History is not one of my favourite subjects. I don’t like it at all — and I have no ambitions to be a great King, and go down in history. When great Kings reign, Mr Davis, there are invariably wars during their lifetime — and I want people to be happy and free of war during my reign…

– Quotation attributed to King Bhumibol Adulyadej by royal photographer Reginald Davis (1981), The Royal Family of Thailand, London: Nicholas Publications, p. 31.

This comment was apparently made some time in the mid-1960s, “at a royal banquet given in [Reginald Davis’] honour at the Grand Palace in Bangkok”. On that occasion King Bhumibol and Davis “talked about [Bhumibol’s] other interests — photography, and philosophy, and keeping fit”.

As an aside, if you can find a copy of Davis’ book it includes some 102 pictures of the Thai royal family of a personal type that I have rarely seen, including some of Queen Sirikit with Empress Farah of Iran in 1968 and of the 2nd birthday party for Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s eldest daughter. The photographs were taken by Davis from 1961 to 1980. The most recent pictures are of Princess Bajrakitiyabha, and her parents, when she was still a toddler.