18 July 2024

Thanpuying Boonruen Choonhavan, the widow of former prime minister Chatichai, died early this morning (Saturday) of a COVID-19 related illness.

The death of the 101-year old grand lady was announced in a Facebook post by Ms. Tisana Choonhavan, the daughter of her late son, Kraisak, who died in June last year. No other details were given.

Ms. Tisana praised her grandmother for being proficient in seven languages and for being helpful to her grandfather, Gen Chatichai, dating back to the time he was serving as a Thai ambassador, then as foreign minister and, ultimately, prime minister of Thailand.

She attributed the success of Thailand’s diplomacy, during the premiership of Gen Chatichai, including the then trademark foreign policy of “Changing Battleground into Trade Zone” during the Cold War, partially to the role played by Thanpuying Boonruen, saying that she was by his side until his last day.

Ms. Tisana also thanked Thanpuying Boonruen for everything she had done for her and for Thailand.

“Grandmum was a good singer and a gifted Opera singer. She often sang for me when I was a child, particularly the song “Dok Kaew”, by famous crooner Suthep Wongkhamhaeng. Love and miss you, from Kaewta,” the post reads.

Thanpuying Boonruen was married to Gen Chatichai on November 23rd, 1944. They had a daughter, Vanee, and a son, Kraisak.