Thai royal and noble titles are the royal and noble styles indicating relationship to the king which were introduced by King Trailokanat (reigned 1448–1488). The system is rooted in the Thai language equivalent of feudalism, sakdina. Borne of a polygamous royal tradition in which monarchs and noblemen often had dozens of children, such royal and noble titulary is similar to Western concepts of peerage. A title of honor may not be confined to the beginning or the end of the name, but may be split across the name. Those with titles ceased to be known by personal names, and were referred to by the awarded (or similar) title. The King could bestow a title on anyone, although such promotion was personal and the person's children would not normally benefit from it. The complex and nuanced distinctions in rank of the titles are largely uncaptured by their glosses into Western-style terms. Bestowing noble titles ended after the Siamese revolution of 1932, and the adoption of monogamy resulted in far fewer royal consorts and issue who could receive these styles. As a result, the old titles are obscure even to most Thais.
1 Historical context 2 The Sovereign 3 Consorts 4 Princes and princesses
4.1 Sovereign's children 4.2 Maha Uparaj's children 4.3 Sovereign's grandchildren 4.4 Sovereign's nephew or niece 4.5 Maha Uparaj's grandchildren 4.6 Sovereign's great-grandchildren
5 Royal descendants
5.1 Mom Rajawongse 5.2 Mom Luang 5.3 Na Ayudhya 5.4 Wife of prince
5.4.1 Phra Vorachaya 5.4.2 Phra Chaya 5.4.3 Chaya 5.4.4 Mom
5.5 Married princesses
6.1 Royal peerage 6.2 Civil and military peerage
6.2.1 Men 6.2.2 Women
6.3 Peerage of Courtier
6.3.1 Men 6.3.2 Women
7 Khun (courtesy title) 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 External links
See also: Indian honorifics, Greater India, and Ramayana
Crowned kings: Phra Bat Somdet Phra Chao Yu Hua (Thai:
English: His Majesty the King) is the style used in ordinary speech
when referring to the kings of
Preceding the name of the king; e.g., Phra Bat Somdet Phra Chao Yu Hua
Phumiphon Adunyadet (Thai:
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej).
More formally it can be split across the name, possibly with the
omission (or modification) of the words "Phra Chao Yu Hua"; e.g., Phra
Bat Somdet Phra Paramintara Maha Phumiphon Adunyadet (Thai:
and Phra Bat Somdet Phra Paramindara Maha
Uncrowned kings: Somdet Phra Chao Yu Hua (Thai: สมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัว), normally preceding the king's name, is restricted to a king who has not yet been crowned. When crowned, he assumes the title of Phra Bat Somdet Phra Chao Yu Hua; e.g., Somdet Phra Chao Yu Hua Maha Wachiralongkon Bodinthrathepphayawarangkun (Thai: สมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัวมหาวชิราลงกรณ บดินทรเทพยวรางกูร; His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn).
Consorts Traditionally, titles of royal wives depended on their birth titles and royal favour; only princesses of high birth (Chao Fa, Phra Ong Chao and Mom Chao Ying) assuming titles higher than Chao Chom. There were no clear rules about the hierarchy of titles above Chao Chom until the time of King Mongkut, and titles changed over successive reigns. The rule about commoners also seems to be evolving, and it appears that there are no more restrictions on a commoner from becoming queen. Most of the titles below are from King Vajiravudh's 1924 enactment of the Succession Law.
Rank Title Style Remarks
Somdet Phra Akkhara Mahesi สมเด็จพระอัครมเหสี (Supreme Royal Consort) Somdet Phra Boromma Rajininat สมเด็จพระบรมราชินีนาถ (Queen Regent) Somdet Phra Nang Chao + Name + Phra Boromma Rajini Nat Her Majesty, the Queen Nat (นาถ) means "shelter", bestowed upon a Queen who has acted as regent for her husband.
