by Susan Flantzer
© Unofficial Royalty 2023
Princess Sirivannavari of Thailand is the only daughter and the youngest of the five children of King Vajiralongkorn of Thailand and Sujarinee Vivacharawongse, as she is now known, a consort and then the second of the king’s four wives. Princess Sirivannavari was born Chao Busyanambejra Mahidol on January 8, 1987, in Bangkok, Thailand. At the time of her birth and the birth of her siblings, her father was Crown Prince of Thailand and was married to his first cousin Soamsawali Kitiyakaram known as Princess Soamsawali. Sirivannavari’s mother was her father’s unmarried consort. Using the stage name Yuwathida Suraswadee, Sirivannavari’s mother became an actress in 1977 when she was fifteen years old, starring in television dramas and movies. She was introduced to the then Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and became the Crown Prince’s consort. In August 1979, Sujarinee announced her retirement from acting.
Sirivannavari has four elder brothers:
- Juthavachara Vivacharawongse (born 1979)
- Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse (born 1981)
- Chakriwat Vivacharawongse (born 1983)
- Vatcharawee Vivacharawongse (born 1985)
Sirivannavari has an elder half-sister from her father’s first of four marriages to his first cousin Soamsawali Kitiyakaram known as Princess Soamsawali:
Sirivannavari has a younger half-brother from her father’s third of four marriages to Srirasm Suwadi, formerly Princess Srirasm of Thailand:
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s first wife Princess Soamsawali refused divorce for many years, but in 1993, the Crown Prince sued for divorce in the family court. He accused Princess Soamsawali of being completely at fault for the failed marriage. She was not able to refute any of the charges because of lèse-majesté in Thailand. It is illegal to defame, insult, or threaten the king, queen, heir-apparent, heir-presumptive, or regent of Thailand. The penalty for committing lèse-majesté is three to fifteen years in prison for each count. The divorce was finalized in July 1993.
In February 1994, Sirivannavari’s parents were married. The Crown Prince’s father King Bhumibol Adulyadej and paternal grandmother Princess Srinagarindra attended the wedding but his mother Queen Sirikit, who was also the aunt of his first wife Princess Soamsawali, did not attend. After the wedding, the bride’s name was changed to Sujarinee Mahidol na Ayudhya, signifying she was a commoner married to a royal. Sujarinee was commissioned as a major in the Royal Thai Army and took part in royal ceremonies with Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.
In 1996, Sujarinee fled to the United Kingdom with her five children. The Crown Prince accused her of adultery and managed to retrieve his daughter Sirivannavari and bring her back to Thailand. Sujarinee and her four sons were stripped of their royal titles and her marriage to the Crown Prince was dissolved. After the end of her marriage, Sujarinee and her sons used the royal surname Vivacharawongse and lived in the United States.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, Sirivannavari’s paternal grandfather, gave her the name Sirivannavari and the style and title Her Royal Highness Princess of Thailand. She was educated at Chitralada School which was established by King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the grounds of the Dusit Palace, the residence of the King of Thailand in Bangkok. Many members of the Thai royal family attend the Chitralada School. Sirivannavari studied fashion and textile design at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In addition, she has a Masters degree from École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in Paris, France, a higher education institution that provides education in the field of fashion and haute couture techniques.
Sirivannavari with the models wearing her designs at Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2008
In 2007, Sirivannavari was invited by Pierre Balmain, French fashion designer and founder of the fashion house Balmain, to present a fashion show at Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2008 at the Paris Opera House. Pierre Balmain had designed outfits for Queen Sirikit of Thailand, Sirivannavari’s grandmother, for her 1960 tour of the United States. Sirivannavari’s debut Paris collection was titled Presence of the Past and was influenced by memories of her grandmother Queen Sirikit with a modern interpretation of traditional Thai costume. Princess Sirivannavari has her own clothing brand, “Sirivannavari” and has a brand of personal home decor named “Sirivannavari Maison”.
Sirivannavari competing in the badminton event of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games
Besides being interested in fashion, Sirivannavari was also an elite athlete. She represented Thailand in badminton at the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, winning a team gold medal. Sirivannavari also competed as an equestrian athlete representing Thailand in the 2013 Southeast Asia Games, the 2017 Southeast Asia Games, winning a team silver medal, in the 2014 Asian Games, and in the 2019 Asian Riding Championships, winning a gold medal.
King Vajiralongkorn (2nd right), Queen Suthida (2nd left), Princess Sirivannavari (left), Princess Bajrakitiyabha (center), and the royal noble consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani (right), attend a ceremony to commemorate the birthday of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand on December 5, 2020
In 2016, Princess Sirivannavari’s father Vajiralongkorn became King of Thailand upon the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Princess Sirivannavari is eligible to be the heir to the throne of Thailand but none of her brothers are. In Thailand, the Palace Law of Succession gives the sovereign the sole power and prerogative to designate any descendant of the royal family as heir to the throne. The sovereign has the sole power and prerogative to remove the heir to the throne from his or her position. However, King Vajiralongkorn has yet to name an heir to the throne. If the sovereign dies with no heir designated, there is a line of succession, and the chief state official invites the first in the line of succession to be sovereign.
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- Flantzer, Susan. (2023) Sujarinee Vivacharawongse, Unofficial Royalty. Available at: https://www.unofficialroyalty.com/sujarinee-vivacharawongse-consort-and-2nd-wife-of-king-vajiralongkorn-of-thailand/ (Accessed: February 14, 2023).
- Mehl, Scott. (2017) King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, Unofficial Royalty. Available at: https://www.unofficialroyalty.com/crown-prince-maha-vajiralongkorn-of-thailand/ (Accessed: February 14, 2023).
- Sirivannavari (2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirivannavari (Accessed: February 14, 2023).
- สมเด็จพระเจ้าลูกเธอ เจ้าฟ้าสิริวัณณวรี นารีรัตนราชกัญญา (Princess Sirivannavari) (2023) Wikipedia (in Thai). Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://th.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E0%B8%AA%E0%B8%A1%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%94%E0%B9%87%E0%B8%88%E0%B8%9E%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B0%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%88%E0%B9%89%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A5%E0%B8%B9%E0%B8%81%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%98%E0%B8%AD_%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%88%E0%B9%89%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%9F%E0%B9%89%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%AA%E0%B8%B4%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B4%E0%B8%A7%E0%B8%B1%E0%B8%93%E0%B8%93%E0%B8%A7%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B5_%E0%B8%99%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B5%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B1%E0%B8%95%E0%B8%99%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%8A%E0%B8%81%E0%B8%B1%E0%B8%8D%E0%B8%8D%E0%B8%B2 (Accessed: February 14, 2023).