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The Royal Cremation of Major General Chao Ratchabut (Wongtawan Na Chiang Mai)
Chiang Mai University
Chao Ratchabut; Wongtawan Na Chiang Mai
Wongtawan Na Chiang Mai

             Their Majesties granted the royal cremation for Maj. Gen. Chao Ratchabut (Wongtawan Na Chiang Mai) at Suandok Temple crematorium of Chiang Mai Province on Saturday Janury 13, 1973.
             Maj. Gen. Chao Ratchabut (Wongtawan Na Chiang Mai) passed away on May 25, 1972 at Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital. Their Majesties happened to know about this so they kindly sent a wreath to pay respect to the deceased person at the funeral.
             At the royal cremation rite to honor the Major General and prince, His majesty also granted a mortuary urn and sponsored the alms offering at the funeral rite. On the cremation day, the urn was placed on the royal vehicle to procede from the Wongtawan Palace to Suandok Temple with the complete royal regalia worthy of the rank and status of the deceased prince. The procession passed around the crematorium three times before the urn was placed in the crematorium.
             Their Majesties presided over the ceremony after they presented the sets of monk’s robes dedicated to the deceased prince and the monks chanted, the royal funeral pyre was lit, led by Their Majesties, and the cremation rite proceeded accordingly (The Chronicles, Section 61, 1963, p.1).

The Biography of Maj. Gen. Chao Ratchabut (Wongtawan Na Chiang Mai)
             Maj. Gen. Chao Ratchabut (Wongtawan Na Chiang Mai), The Special Commander of the 7th Mixed Regiment, His Majesty the King’s Special Bodyguard, and former member of the Senate passed away at 12.10 a.m. on May 25, 1963 at Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital due to old age at the age of 86 years and 18 days. He was in the hospital for only 4 days as he had previously been in good health.
             Tracing back his lineage, it appears that all the members of his family had contributed a great deal to the country. And so did the prince who had proved himself to be like his ancestors and his family that has existed for as many as 300 years or more.
             The first of his lineage was Chao Phraya Surawaruechai Congkhram (Thipchang), the ruler of Lampang during the war with Burma. He was married to Princess Phimphathewi in 1742 and gave birth to Chao Fa Chaikaeo,, the ruler of Lampang who succeeded him. Prince Kaeo married Princess Chanta who gave birth to Chao Luang Sethakhamfan who also became the city ruler later, who gave birth to Chao Maha Phromkhamkhong who became Chao Ratchawong Chiang Mai and married Chao Buakham who gave birth to Chao Inthawidhayanon, the ruler of Chiang Mai, who married Major General Chao Kae Naowarat, the 9th ruler and the last one of Chiang Mai. Maj. Gen. Chao Kaeo Naowarat married Mae Chao Chamari who gave birth to Maj. Gen. Chao Ratchabut. Altogether the Na Chiang Mai family could make over one thousand members of the clan. It would be impossible to name all of them.
             Maj. Gen. Chao Ratchabut married Princess Chanthon whose maiden name was Na Chiang Mai. They had one daughter, Princess Wongchan. Later, he married Princess Phathra whose maiden name was Na Lamphun and had two daughters, Princess Phongkaeo and Princess Rawiphan. After that he married Mom Sinuan whose maiden name was Nanthakhwang of Lamphun Province. Mom Sinuan was one of the ladies of high honor in Chiang Mai who brought a great deal of honor to the family and the women’s circle of Chiang Mai with a number of public service activities. She was able to handle all sorts of tasks for Chao Ratchabut, especially when receiving visiting royal members and honored guests. Toward the end of his life, Chao Ratchabut had lived happily at his royal residence, Khum Wongtawan.
             Maj. Gen. Chao Ratchabut was born on Friday the 5th waxing moon of the 6th month of the year of the dog (Picho) on May 7, 1886. His nickname was “Chaomu”. In 1897, he studied at The Prince Royal College in Chiang Mai and the following year he transferred to Ratchawitthayalai School in Bangkok. In 1901, he moved back to Chiang Mai as was ordained as a novice for one session of the Buddhist Lent or Rainy Season Retreat at Hotham Temple or present day Chedi Luang Temple. In his younger years he followed Chao Kaeo Nawarat, the ruler of Chiang Mai to Bangkok to present silver and gold trees to King Rama V according to the tributary state custom which was the time when Princess Dararatsami was residing in the Grand Palace as Royal Consort. She also led Chao Ratchabut to meet King Rama V. When the king went to stay temporarily at Bangpra-in Palace in Ayutthaya, he also went along to serve the king until he was granted the name “Wongtawan”. Later, he became a royal page of King Rama VI who was then the Crown Prince. After his accession to the throne as King Rama VI, he promoted Chao Ratchabut to a higher ranking royal page and gave him a golden badge with his royal abbreviated initial lettering Wor-Por-Ror, engraved on it,.
             Chao Ratchabut returned to Chiang Mai and served as an official of the Interior Ministry at the City Hall. He worked efficiently and effectively and was well accepted in general. Then he volunteered to work for the king’s Boy Scouts activities which were popular among the civil servants at that time and he served him well until he was granted by the king the rank of the head of the Boy Scouts group. In 1922, he was granted the royal title of “Chao Ratchabut” as the northern ruling family of Chiang Mai. And in 1930, he was promoted in the civil service position to Sena Mahatthai Chiang Mai, (Chief of Chiang Mai section of the Interior Ministry) (Prahcum Phongsawadan Phakthi 61, 1963, p. 15).
             Regarding public service activities, Maj. Gen. Chao Ratchabut found them important as well as the matters concerning religion. So, he gave full support to them. As the opportunity presented itself, he always made donations to all kinds from his own resources, such as to build and repair temples, for other public related foundations and education, Buddhist merit making activities, including other public functions both big and small; libraries, musical instruments for educational institutes, the Red Cross Society activities, donating land for the public good and other projects benefitting the people at large. He also contributed from his own funds to the construction of a building significant to medical work, which was the “Chao Ratchabut Building” to be used as a cobalt building for Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, valuing 500,000 Baht at that time. (Prahcum Phongsawadan Phakthi 61, 1963, p. 25)

References
Prahcum Phongsawadan Phakthi 61, (1963). (3rd ed.). Bangkok: Fine
             Arts Printed to be given as a memorial token in Cremation
             the Royal of Maj. Gen. Chao Rathcabut (Wongtawan Na Chiang
             Mai) at the Suandok Temple Crematorium Chiang Mai Province.
             (in Thai).
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