Dhani Nivat

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Dhani Nivat
Prince of Siam
Prince Bidyalabh Bridhyakon
Prince Dhani Nivat.jpg
Regent of Thailand
In office 12 March 1951 - 19 December 1952
27 May - 6 June 1963
9 July - 14 July 1963
Appointed King Bhumibol Adulyadej
President of the Privy Council
In office 12 March 1951 - 8 September 1974
Appointed King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Predecessor Prince Rangsit Prayurasakdi
Successor Dej Snidvongs
Minister of Public Instruction
In office 3 August 1926 - 10 December 1932
Prime Minister Phraya Manopakorn Nititada
Predecessor Thammasakmontri
Successor Thammasakmontri
Born (1885-11-07)7 November 1885
Bangkok, Siam
Died 8 September 1974(1974-09-08) (aged 88)
Bangkok, Thailand
Spouse Prayoon Sonakul na Ayutthaya (née Sukhum)
Issue 3 Children
House Chakri Dynasty
Father Prince Bidyalabh Pruethidhada
Mother Am Sonakul Na Ayutthaya

Dhani Nivat, the Prince Bidyalabh Bridhyakon (Thai: พระวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าธานีนิวัต กรมหมื่นพิทยลาภพฤฒิยากร) was a member of the Chakri dynasty and Thai courtier. Previously known as Mom Chao Dhaninivat Sonakul (หม่อมเจ้าธานีนิวัต โสณกุล), he received princely rank in 1922. Prince Dhani served many Thai monarchs as Minister of Education and as President of the Privy Council, in the latter capacity he acted as regent for King Bhumibol Adulyadej on three separate occasions. The prince was also known for his academic writings on Thai history and culture. He served as president of the Siam Society for over 20 years.


Early life

Mom Chao Dhaninivat Sonakul was born on 7 November 1885, the eldest son of Prince Sonabandhit, the Prince Bidyalabh Pruethidhada and Am Sonakul Na Ayutthaya (née Kuntholchinda). Prince Sonabandhit was the 62nd son of King Mongkut and Consort Vad. His father was the first Siamese military attaché in London. As Prince Dhaninivat was born right after the end of his father's posting abroad his name meant "Returning to the City" (of Bangkok).[1]

The prince was raised in the Inner Court of the Grand Palace, where his grandmother was Mistress of the Robes. In 1898 at the age of 13, Prince Dhaninivat was ordained as a Samanera or novice monk in the Buddhist Sangha, as was customary for all Thai males. However as a royal prince his ordination service was carried out at the chapel royal (Wat Phra Kaew). In 1909 he became a full fledge Bhikkhu monk under Vajirananavarorasa and resided with him at Wat Bowonniwet.[2]

His father insisted he continued his studies abroad. After leaving the monkhood he went to England and under King Chulalongkorn's sponsorship studied at Rugby School. He then went on to study Oriental Languages at Oxford University (namely Pali and Sanskrit) and graduated with second-class honours.[1]

Government service

The prince returned to Siam and began working at the Ministry of the Interior under Prince Damrong Rajanubhab. He was sent up country and became chief of the administrative bureau of the Circle of Ayutthaya. During the reign of King Vajiravudh he was appointed Private Secretary to Queen Saovabha Phongsri, the mother of the king. After the queen mother's death in 1919, he became the king's secretary of foreign correspondence, as well as clerk of the Cabinet Council and Secretary of the Privy Council.[1] In 1922 he was elevated to the higher princely rank of Phra Ong Chao; thus becoming Phra Worawongse Ther Phra Ong Chao Dhani Nivat (พระวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าธานีนิวัต).[3]

In the reign of King Prajadhipok he was appointed acting-Minister of Education after the resignation of Chaophraya Thammasakmontri, afterwards he took over the ministry as its principal minister on 3 August 1926.[4][5] After the Siamese revolution of 1932, the prince and all members of the extended royal family was removed from the government by the Khana Ratsadon (the People's party). Chaophraya Thammasakmontri took over the Ministry of Education once more under the constitutional government. Prince Dhani then retired from government service.[1]


On 25 March 1950 he became a privy councillor to King Bhumibol Adulyadej.[6] When the king decided to return to Switzerland for further education, he appointed Prince Rangsit Prayurasakdi, the Prince of Chainat the Regent of Thailand, and asked Prince Dhani Nivat to become President of the Privy Council of Thailand in his stead, he was appointed on 4 June 1950.[7] On the 8 May 1950, the king in commemoration of his own coronation ceremony, in which Prince Dhani played a major part, granted to the prince a further honour of "Krom" rank retitling him: Phra Worawongse Ther Krom Muen Bidyalabh Bridhyakon (พระวรวงศ์เธอ กรมหมื่นพิทยลาภพฤฒิยากร).[8] On 7 March 1951 Prince Rangsit died. The king again asked Prince Dhani Nivat to succeed him, this time as the regent. He was appointed on the 12 March 1951.[9] After the king's permanent return to Thailand in 1952, the prince continued to serve as president of the Privy Council.[10]

The prince served as regent twice more, both in 1963. Firstly from 27 May to 6 June, when the king made a state visit to Japan and the Republic of China.[11] And from 9 July to 14 July during his visit to the Philippines.[12]

Prince Dhani Nivat died on the 8 September 1974 at the age of 88. He was married to Prayoon Sonakul na Ayutthaya (née Sukhum), daughter of Phraya Yommarat (Pun Sukhum). They have three children.

Selected works

Titles and honours

Standard of the Regent of Thailand.


  • 1885: Mom Chao Dhaninivat Sonakul
  • 1922: His Highness Prince Dhani Nivat
  • 1950: His Royal Highness Prince Dhani Nivat, Prince Bidyalabh Bridhyakon


Foreign honours

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Sivaraksa, Sivaraksa (October 29, 1985). "The Last of The Princes" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. 74: 157–168. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Announcement on royal ordinations" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 26 (0 ง): 919–924. April 1, 1909. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Announcemet on the elevation of royal, princely and noble ranks" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 39 (0 ก): 317–320. May 9, 1950. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Royal Decree on the Appointment of the Minister of Public Instruction" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 43 (0 ก): 269–270. April 4, 1926. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Royal Decree on the Appointment of Ministers" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 43 (0 ก): 722–723. March 20, 1926. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Announcement on the appointment of new Privy Councillor" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 67 (18 ก): 400. March 28, 1950. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Royal Decree on the Appointment of the President of the Privy Council" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 67 (32 ก): 646–647. June 6, 1950. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Announcemet on the elevation of royal, princely and noble ranks" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 39 (0 ก): 317–320. May 9, 1950. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Announcement on the appointment of the Regent" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 68: 204. March 20, 1951. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Royal Decree on the Appointment of Privy Councillors" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 69 (27 ก): 640–641. April 29, 1952. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Announcement on the appointment of the Regent" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 80 (52): 25. May 24, 1963. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Announcement on the appointment of the Regent" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 80 (5): 8. July 8, 1963. Retrieved July 20, 2017. 
  • "Dhani Nivas Bidyalabh Bridhyakorn, H.R.H. Prince" in Gerald W. Fry, Gayla S. Nieminen, Harold E. Smith, Historical Dictionary of Thailand, 3a ed. (Scarecrow Press, 2013) p. 136 Selected pages at Google Books
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