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The royal last name "Kridakorn" or "Kritakara" started with King Rama IV, King Mongkut as he is also known, and Her Royal Highness Queen Consort Chao Jom Manda Klin, daughter of Phaya Damrong Ratchapolkhan, past Governor of Phra Padaeng, formerly an area of today’s Metropolitan Bangkok that has since been split up and incorporated into 3 provinces, Bangkok, Samut Prakan, and Thonburi.  Phaya Damrong was a descendant of Phaya Jeng or Chao Phaya Maha Yotha Jeng, first of the royal last name Kochaseni. Phaya Jeng was a former governor of Drern (a Burmese city near Thai border at what is now Three Pagoda Pass border crossing near Ratchaburi) and younger brother to Phaya Tala, Governor of the Mon people of Hongsawadee Kingdom in Burma. Phaya Jeng took refuge in Thailand under the protectorate of King Taksin (before Chakri Dynasty) circa 1774. At that time the Burmese King Mungra had begun conscripting the Mon people against their will to build an army to invade Thonburi, Thailand’s capital in that period. The Mons had been immigrating to Siam for over a century leaving the oppression of Myanmar Kings behind. Under Phaya Jeng the Mon tribe rebelled and mounted an unsuccessful attack on the city Motama and other Mon cities in Myanmar against King Mangra but was beaten back leading to their flight from Myanmar.

Phaya Jeng was an important person during the reign of Rama I and his descendants as Kridakorn served under the reign of each Rama King to present. Queen Klin played an important role as a queen consort of King Rama IV and mother of a prince that became the first Kridakorn.  The members of the royal last names Kridakorn have had extraordinary roles in the history of Thailand starting with Queen Klin herself.



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Picture of Prince Nares with his mother,
Queen Consort Klin


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Queen Klin was born in the year 1835 during the reign of King Rama III. Her royal highness was one of the first Thai to successfully master English language. Her mastery of the English language in detail allowed her to translate Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe into Thai. The first translation of an English book at that time. Her interests included modernization, humanity and the compensation through monetary means rather than slavery. Importantly her highness had explored the idea of abolishing slavery similar to the plot of Uncle Tom’s Cabin which was becoming the popular trend in the Western world at that time. Her highness started with paying her own servants 4 Bahts per months as well as giving them clothings and food. For the Thai New Year Songkran she gave them valuables such as gold and other items of her own design. A new year giving tradition that is still carried on today.

In the era when people still only followed traditional thinking and not allowing paintings or portraits to be taken due to superstition her highness instead chose to be open to the practice so that her descendants may have an opportunity to know what their ancestors look like. Another important event is her highness’ involvement in local politics by requesting King Rama IV through Prince Nares to  appoint her brother to become the governor of Phra Padaeng continuing from her father, Phaya Jeng unknowing that the appointment had already made by The King.  This act incurred the wrath of the King for a period of time and he was forced to sentence Queen Klin to a jail term  for bringing up such an unbroachable subject and for subversion to the monarchy. Upon learning of this Anna Leonowens went to the King’s Chief Minister, Chuang Bunnag, and prevailed upon him to partition the king to forgive Her Highness as the appointment had not yet been published therefore was not known to Her Highness.  When the facts were known The King pardoned her. His Majesty wrote a letter to her in his own hand writing in which he stated in a footnote, “I beg to inform you I have pardoned Lady Klin your scholar at his Excellency’s request”.  A typed version of the letter is shown in this article. Click here.

Her highness’ had a philosophy in raising her children and grandchildren by mixing old and new ideas. For example she taught all 3 of her daughters-in-law who were also of Mon descent, Mom Supharb (Prapa Daeng Mon), Mom Chaem (Samutsakorn Mon) and Mom Jerm (Ratchaburi Mon), to follow the path of Buddhism while being open to learning the new and modern ideas. This allows her descendants to follow in her footsteps by following the teachings of Buddhism while open to modern ideas and at the same time maintain Thai traditions and customs. Her descendants, many of whom have served the Kingdom faithfully in the highest capacities during the transformative years of the Kingdom of Siam, have always adhered to this philosophy. They have carried on their duties confidently to serve the Kingdom with far reaching imaginations. In addition to discharging their duties they have also built on the past practices with their own new ideas. History has proven that Her Highness’ ideas and philosophy have benefited the Kingdom through the services of her only son and many of her grandchildren starting with Krom Phra Nares Varariddhi, the first Kridakorn. Prince Krisada Bhiniharn (later Krom Phra Nares Varariddhi) was a very intelligent individual with a high capacity for learning. He excelled in English over all his siblings and was able to serve as interpreter for all the many siblings who also served the Kingdom and upon reaching maturity was able express his opinions with much confident, insight and in keeping with the times. Krom Phra Nares Varariddhi, while an ambassador to England, was the key person who wrote to the King Rama V urging him to modernize the governance of Thailand which at that time was a very forward idea and also carried the risk of incurring the wrath of the King.

Sourced from Mon Studies

M.L. Saksiri Kridakorn