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The Royal Regalia

The major royal regalia, or the Five Royal Regalia, are regarded as the most important symbols of kingship presented to the new monarch at the coronation ceremony. They include (1) the Great Crown of Victory (Phra Maha Phichai Mongkut), (2) the Royal Sword of Victory (Phra Saeng Khan Chaisi), (3) the Royal Scepter (Than Phra Khon), (4) the Royal Fan and Fly Whisk (Walawichani), and (5) the Royal Slippers (Chalong Phrabat Choeng Ngon).

The Great Crown of Victory is the royal regalia in the category of royal accessories presented to the monarch by the Chief Brahmin, Phra Maha Ratchakhru, in the coronation ceremony. This royal accessory was made during the reign of King Rama I. It is inlaid with gold and studded with nine precious gemstones; the biggest one, embedded on top, is named Maha Wichian Mani. In the past, the crown was no more significant than other regalia. But later, King Rama IV decided to follow the practice of the European royal households; the dignity of the king was recognized when he was wearing a crown. Since then, the Great Crown of Victory has become the most important item in the royal regalia.

The Royal Sword of Victory is the royal regalia in the category of royal weapons, presented to the monarch by the Chief Brahmin in the coronation ceremony after the Great Crown of Victory. It represents wisdom in ruling the country. The story has been told that the sword was found in 1784 by a Cambodian fisherman at the very bottom of a lake in Siem Reap. The sword is believed to belong to the ancient Khmer Empire. The then ruler of Siem Reap presented the sword to King Rama I.

The Royal Scepter is the royal regalia in the category of royal articles of use presented to the monarch by the Chief Brahmin in the coronation ceremony, following the Royal Sword of Victory. Also referred to as the Royal Staff, it is made of cassia wood, entirely gold plated. The head is in the shape of a young lotus flower, strengthened at the neck of the hand rest by steel, carved in vine and floral patterns.

The Royal Fan and Fly Whisk are the royal regalia in the category of royal articles of use presented to the monarch by the Chief Brahmin in the coronation ceremony, following the Royal Scepter. Walawichani has been used as the name for both a fan and a fly whisk. The Royal Fan is made of a palm leaf, with a gold frame. The original Fly Whisk was made of yak’s hair, set in a glass handle. In the reign of King Rama IV, yak’s hair was replaced with the hair from white elephant’s tail. Today, the Fly Whisk made of white elephant’s tail hair is used in the ceremony.

The Royal Slippers are royal regalia in the category of royal articles of use put on the feet of the monarch by the Chief Brahmin in the coronation ceremony as the final items. They are made of enameled gold, decorated with precious gems. The soles are lined with red velvet. King Rama I had the up-turned slippers made as part of the royal regalia, following an ancient Indian belief.

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