09.06.

1946: Mysterious Death of a Young King

1946: Mysterious Death of a Young King
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ Portrait photograph of King Ananda Mahidol of Siam, now Thailand

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 9 June 1946
  • On this day, at around 9 : 20 in the morning, a gunshot rang out from the king's bedroom. The page Chit Singhaseni found the king dead.

On this day in 1946, King of Thailand Ananda Mahidol was found dead in his bed with a bullet hole in his head.

This case is among the greatest mysteries of the 20th century. It is still unclear whether it was a suicide or the king was murdered. If he was murdered, which seems likely, there are some doubts about whether it was a deliberate or accidental murder.

Ananda Mahidol was the older brother of current King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It was precisely Bhumibol, then prince, who was the last person to see the king alive. On this day, at around 9:20 in the morning, a gunshot rang out from the king’s bedroom. The page Chit Singhaseni found the king dead.

At the time of his death King Ananda Mahidol was 20 (his brother Bhumibol Adulyadej, who succeeded him, was two years younger). It is interesting that Ananda Mahidol was born in the German city of Heidelberg, and Bhumibol Adulyadej at Harvard in the United States (their father stayed at both of these places while he was a medical student).

Ananda Mahidol became king when he was only nine years old. He was the King of Thailand during the troubled times of World War II. It is interesting that during the war he did not reside in Thailand, but mainly in Switzerland. He returned to Thailand after the war, and he spent only about half a year in his kingdom before he died.

There are many theories about what happened in the King’s room on that morning. The likelihood that he shot himself, either deliberately or accidentally, is small. There is even an opinion that it was a game in which the gun accidentally went off. It is also possible that the young king was murdered by an external agent. In any case, it is forensically quite interesting, but the problem is that because of the great political significance of that death, it is difficult to expect objective evidence. Let us add that the current Thai King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, (brother of the dead king), is, according to some estimates, the richest monarch in the world.

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