Letters from St Petersburg: A Siamese Prince at the Court of the Last Tsar
The prince was sent to study in Tsarist Russia with all the costs of his 8-year stay paid by the Tsar.The letters he wrote home provide a fascinating insight into the Corps des Pages, where he studied,Tsar Nicholas II and the Imperial family (who treated him like a member of the family) and the role that Siam occupied in Russia's desire to gain a foothold in the East. As tsarevitch, Nicholas had visited Bangkok in 1891 as part of his Eastern Tour which culminated in the opening of the Eastern end of theTrans-Siberian railway inVladivostock in 1893. Lavishly entertained by King Chulalongkorn, an enduring friendship began, and the Siamese king credited the Tsar with helping prevent further French incursions. Meanwhile the king's letters to his son are frank and revealing of his thoughts on politics, his family, his health and his plans for the future. Telegrams reacting to important events such as the revolution in 1905 give further insights.A few letters between Prince Chakrabongse and his future wife Ekaterina Desnitskaya before they eloped to Constantinople are also included. Read in conjunction with the formal letters to his father, they provide a glimpse of his state of mind at that time.