Somdet Phra Boromma Rajini สมเด็จพระบรมราชินี Somdet Phra Nang Chao + Name + Phra Boromma Rajini Her Majesty, the Queen
Somdet Phra Rajini สมเด็จพระราชินี Somdet Phra Rajini + Name Temporary title before coronation
Phra Mahesi พระมเหสี (Royal Consort) Somdet Phra Boromma Rajadevi สมเด็จพระบรมราชเทวี Somdet Phra Nang Chao + Name + Phra Boromma Rajadevi Her Majesty, the Queen
Somdet Phra Akkhara Rajadevi สมเด็จพระอัครราชเทวี Somdet Phra Nang Chao + Name + Phra Akkhara Rajadevi Her Majesty, the Queen
Phra Akkhara Rajadevi พระอัครราชเทวี Phra Nang Chao + Name + Phra Akkhara Rajadevi Her Royal Highness, Princess, Royal Consort
Phra Vara Rajadevi พระวรราชเทวี Phra Nang Chao + Name + Phra Vara Rajadevi Her Royal Highness, Princess, Royal Consort
Phra Rajadevi พระราชเทวี Phra Nang Chao + Name + Phra Rajadevi Her Royal Highness, Princess, Royal Consort
Phra Nang Thoe พระนางเธอ Phra Nang Thoe + Name Her Royal Highness, Princess, Royal Consort
Phra Akkhara Chaya Thoe พระอรรคชายาเธอ Phra Akkhara Chaya Thoe + Name Her Highness, Princess, Royal Consort
Phra Raja Chaya Thoe พระราชชายาเธอ Phra Raja Chaya Thoe + Name Her Highness, Princess, Royal Consort
Chao Khun Chom Manda
Supreme Royal Concubine
Chao Khun Chom Manda + Name
* Foreign princess
* Mom Chao (Her Serene Highness, Princess)
* Mom Rajawongse
* Mom Laung
During pregnancy, known as
Chao Chom Manda. Manda means "mother".
Phra was used during
Chao Chom Manda เจ้าจอมมารดา Chao Chom Manda + Name
Chom Manda จอมมารดา Chom Manda + Name
Chao Chom เจ้าจอม Chao Chom + Name
Phra พระ Phra + Name
Princes and princesses
Holders of these titles are still considered royal, since they are (at
most) two generations removed from a king. Nai Luang
(ในหลวง) is an epithet for a king. Children of a king
are called Luk Luang (ลูก หลวง "royal children"), and
grandchildren of a king are called Laan Luang (หลาน
หลวง "royal grandchildren"). In English, they are normally
called "prince" or "princess".
Order of precedence of a sovereign's children
Rank Title Remarks
Somdet Chao Fa
Somdet Phra Anujadhiraj
His Royal Highness, Prince
Elevated to "Heir Apparent" by
Chakrabongse Bhuvanath, Prince of Phitsanulok Asdang Dejavudh, Prince of Nakhon Ratchasima
Somdet Phra Chao Borommawong Thoe Chao Fa First Class His Royal Highness, Prince (Princess) For a sovereign's children with:
The Queen Royal consorts who are a sovereign's daughter
Somdet Phra Chao Borommawong Thoe Chao Fa Second Class His Royal Highness, Prince (Princess) For a sovereign's children with:
Royal consorts A foreign princess
Phra Ong Chao
HSH Princess A royal concubine
Phra Ong Chao First Class Phra Chao Baromwongse Thoe Phra Ong Chao His Royal Highness, Prince (Princess) For a sovereign's children with:
HSH Princess A royal concubine
Maha Uparaj's children
Order of precedence of Maha Uparaj's children
Rank Title Remarks
Phra Ong Chao Phra Chao Rajvorawongse Ther Phra Ong Chao (พระเจ้าราชวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้า) His Royal Highness, Prince (Princess) For children of Maha Uparaj
Maha Sura Singhanat Maha Senanurak Maha Sakdi Balasebya Pinklao
Phra Rajvorawongse Ther Phra Ong Chao (พระราชวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้า) His Royal Highness, Prince (Princess) For children of Wichaichan
