His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) has taken upon himself the daunting task of working for the well-being and livelihood of his subjects all over the country. Yet, as Head of State under the Constitution, he has numerous duties in forging friendly ties with various countries. In diplomatic protocol, he receives foreign ambassadors to Thailand, who officially present letters of credence to him upon their accreditation to Thailand and take leave at the completion of their terms. He also grants audiences to Thai ambassadors to various countries and gives them a royal blessing before they leave to take up their posts. He also made efforts to pay state visits to friendly countries when time permitted. And with the royal children grown up, they share the burden in reinforcing the bonds of friendship with various countries by paying royal visits to observe technical progress and promote cooperation with them, leading to good understanding and benefits to the country and the people, which is the true objective of the Royal Ties of Friendship, a time-honored mission of the Thai monarch.

Thanpuying Kenlong Snidvongs Na Ayudhya, a lady-in-waiting, related the state visits abroad between 1959 and 1967 in her book Tham Pen Dhamma (Doing Things the Dhamma Way):

Several countries extended formal invitations to Their Majesties the King and Queen. Therefore, His Majesty deemed it appropriate to embark on state visits with Her Majesty the Queen, as invited.

It was the first occasion for Their Majesties the King and Queen to have assumed the roles of the country’s representatives in the wide world, so that Thailand and her people could be appreciated for their fine culture, on a par with any of the world’s nations, a primary royal mission carried out by Their Majesties for the country....

During the state visits paid by Their Majesties the King and Queen to various countries, they were accorded full honors and a warm welcome with the greatest hospitality. They visited places of archeological and historical importance and experienced the glorious art and culture of ancient lands, the advances of the modern world filled with industrial plants, new agricultural practices, and technology, as well as peoples of various races and different perspectives, even the citizens of every country, who came out and cheered them wholeheartedly.


His Majesty’s deep thoughts on such extensive royal visits to foreign countries were revealed in this portion of his departure speech, delivered to the Thai people:

This foreign trip is in fact a state affair, part of the performance of my duties as the Head of State.

It is well known that these days, various countries, large and small, are interdependent. One may say that people of all nations are like relatives. Efforts must be made to know one another, and to reinforce the ties of friendship.

Normally, relatives exchange visits to show their mutual care and concern for one another. But in the case of countries, it is difficult for hundreds of thousands or millions of people to exchange visits. Therefore, it is the duty of the Head of State to visit various nations. I shall convey to the peoples of those countries the Thai people’s goodwill toward them, and I shall give my utmost effort to make Thailand known to them, and to create goodwill in them toward the Thai people.


After that prolonged foreign tour, His Majesty the King did not venture abroad again, until 28 years later in 1994, when he inaugurated the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge and crossed over to visit the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

And as His Majesty advanced in age, the Crown Prince, the Princesses, and other royals are actively sharing the burden of forging royal ties of friendship with the international community.

The first State Visit was to the Republic of Vietnam, 18-21 December 1959.

The State Visit to the Republic of Indonesia, 8-16 February 1960. His Majesty the King remarked in his speech at the state banquet hosted by President Sukarno: I believe that happy relations existing between our two countries will continue to grow in strength and should result in complete unity of purpose and in perfect understanding.


The State Visit to the Union of Burma, 2-5 March 1960. His Majesty the King made this response to the welcome address by the Burmese President U Win Maung: The Burmese and Thai peoples are bound together in friendship, through sharing the same Buddhist faith, as well as the same aspiration of peace and cooperation. I am therefore all the more happy in being able to bring to you the goodwill and the greetings of my own people.

Following visits to neighboring countries, Their Majesties the King and Queen in June 1960 embarked on a seven-month-long series of State Visits to the United States of America and 13 European countries.


They started the tour in Hawaii on 14 June 1960, greeted at Hickam Air Force Base by William Quinn, then Governor of Hawaii. After four days in Hawaii, Their Majesties the King and Queen flew to the U.S. mainland, arriving in California on 18 June. While in California, they toured Paramount and Desilu Movie Studios, where they sat and chatted at ease with Hollywood executives and legendary stars like Elvis Presley, Bob Hope, and Lucille Ball.

