- historical event:
- Before he became king he was a Buddhist monk and spent 27 years in celibate service. After this long period of celibacy, he became the king and decided to found an incredibly large royal family. He allegedly had over 3,000 women in his palace.
The most famous King of Thailand in history – Mongkut (Rama IV) was born on this day. The king became popular through the novel, film, and theater performance “Anna and the King”. Interestingly, the legendary English teacher Anna was a historical person. Her name was Ana Leonowens and she really did teach the children and wives of King Mongkut. She wrote her memoirs, according to which the American writer Margaret Landon wrote the novel “Anna and the King of Siam” many years later. The novel was published in 1944 and became very popular. It was sold in over one million copies and was translated into around 20 languages. Two years after the novel, a movie of the same name came out, with Rex Harrison as King Mongkut. The movie won two Oscars, and the story became so popular that even a Broadway musical was made about it, starring the famous Yul Brynner. He played King Mongkut an incredible 4,633 times before his death.
Yul Brynner also played the king in a 1956 movie, and received an Oscar for his role. The movie was called “The King and I” and won a total of 5 Oscars. Finally, a new version of the movie was made in 1999, titled “Anna and the King” and starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-fat.
The real King Mongkut inherited the throne at 47 years of age. It is interesting that he was previously a Buddhist monk and spent 27 years in celibate service. After this long period of celibacy, he became the king and decided to found an incredibly large royal family. He allegedly had over 3,000 women in his palace. He officially married 32 of them and had 82 children.
The Englishwoman Anna Leonowens really did spend six years at the Siamese court (Thailand was called Siam at that time), until the king died aged 63. Anna later moved to America and lived to be 83. She died in Montreal, Canada in 1915.