Order of precedence of sovereign's grandchildren
Rank Title Remarks
Phra Ong Chao Phra Chao Lanh Ther Phra Ong Chao (พระเจ้าหลานเธอ พระองค์เจ้า) His Royal Highness, Prince (Princess) For children of the sovereign's sons (First Class) with a princess or royal consort. After their grandfather's reign, their title changes to Phra Chao Voravongse Ther Phra Ong Chao (พระเจ้าวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้า)
Phra Lanh Ther Phra Ong Chao (พระหลานเธอ พระองค์เจ้า) His Highness, Prince (Princess) For children of:
The sovereign's sons (First Class) with a commoner elevated by the king The sovereign's sons (Second Class) with a princess
After their grandfather's reign, their title changes to Phra Voravongse Ther Phra Ong Chao (พระวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้า)
Phra Sambandhawongse Ther
Phra Ong Chao
His Highness, Prince (Princess)
For children of Prince Matayabitaksa, maternal grandfather of
Mom Chao Mom Chao (หม่อมเจ้า) His Serene Highness, Prince (Princess) For children of the sovereign's sons with a commoner
Sovereign's nephew or niece
Order of precedence of sovereign's nephew or niece
Rank Title Remarks
Phra Sambhandhawongse Ther
His Royal Highness, Prince (Princess)
For children of
Phra Ong Chao Phra Prabhandhawongse Ther Phra Ong Chao (พระประพันธวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้า) His Highness, Prince (Princess) For children of deputy vice-king Anuraksha Deveshra with a royal consort
Mom Chao Mom Chao (หม่อมเจ้า) His Serene Highness, Prince (Princess) For children of:
Sons and daughters of Princess Debsudavadi and Princess Sri Sudaraksha's son Sons and daughters of deputy vice-king Anuraksha Deveshra with a concubine
Maha Uparaj's grandchildren
Order of precedence of Maha Uparaj's grandchildren
Rank Title Remarks
Mom Chao Mom Chao (หม่อมเจ้า) His Serene Highness, Prince (Princess) For the sovereign's grandchildren
Order of precedence of sovereign's great-grandchildren
Rank Title Remarks
Mom Chao Mom Chao (หม่อมเจ้า) His Serene Highness, Prince (Princess) For children of the sovereign's grandchildren in the class of Phra Chao Lanh Thor Phra Ong Chao (HRH, Prince)
Mom Rajawongse Mom Rajawongse (หม่อมราชวงศ์) Mom Rajawongse For children of the sovereign's grandchildren in the class of Phra Lanh Thor Phra Ong Chao (HH Prince) and Mom Chao (HSH Prince). They are not members of the royal family.
More distant royal progeny, starting from the children of male Mom
Chao, are considered commoners. However, these commoners have titles
indicating that their ancestry can be traced back to a king.
Mom Rajawongse (หม่อมราชวงศ์, RTGS: Mom
Ratchawong; abbreviated in Thai as ม.ร.ว. and in English as M.
R. and translated as "The Honourable") is the title assumed by
children of male Mom Chao M.C.(English) M.C. After first name
Informally, they may be called Khun Chai (male) or Khun Ying (female)
(คุณชาย.../คุณหญิง...). Holders of this
title are occasionally erroneously referred to as princes or
princesses in older English documents; it is now more common to use
the correct title, "Mom Rajawongse".
Mom Luang (หม่อมหลวง, abbreviated in Thai ม.ล.
