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Royal Flags (Thailand)

Last modified: 2005-12-03 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: thailand | royal | garuda | phya khrut | mythical creature |
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Centered on all of the royal flags is the arms of Thailand. Introduced in 1910, these arms consist of the great mythical being known as the Garuda which is part man and part bird. It is a protective spirit and "the bearer of the god of bravery". The yellow field associated with all of these flags represents Buddhism.

The royal flags of Thailand have a distinctive pattern. The flags of male members of the royal house are square. The female royal members' flags are identical with those of the corresponding male members; however, the fly of their flags are split like a burgee.

The King's flag has the Garuda on a square, yellow field while the Queen's flag is a yellow swallowtailed flag with the Garuda. The Crown Prince's flag places the Garuda on a yellow panel in the middle of a blue field. The Crown Princess' flag places the panel on a blue swallowtailed flag. All other Princes place the Garuda on a yellow disk which is centered on a blue field. The same disk on a blue burgee is the flag of Princesses who are the King's daughters.

Assuming no changes to the law, there are also [broad] pennants that are assigned to each category of royalty. The form of the pennant is a square reproduction of the male member's flag in the hoist while the rest of the pennant has a split tail. The differentiation between male and female royalty is color of the rest of the pennant. The rest of the pennant is white for male royalty and red for female royalty. For example, the pennant of the King is a miniature King's flag with a white tail. The Queen's pennant has a miniature of the King's flag with a red tail.

Sources: Flaggenbuch 1939, Smith 1980; Crampton 1989; Crampton 1990.

Calvin Paige Herring, 15 May 1998

According to Flaggenbuch 1939 the proportions of all the royal broad pennants —see for instance the king's and queen's broad pennants— are:

  • height and width of the square (hoist) area: 60 units
  • length of tapering fly: 420 units
  • depth of swallowtail cut: 180 units
  • distance between both ends of the swallowtail: 30 units
which match quite well the (incomplete) data given by the Singha Beer source.

Santiago Dotor, 5 July 2001

Phya Khrut or Royal Garuda

[Garuda (Thailand)]
by Calvin Paige Herring

The Garuda is a mythical figure with a human torso and arms, a demonic face and a bird's legs, wings and tail. It is dressed in gold, with a crown, bracelets, armbands, a necklace and a girdle or loin cloth. The lower half of the legs are also gold.

Nathan Augustine, 8 April 1996

Garuda, incidentally, is originally a Hindu god, a combination bird / human creature. There is a whole legend behind his birth and doings.

Dipesh Navsaria, 10 April 1996

Garuda is a mythical bird with the head and wings of a phoenix and the body and limbs of a man. He is said to be the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. He plays an important role in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. In countries like Thailand, where the national religion is Buddhism, Garuda is revered as a deity. In Indonesia and Malaysia, he plays an important role in Malay folklore although the two countries are mainly Muslim. This is because the Malay Archipelago used to be Hindu before the coming of Islam (Srivijaya and Majapahit dynasty).

Giuseppe Bottasini, 13 August 1997

The Royal Standard is embellished with a Phya-Khrut. Phya translates to 'king', 'ruler', 'lord'. Khrut translates to Garuda; i.e. "a mythical bird with a human body and head, wings and talons of an eagle". The Phya Khrut is the national symbol of Thailand, and is such is to be displayed and handled with respect and care. Those few businesses —by definition large and influential ones— that display the Phya Khrut on the front of their buildings are privileged to do so as a consequence of explicit approval by the Thai government.

Riley B. VanDyke, 22 June 1998

Kings of the Chakri Dinasty

The list of Their Majesties of the Chakri Dynasty is as follows:

Name                                Date of reign
----                                -------------
King Rama I                         April 6, 1782 -     September 7, 1809
King Rama II                        September 7, 1809 - July 21,1824
King Rama III                       July 21, 1824 -     April 2, 1851
King Mongkut [Rama IV]              April 2, 1851 -     October 1, 1868
King Chulalongkorn [Rama V]         October 1, 1868 -   October 23, 1910
King Vajiravudh [Rama VI]           October 23, 1910 -  November 26, 1925
King Prajadhipok [Rama VII]         November 26, 1925 - March 2, 1935
King Ananda Mahidol [Rama VIII]     March 2, 1935 -     June 9, 1946
King Bhumibol Adulyadej [Rama IX]   June 9, 1946 -      present day

Wisarut Bholsithi, 1 January 2000

Editor's note: see also The Illustrious Chakri Family at the Mahidol University website.

Regarding Personal flags of Royal Family members, Russia (16xx-1917): these royal standards bear so many similarities in design with the set of Thai royal flags adopted in 1911 that I wonder whether they were based on the Russian ones.

Santiago Dotor, 7 October 2002