I have long admired not only Her Majesty’s elegance and charm, but the character which is so apparent in the discharge of her very exacting duties. It is a source of pride and satisfaction to me that I have been given permission to dedicate the book in this way.

It is an impressive fact that such diverse characters as those whom I have sketched here, and many more besides, are deeply devoted to their lovely Queen. If a foreigner praises her the reaction is one not merely of pleasure, but of pleasure mixed with some embarrassment, as if one were praising a mother or a wife–surprising a private treasure in their hearts.

A work of this kind is hardly one in which to make a judicious assessment of the political functions of the monarchy. There is no direct intervention, but many Thais feel it is important to be able to express their love for their institutions and culture in a personal form, unrelated to the complex and often compromising forces that create power in Thai society. To a people so deeply deferential and yet so passionately devoted to their country as the Thais, it is profoundly important that they should not direct their loyalty and deference to whatever shady character is able from time to time to gain a position of power in this or that Department.

In these conditions, while there is much that the throne can do to encourage patriotism, professional performance, integrity, courage, and the like, everything depends on the affection that the people feel, not only for the institution, but for their King and Queen.

– Extracted from the preface to Thomas Silcock, Proud and Serene: Sketches from Thailand, Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, pp. ix-x.