Her Majesty The Queen of Thailand and Her Love of Thai Silk
Her Majesty Sirikit Kitiyakara, the Queen of Thailand and the King visited the North Eastern provinces in 1955. The villagers came to meet their King wearing traditional mat mi phasins and the women in their mudmee silk sarongs, and Her Majesty fell in love with the Thai silk they were made of.
Her Majesty has promoted and supported Thai silk weaving, so that the villagers can support their families, especially during drought or flood. The SUPPORT Foundation or the Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques has developed various projects under the patronage of Her Majesty.
Since 1955, Her Majesty sent members of her staff to buy mat mi textiles from villages in north eastern regions, such as Nakhon, Phanom, Roi Et and Maha Sarakham. Her Majesty gave encouragement to the villagers to increase their output, gave advice about silk worms, dyes, patterns and quality, and gave the weavers prescription eye-glasses and weaving instruments.
All this was initially paid for personally by Her Majesty the Queen, but
then charitable people became interested and the SUPPORT Foundation was created
in 1976. Later, in 1979, The Supplementary Occupations Training Centre in
the Chitralada Palace was created, where members of poor families are selected
to go by the Royal Family for training. This training is for a variety of
handicrafts, such as silk and cotton weaving, silverware and goldenware. The
products of this training are sold from a showroom in the Chitralada Palace.
Her Majesty the Queen always wears mat mi silk clothing and asks her staff to wear them too. Her Majesty also instructs that fashion shows are held showing silk and mat mi clothing, both in the palace and elsewhere.