Their Majesties arrived in Washington, D.C., on 28 June, met at the Washington National Airport by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Washington Post & Times Herald said in its headline, “President and 75,000 in Streets Greet Thailand King and Queen.”

On 29 June, His Majesty the King addressed a joint session of the United States Congress, ending with these words:

Our two countries have had the best of relations. They started with the coming of your missionaries who shared with our people the benefits of modern medicine and the knowledge of modern science. This soon led to official relations and to a treaty between the two nations. That treaty dates as far back as 1833.

It can be said that from the beginning of our relationship right up to the present time no conflict of any kind has arisen to disturb our cordial friendship and understanding. On the contrary there has been mutual goodwill and close co-operation between our two countries. In view of the present world tension and the feeling of uncertainly apparent everywhere, it is my sincere feeling that the time is ripe for an even closer co-operation. It will demonstrate to the world that we are one in purpose and conviction and it can only lead to one thing – mutual benefits.

His Majesty the King addresses a joint session of the United States Congress

Departing from Washington, D.C., Their Majesties the King and Queen arrived in New York City on 4 July, where they were given a traditional ticker tape parade down Broadway.

On the afternoon of the next day, His Majesty made a private and personal visit to the apartment of Benny Goodman and spent two hours playing music with jazz greats Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Teddy Wilson, Urbie Green, Jonah Jones, and Red Norvo.

His Majesty the King also fulfilled his long-time wish to visit his birthplace in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At Mount Auburn Hospital he met Dr. W. Stewart Whittemore, who delivered him on 5 December 1927, along with the four nurses who helped care for him.

From the United States, Their Majesties the King and Queen flew to Geneva, Switzerland, for a few days’ rest and relaxation before embarking on a State Visit to the United Kingdom, which took place on 19-23 July 1960.

Vatican City

Germany
Belgium
Denmark

Portugal
France
Their Majesties went on to visit the Federal Republic of Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Vatican City, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain, and at the conclusion of their travels returned to an overwhelming welcome by the Thai people on 18 January 1961.

The Federation of Malaya (present-day Malaysia)

New Zealand

Australia

In 1962, Their Majesties the King and Queen paid State Visits to Pakistan, the Federation of Malaya, New Zealand, and Australia.

Japan

Philippines

Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines were also on the royal schedule in 1963.

Austria

From 29 September to 5 October 1964, Their Majesties the King and Queen made a memorable State Visit to Austria, where His Majesty’s musical compositions were performed by the Nieder Osterreich Tonkunstler Orchestra in the Vienna Concert Hall. His Majesty was on this occasion accorded honorary membership in Vienna’s Academy of Arts and Music, becoming the first Asian and the 21st honorary member.


Two years later, Their Majesties paid visits to the Federal Republic of Germany from 22 to 28 August 1966, and Austria again from 29 September to 2 October 1966. During a State Visit to Iran from 23 to 30 April 1967, Their Majesties the King and Queen celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary on 28 April. Official visits were made again to the United States in June 1967, with functions in Hawaii, New York, and Massachusetts. They proceeded on 22 June 1967 to visit Expo ‘67 in Montreal, Canada, followed by a visit to Washington, D.C., on 27 June.

Thereafter, the only State Visit to a foreign country by His Majesty was to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1994, following the inauguration of the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge.

One member of the Royal Family, Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra (shown on the right), the elder sister of His Majesty the King, was a keen author and made numerous royal visits to all parts of the world, all as informative travels, after which she wrote books that became invaluable reference materials. Her royal visits, meanwhile, tightened relations between Thailand and those countries to a great extent.



