The Biography of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana (The Founder of the POSN Foundation)

Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, King Bhumibol’s only sister, is the founder and the first president of the POSN Foundation. She was born the first child of Prince Mahidol and Princess Srinakarindra at 23:07 hour on Sunday 6th, May 1923 (A.D) at No.48 Lexham Gardens, London, England. Her name in the birth certificate for the newborn is “May”, the month of her birth. Her only two brothers later become kings, namely, King Rama VIII (King Ananda Mahidol) and King Rama IX (King Bhumibol Adulyadej).

Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana

According to our royal tradition, she was (after her birth) given the title Her Serene Highness by King Rama VI (King Vajiravudh). In the year 1927 King Rama VII (King Prajadhipok) granted her the title Her Royal Highness. On January 10th, 1931, King Rama VIII proclaimed her the King’s Sister. At the age of 72 (6 zodiac cycles) on May 6th, 1995, King Rama IX made her Kromluang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra and the Royal Aunt of King Rama X (the present King Vajiralongkorn).

Education wise, Her Royal Highness was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry by the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, for the academic year 1948. She returned to Thailand in 1950 to take up the position of Professor of French at Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Arts until the year 1958. Later, in 1969, she accepted the professorship at Thammasat University Faculty of Arts as the Head of Department of French Language and History, and concurrently as the Director of the Institute of French. She resigned in 1976 due to the multitude of her royal duties but still gave special lectures from time to time at Thammasat and other universities. In January 1978 she was made by King Rama IX the Extraordinary Professorship of Thammasat.

Her Royal Highness was married to Colonel Aram Rattanakul Serireongrit. They had on daughter Lady Dhasanawalaya who is now married to Mr. Sinthu  Sornsongkram. Their only son is Captian Jitas Sornsongkram.

Princess Galyani Vadhana was in later years involved in science and mathematics development in schools across the country. She deemed it fundamentally essential for continuing higher education. She provided both financial and moral support for our nation’s international science and mathematics Olympiad effort.

Thailand first participated in the 30th Mathematical Olympiad in then West Germany in the year 1989. The selection and training process, the participation fees, and the travel fares were costly. The project was then not yet governmentally supported. The Science Society of Thailand which was then responsible for the project had to seek financial support from private sectors.

When heard of this financial difficulty, Her Royal Highness promptly made available the amount required for and offered to be the patron of the project (the competition) which she envisaged that in a long run would raise student’s scientific and mathematical capabilities towards those of so-called international standard. She often enquired about the progress of the Olympiad competitions and expressed he concern about the future prospect of project. Eventually in the year 1998 she provided the necessary fund for Professor Sakda  Siripant, then the President of the Thai Science Society, to establish the POSN Foundation (The Promotion of Academic Olympiad and Development of Science Education Foundation under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana) over which she presided as its first president.

The aim of the POSN Foundation is to raise the standard of science and mathematics achievements nationwide to that of international level. The effort would lead to more and more able students being recruited into the Olympiad projects. This is a kind of long-lasting and sustainable development for the country. On June 15th, 2007, Her Royal Highness was diagnosed with abnormal abdominal symptoms and admitted to our cherished Siriraj Hospital. Her conditions however continually worsened and she passed away on January 2nd, 2008, at 02.54 hour at the age of 84. Her niece, Her royal Highness Princess Maha chakri Sirindhorn graciously succeeded her as the patron and the president of the POSN Foundation as of July 6th, 2008.