and sometimes in English as M. L. and translated as "The Honourable")
are the last royal descendants retaining a title. Mom Luang titles are
conferred on children of male Mom Rajawongse. Colloquially (although
incorrectly), they are sometimes addressed as "Mom"; the correct
informal address is "Khun" (คุณ).nlk
In the Family Name Act, B. E. 2465,
Chao Fa, HRH Princess of Thailand: Tunkramom Ying (daughter of the sovereign with the queen)
Tunkramom Ying Ubolratana Rajakunya, formerly Somdet Phra Chao Luk Thoe Chao Fa Ubolratana Rajakunya
Chao Fa, HRH Princess of Thailand: Somdet Ying (daughter of the sovereign with the royal consort) Phra Ong Chao, HRH Princess of Thailand: Sadet Phra Ong Ying (daughter of the sovereign with the concubine) Phra Ong Chao, HRH Princess of Thailand: Phra Ong Ying (daughter of the son of the sovereign with the queen and his royal consort) Phra Ong Chao, HH Princess of Thailand: Than Phra Ong Ying (daughter of the son of the sovereign who was elevated from Mom Chao to Phra Ong Chao) Mom Chao, HSH Princess of Thailand: Than Ying (daughter of the son of the sovereign and his consort, or great-granddaughter of the sovereign)
However, Chao Fa
Somdet Phra (สมเด็จพระ): Highest rank of royal
peerage, usually granted to the Queen Mother, Princess Mother and Maha
Uparaj. Somdet Phra was created by
Amarindra Borommarachini: HM Queen Amarindra, Queen Mother
Somdet Phra Sri Sulalai: HRH Princess Sri Sulalai, Princess Mother of
Somdet Phra Bowararat Chao Maha Sura Singhanat: HRH Prince Maha Sura
Singhanat, Maha Uparaj of
The sovereign may grant titles to other royal-family members:
Somdet Phra Prathom Borom Ratchachonok: HRH Prince Father of
Civil and military peerage Men These titles were given only to men and were not inheritable, similar to a life peerage. European equivalents were also used on diplomatic missions. Although all are obsolete, Phan and Nai have modern meanings. Civil and military peerage had the following order of precedence:
Somdet Chao Phraya: Awarded under extraordinary circumstances only to those with great achievements, Somdet Chao Phraya is equivalent to royal peerage. Four people in Siamese history have received this title.
Somdet Chao Phraya Maha Kshatriyas Suek: Granted by King
Chao Phraya (เจ้าพระยา): Conferred on the most-senior commissioned officer by a royal letter of appointment. Holders are informally addressed and referred to as "Chao Khun" (เจ้าคุณ). It has three classes:
Gold Class (engraved title on gold leaf): For ministers who are Mom Rajawongse or Mom Luang; also awarded to commoners. Silver Class (engraved title on silver leaf): For ministers who are commoners and other honorees Regular Class
Phraya (พระยา): Conferred on commissioned officers who were permanent secretary of a ministry, director-general, governor of an important city, commander-in-chief or chancellor of a royal office (Krom Phraya). Phra (พระ): Conferred on commissioned officers who were Mom Rajawongse and the Chancellor of the Royal Office (Kromma Phra) Luang (หลวง): Conferred on junior-level commissioned officers and the Chancellor of the Royal Office Khun (ขุน): Conferred on senior non-commissioned officers and the Chancellor of the Royal Office Muen (หมื่น): Conferred on non-commissioned officers and the Chancellor of the Royal Office Phan (พัน ): The lowest rank, conferred on non-commissioned officers
Note: Chao Khun (เจ้าคุณ) equivalent to Lord in British terminology, used as a generic term to denote peerages of Phra, Phraya and Chao Phraya Women These titles were given only to women, and were non-hereditary. They were ordered as follows:
Than Phu Ying (ท่านผู้หญิง, High Lady) conferred on wives of Somdet Chao Phraya and Chao Phraya. Their title was Than Phu Ying plus her husband's honorific; for example, Than Phu Ying Yommaraj (Wife of Chao Phraya Yommaraj). When her husband died, the title changed to Than Phu Ying + name + husband's honorific; for example, Than Phu Ying Talab Yommaraj (Dowager of Chao Phraya Yommaraj; obsolete). Still conferred on married women, who are Dame Grand Commander of the Order of Chula Chom Klao. Khun Ying (คุณหญิง, Lady) was conferred on wives of Phraya. The title was Khun Ying + husband's honorific; for example, Khun Ying Anuman Rajadhon (Wife of Phraya Anuman Rajadhon). When her husband died, her title changed to Khun Ying + name + husband's honorific; for example, Khun Ying Lamai Anuman Rajadhon (Dowager of Phraya Anuman Rajadhon). Still conferred on married women who are Commander,
Companion or Member of the Order of Chula Chom Klao. If a woman is Mom Rajawongse or Mom Luang, she does not use Khun Ying.
