIII and to join an audience with His Majesty the King at the ceremony. A multi-purpose building was built near the monument, where visitors may view important historical places, such as Phra Sumen Fort and Bang Khun Phrom Palace.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has also constructed a public park in the area, where the monument is situated. The park, which was named by His Majesty the King “Suan Luang Rama VIII,” has beuatiful grounds and will be used as a recreational site.
A grandson of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), King Ananda Mahidol was the eighth monarch of the House of Chakri. Born on 20 September 1925 in Heidelberg, Germany, he was the first son and the second child of Prince Mahidol of Songkhla and Mom Sangwan, who was later installed as Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother.
King Ananda Mahidol assumed the kingship in March 1935 after his uncle, King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) abdicated. Although King Prajadhipok had officially declined the right to name his successor, it was rumored in 1935 that he had suggested young Prince Ananda as heir apparent.
At that time, Prince Ananda, the future King Rama VIII, was still a student in Switzerland. He was only 9 years old and it was a period of transition, following the coup of 24 June 1932, when the country changed its administrative system from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.
King Ananda Mahidol had come back to the country in december 1945 for only the second time after ascending the throne, as he, his elder sister, Princess Galyani Vadhana, and his younger brother, the then Prince Bhumibol, has been continuing their studies in Switzerland during World War II.
He was just 20 years old, and had not yet performed a coronation ceremony. King Ananda Mahidol died on 9 June 1946 and the crown passed to his younger brother, Prince Bhumibol. The untimely death of the young king brought great sorrow to all Thais.