His Majesty the King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V) was born on September 20th September 1853 into the royal family of King Mongkut (Rama IV) and Somdej Phrathep Sirindhraboromarajini (Phra-ongchao Rampuiepamarapirom). His original name was Somdej Phrachaolukyather Chaofaa Chulalongkorn. He was the favorite son of King Rama IV and always joined both long and short trips to aeay with King Rama IV. Once he grew up he was responsible for all assigned missions throughout his Kingdom.
He was first educated by Kromluang Worasethasuda who was highly qualified in general knowledge and royal customs and traditions. He studied everything required for the Crown Prince i.e. Pali Language taught by Phra Pariyattidhammadhada (Pium) from the Scholar Society. He learnt shooting sports from Phraya Apaisornplerng (Sri), wresting and artistery from Luang Pholyothanuyok (Rung), horse from Momchao Singhanart and elephants riding from Krompraya Bamrabporapak. However, King Rama IV gave him personal training in administration, classical Thai traditions and archaeology.
In 1861, King Rama IV bestowed on him a higher title of “Somdej Phrachaolukyather Chaofaa Chulalongkorn”. He was then taught English by a native English speaking teacher, Mrs. Anna Leonowens, until he ordained as a novice monk.
In 1866, after having disrobed, he was taught by Dr. Chandalay, an American missionary. Meanwhile, he was also trained in general affairs – every night and day – in matters of emergency, so that he could gain hands-on experiences in real life issies. For example, he listened to King Rama IV’s discussion with Senior Ministers such as Somdej Chaopraya Borommahasrisuriyawong. Thus he learned good governance from childhood. In 1865, King Rama III died and the status of Chaofaa Chulalongkorn was raised to that of Crown Prince. This prompted him to prepare for the role of Future King. He again was given an even higher title, “Kromkhunphinitprachanart” and took control of the Department of the Royal Guard’s, Palace Security and the Treasury.
In 1868, after the demise of King Rama IV, all senior ministers and royal noblemen agreed that Chaofaa Chulalongkorn should ascend the Throne. He was granted the throne on 1st October 1868 with the title of King Rama V of the Chakri Dynasty. But it wasn’t until the 11th November 1868 that King Rama V officially ascended the Throne. As he was only 15 years old, he reigned the guidance of the Regent, Somdej Chaophraya Borommahasrisuriyawong, the foremost nobleman. He regularly presided over the royal ceremonies and events and also chaired administrative meetings to learn further state matters from the Regent. His skillful management, appropriate execution, consistency and positive attitude brought him great acceptance, high cooperation, and wholehearted gratitude throughout 42 years of his reign.
In 1873, at the age of 20, he was ordained as a monk for 15 days. Thus His Majesty the King Rama V was the first king of Rattanakosin Period to become a monk.
On the 12th November 1873 he was officially crowned as King Chulalongkorn and immediately abolished the act of prostration during the ceremony, as he that it was no longer practical because of the changing nature of Thai society. King Rama V also conferred on Chaophraya Borommaha Srisuriyawong a higher title of “Somdej Chaophraya Borommahasrisuriyawong”.
His Majesty the country for 42 years and became the longest reigning monarch. He passed away on 23rd October 1910 at the age of 58.
It is well worth mentioning that he successfully peacefully to abolish slavery in 1905. His Majesty King Rama V initiated enormous reforms in state law, civil organization, education and religion.