Khun (คุณ) conferred on unmarried woman appointed to Commander, Companion and Member of Order of Chula Chom Klao. Than Ying (ท่านหญิง) is an informal title for Nang that used to be Mom Chao, but married to a lower status man. They can be promoted to higher titles by receiving higher class of the Order of Chula Chom Klao. Nang (นาง) was conferred on wives of nobility below Phra.
Peerage of Courtier Men
Chao Muen (เจ้าหมื่น): Was conferred on a Lord Steward; above Phra and below Phraya. Chamuen (จมื่น): Was conferred on the Chief-Commander of Royal Guard; above Phra and below Phraya. Thao: Was conferred on a Lord Steward; above Luang and below Phra. (Obsolete) Luang Mae Chao (จ่า): Was conferred on Senior Pages; equivalent to Luang. Nai Hum Phrae (นาย หุ้มแพร): Was conferred on Senior Pages; equivalent to Khun. Nai Rong Hum Phrae (นายรอง หุ้มแพร): Was conferred on Junior Pages; equivalent to Muen.
Women Chao Khun (เจ้าคุณ), Thao (ท้าว), Luang Mae Chao (หลวงแม่เจ้า), and Cha (จ่า) are all obsolete. Khun (courtesy title) Khun (คุณ), a courtesy title pronounced with a middle tone, should not be confused with the similarly-spelled tree or the feudal title of Khun (ขุน, pronounced in a rising tone). The courtesy title is used for children born to a noble mother who gave up her title to marry a man of lesser rank; a notable example was the late Khun Poom Jensen. Today, this word is used informally to courteously address nearly anyone except those who hold a title of Mom Rajawongse or higher. It is T-V distinct from thoe (เธอ). See also
Indian honorifics, many South and Southeast Asian honorifics derive
from Indian influence
Malay styles and titles
Filipino styles and honorifics
Thai military ranks
Mandala (Southeast Asian history)
^ Roberts, Edmund (12 October 2007) [First published in 1837].
"Chapter XIX―titles of the king". Embassy to the Eastern courts of
Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat: in the U. S. sloop-of-war Peacock ...
during the years 1832-3-4. Harper & brothers. pp. 301–303.
Retrieved 25 April 2012.
^ Acharya, Amitav. "The "Indianization of Southeast Asia" Revisited:
Initiative, Adaptation and Transformation in Classical Civilizations"
^ Coedes, George (1967). The Indianized States of Southeast Asia.
Australian National University Press.
^ Lukas, Helmut (May 21–23, 2001). "1 THEORIES OF
INDIANIZATIONExemplified by Selected Case Studies from Indonesia
(Insular Southeast Asia)". International SanskritConference. CS1
maint: Date format (link)
^ Krom, N.J. (1927). Barabudur, Archeological Description. The
^ a b Smith, Monica L. (1999). ""INDIANIZATION" FROM THE INDIAN POINT
OF VIEW: TRADE AND CULTURAL CONTACTS WITH SOUTHEAST ASIA IN THE EARLY
FIRST MILLENNIUM C.E.')" (PDF). Journal of the Economic and Social
History of the Orient,. 42. (11-17).
^ Krishna Chandra Sagar, 2002, An Era of Peace, Page 52.
^ Bodinthrathepphayawarangkun (conventionally Bodindradebayavarangkun)
is a temporary name that will be used prior to King Vajiralongkorn's
^ "คนไทยรักนายหลวง" [
Jones Robert B., 1971, Thai Titles and Ranks, Including a Translation
of Royal Lineage in Siam by King Chulalongkorn, Data Paper No. 81.
Pronunciation of Thai royal and noble titles at www.forvo.com
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