Life in the grand palace
A recently discovered 50-year-old manuscript gives us a fascinating glimpse into life in the Grand Palace during the reign of King Chulalongkorn.
Six months after the publication of her biography Siamese Memoirs: The Life and Times of Pimsai Svasti
last year, two additional boxes of the author’s writings and notes were found by her family, some unpublished, including this article written some 50 years ago based on an interview with Princess Chongchitrathanom Diskul
, a daughter of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab
'Life in the Palace was very dull. Apart from the crazeswe had for bicycling and photography and playing croquet, there wasn't much amusement. Physically it was very uncomfortable.
There were thousands of women and children inside the palace, living in hundreds of buildings of various sizes made of brick or wood according to the importance and standingof the owner of the house.
There was no running water or sewage system. The refuseand waste matter had to be carried out in buckets. In spite of this everyone was very clean. We washed many times a day in water scented by floating jasmine in it. We kept ourselves cool by covering ourselves with kaolinmixed into a paste with Siamese scent'.