A royal visit to the People’s Republic of China, 14-31 May 1985

A royal visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 8-15 May 1987

Her Royal Highness visited the Kingdom of Cambodia, 22-28 February 1994

A royal visit to Xinjiang Uygur, 10-23 May 1990

A royal visit to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

A royal visit to Bhutan, 22-30 May 1988

A royal visit to the Soviet Union, 11-14 December 1989

Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra, the Honorary President for the Presentation of the Romanized Pali Tripitaka to international institutions worldwide

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn paid several royal visits to foreign countries as His Majesty’s representative and in his own capacity, and increasingly represented Their Majesties the King and Queen in performing royal functions, such as receiving foreign ambassadors to Thailand as they presented their letters of credence or as they took leave upon completing their terms of office.



His Majesty the King graciously designated His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to be His Majesty’s Representative in receiving the Ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in audience for presentation of his Letter of Credence accrediting him as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Thailand on Wednesday, 26 May 2010 at Ambara Villa, Dusit Palace, Bangkok.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn traveled extensively, representing Their Majesties the King and Queen at various functions in foreign countries, pursuing her insatiable quest for knowledge, and at the invitation of governments and organizations. The Princess wrote poems and books, travelogues, and other works. She paid more than 30 visits to the People’s Republic of China, and was honored as one of the “Top Ten International Friends of China” in 2010.


Her Royal Highness on a visit to Burma (present-day Myanmar), 21-31 March 1986. Toasting at the dinner party hosted by the Prime Minister
Inspecting the Bodhisattva murals in Mahayana Buddhist style at Payathonzu Pagoda east of Rangoon

A royal visit to India, 10-28 March 1987. Schoolgirls present Her Royal Highness with flowers
Her Royal Highness pictured with the family of the Maharaja of Jaipur on a visit to India, 2-12 April 2001

Her Royal Highness conversing with the wife of the Chief Minister
The conferring of an honorary degree in literature on Her Royal Highness in New Delhi

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at the Ramon Magsaysay Award Ceremony in Manila, Philippines, 31 August 1991
Her Royal Highness received the International Union of Nutritional Science (IUNS) Special Award in recognition of her exceptional contribution through nutrition improvement for the development of the disadvantaged population

Practicing the use of traditional brush and ink to write her name

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was presented with the “Fulbright Caring Leaders across Cultures Award” at Vites Samosorn Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Bangkok on 15 July 2010 during the International Symposium on Caring Leaders across Cultures in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Thailand.



Her Royal Highness receives an honorary degree from the President of Peking University

Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn has played an active role in forging relations with various countries through scientific and medical cooperation, as President of the Chulabhorn Foundation and the Chulabhorn Research Institute.


Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the Chulabhorn Research Institute and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in 2005

Her Royal Highness gave a special lecture at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Chemistry-Biology Interface: Synergistic New Frontiers, in New Delhi, India, 2004

Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn gives a special lecture, “Science and Technology for the Improvement of the Quality of Life,” in the plenary session of the World Science Forum in Budapest, Hungary, 2005
Her Royal Highness delivers a speech at the Opening Ceremony of the seventh International Society of Environmental Biotechnology in Chicago, Illinois, in 2004

Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha, fondly known as “the Lawyer Princess,” has been managing the “Kamlangjai,” or “Inspire,” project to reach out to Thai women incarcerated in prisons, including pregnant inmates and those who have babies. She also works on the project called “ELFI” – “Enhancing Lives of Female Inmates” – which has proposed new rules on the treatment of female prisoners and non-custodial measures for female offenders as a supplement to the 1955 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in April 2009 presented the Medal of Recognition to honor the valuable work done by Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha.


Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha earned her degree from the Law School of Cornell University, as a Doctor of Juridical Science, in May 2005

Her Royal Highness introduced the “Kamlangjai – Inspire” project at the 17th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria, in April 2008

The royal ties of friendship with the nobility of other countries culminated in the Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne on 9 June 2006, when members of royal families from all over the world were invited to Bangkok.



Royals of the world gathered at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, greeted by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand
Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah and Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha of Brunei Darussalam

The Ceremony of the Presentation of Congratulations to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Ananta Samagom Throne Hall, Bangkok, 12 June 2006

The State Banquet given by Their Majesties the King and Queen on 13 June 2006 to foreign monarchs and members of royal families from around the world who came to attend the Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne, at the Baromarajasathitmaholarn Hall, in the Grand Palace