Sixty years ago, King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand — a very glamorous couple in general — arrived in London for a state visit as part of a six-month tour that took them all over the world. This royal couple originally met in Paris while he was recovering from a car accident that took one of his eyes in Lausanne; her father was Thailand’s ambassador to France (and previously to England). Apparently, in the manner of many a romance novel, she originally couldn’t stand him. Tatler reports that Sirikit had a life-long relationship with Balmain, who made (I believe all of) the clothing for this tour, and indeed it seems like it was a very successful one, at least sartorially speaking. She looks incredibly chic in these photos.
Bhumibol died in 2016; his obituary in the New York Times is fascinating and well-worth your time. Queen Sirikit is still living, although she suffered from a stroke a few years ago and no longer makes public appearances. (The NYT reports that she has also had a life-long struggle with depression and “nervous disorders,” so she may just not want to make public appearances any more, rather than being physically unable to do to.) The Washington Post reported just a few months ago that, in the wake of Bhumibol’s death, the Thai monarchy has become markedly unstable, in part because the new king has been beset by scandal and upheaval, to say the least.
We have some newsreel footage of their arrival, at which all the Brits are wearing some truly far out headgear:
Click through to the slideshow to see some truly glam looks from Sirikit and at least one more very weird hat on QEII.