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The King and the Consul: A British Tragedy in Old Siam

In 1856, just months after Britain and Siam had finalized the historic Bowring trade treaty that would prevent the country’s colonization, the violent death of a Siamese official at the new British consulate threatened to scuttle the deal and lead to war. This lecture will explore the UK and Thai archives to reveal the twists, turns, and tensions of this little-known episode that pitted Thailand’s renowned King Mongkut, Rama IV, against the first British consul, Charles Hillier. The crisis was resolved without war, but now without cost for the participants who suffered unintended tragic outcomes. This lecture will also reveal how this incident has continued to shape official Thai attitudes towards foreigner ownership of land up to today.

About the speaker

Mr Simon Landy has spent over 40 years immersed in the worlds of Anglo-Thai culture and business that lie at the heart of The King and the Consul. After graduating from Cambridge University, he lectured at the National University of Singapore and Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn and Thammasat Universities before embarking on a career in the business world, primarily in property investment and consultancy. He was chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand and was awarded an MBE for services to UK-Thai trade and investment. His book, The King and the Consul, is the culmination of several years study that have previously produced related articles in the Journal of the Siam Society and the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong.



Thursday, 2 February 2023 at 19:00


Lecture Room, 4/Floor, The Siam Society


Members and Students — Free of charge
Non-Members — THB 200

For more information, please contact

To book your place, please contact Khun Pinthip at 02 661 6470-3 ext 203 or

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