Friday, January 11, 2008

Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana was a woman with a vast range of interests.

Academic with a love of sport

Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana was a woman with a vast range of interests.

Published on January 4, 2008

She was interested in reading and writing when she was admitted to Rajini School. She read as many books as she could find. At that time, not many books were available, so she read newspapers. One newspaper published a children's story that she later found printed in French entitled "Sans Famille" when she studied in Switzerland.

She loved reading literature, which improved her French tremendously. When she taught French at Thammasat University, she did a lot of research on linguistic subjects. She was also interested in the arts, culture, history and archaeology. When visiting any countries, she would read books on them.

When she was nine years old, she was an editor and writer of a periodic journal called "Ruen Rom" with her school friends. She wrote 11 books on the Royal Family and translated three books. She also made 10 videos about her foreign trips.

The Princess played a variety of sports for fun. Her strict discipline made her a good role model for other children. When she was in Lausanne near Lac Leman, she skated, skied, fished, rode a bicycle and trekked up the mountains.

She loved horse riding, badminton and golf. She also enjoyed playing petanque with the Princess Mother. She introduced this sport to the Thai people and donated Bt1 million per year to the Petanque Club. Thai petanque players went on to have international success.

When she was 13 and visited Norway and Germany, she stopped in Frankfurt and talked about the Hindenburg Zeppelin airship that took tourists to fly over Berlin during the Olympic Games. When she grew up, she underwent flying training. In 1957, she completed a civil aviation course with the Air Force.

The Princess was earnestly interested in photography, both artistically and academically. She always took pictures of historical and important places she visited and gave advice to television reporters on how to get perfect pictures.

The Princess's competency in education included tertiary and primary education. Having taught French for many years, she realised the problems in learning the language and initiated the establishment of the Association Thailandaise des Professeurs de Francais in 1977.

With her outstanding dedication to education, Unesco and the French government, along with local and foreign universities, presented her with honorary doctorate degrees in several subjects.

The Princess's visits to foreign countries strengthened bilateral relations and helped Thais to learn about all aspects of other nations.

She ensured that the Television Pool of Thailand provided in-depth information about the countries she visited. She would research history, arts and other information about the country and check the TV script by herself for accuracy before the station broadcast the programme.

Readers can learn more about the Princess's interests at

The Nation

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