I have received a copy of the following letter from a well-informed source. It is being widely circulated via email. I cannot vouch for its authenticity, of course, but its contents (and the fact of its distribution) are sufficiently interesting to warrant publication and comment.
July 29, 2011
RE: VIVACHARAWONGSE OFFICIAL RELEASE
This year marks the fifteenth year that we have been living abroad. Over the years, we have received many kind words of encouragement and well wishes over the Internet and elsewhere from the people of Thailand; both from within Thailand and around the world. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for your kind regards, and we are thankful that so many of you have not forgotten us. We have realized that some people were curious or had questions regarding our whereabouts over the years. To eliminate confusion and false rumors, we have decided to take this opportunity to disclose our situation.
Over the years, we have been waiting patiently for the order for us to return to Thailand. As yet, we have received no word from our father, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, nor have we received any type of contact from the Royal Household. In 1996, while studying in England, we were ordered by our father not to return home to Thailand. We were specifically instructed not to use our royal titles and to use the last name “Vivacharawongse” instead. We never, at any time, voluntarily renounced our royal titles nor choose to surrender the “Mahidol” surname. Since we were not receiving any kind of support from the Royal Household, financial or otherwise, we moved to the United States with our mother.
When we were younger, we did not understand the drastic change in our lives, nor could we comprehend why we must live our lives outside of our beloved country. Our mother would remind us that we have to follow the orders of the Royal Family, and to show our gratitude and respect. Our situation, at times, was not at all easy. However, we did not stand idle. Instead we learned to push ourselves to our highest potential, and to behave in a manner that would not bring shame upon the Royal Family.
Juthavachara received a bachelor’s degree in avionics and maintenance and a master’s degree in aeronautical science. After working in the aviation industry, he is now attending law school in pursuit of a Juris Doctor degree. Vacharaesorn, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in political science, a Juris Doctor, and a Master of Law (LLM), is now a practicing attorney. Chakriwat, received his bachelor’s degree in psychobiology with chemistry minor, he is currently attending medical school, and will soon begin his clinical rotations. Vatchrawee double-majored in International Business and Finance, and has a Master of Business Administration. He is now attending law school in pursuit of a Juris Doctor degree.
We are also aware of the many rumors being circulated regarding Chakriwat’s health. The truth is Chakriwat has been battling Neurofibromatosis (type II) since he was thirteen years old. The disease causes tumors to appear along his nervous system, and surgery or radiation treatment is required every year or so to remove or otherwise treat these tumors. Due to numerous radiation treatments he has received, there has been some damage to his acoustic nerve, and he became deaf in one ear. He will receive another surgery in August of this year. Despite having to undergo these exhausting procedures on a regular basis, Chakriwat is determined to complete his medical training.
For many years we have lived our lives in silence, which caused some speculation that we wished to remain abroad. To the contrary, as much as we wish to return, we could not defy orders not to return, or speak out to clear our names. We were afraid to risk even demonstrating the slightest inference of disrespect toward the Royal Family. Many may wonder why we did not speak out against false rumors or allegations against us. The truth is, it is better to suffer in silence than risk harm to the institution. We have never given up hope that, one day, we would receive word from Thailand to allow us to return. Each year, we write to our grandparents, Their Majesties the King and Queen, our father, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and our aunt, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. We would write to give them updates on our lives, informing them of academic progress, any medical issues, and to send well wishes to Their Majesties and Their Highnesses on New Years and birthdays. However, our letters were never answered. The communication has always been one sided.
Many people continue to speculate regarding our situation or to spread false and malicious rumors about us. Rather than addressing these issues in the open, and risk offending the institution, we have chosen to remain silent. We merely wanted to use this correspondence as an opportunity to thank the many Thais who still care about us and remember us, and to state clearly that, every day, we wish to return to Thailand. For fifteen years, we have never set foot in our country, and we miss it far too much. Until we are permitted to return, however, we will remain loyal to the Royal Family, and pray for the future of our country.
We remain faithfully yours,