Queen Amarindra (อมรินทรา) was the Queen Consort of King Rama I (Phutthayotfa Chulalok) and thus the first queen of the Rattanakosin Kingdom.
Queen Amarindra was the daughter of Thong and Fan Na Bang Chang, a wealthy family from Samut Songkhram province. When the young couple met, she was known as Nak (นาค” หรือ “นาก) and the King was not yet king, but an Ayutthayan nobleman. Both were of Mon descent.
In the Ayutthaya society, love marriages were not uncommon. The couple married for love and, although their marriage eventually became rocky, they maintained mutual respect throughout their lives.
Under King Taksin of Thonburi kingdom, Nak held the title of a Lady while her husband served as a military leader. On a mission to Vientiane he met and later wed a second wife from the Vientiane royal dynasty – this wife was called Jao Jaawm Waaen or Jao Khoon Seuua (เจ้าจอมแว่น หรือ เจ้าคุณข้างใน หรือเจ้าคุณเสือ).
Lady Nak, who was described as being possessive and jealous of her husband, did not accept the new wife; it is said that she had a physical confrontation with Jao Jaawm Waaen that escalated into a violent clash with her husband – one that would change the course of her life.
After this incident, and estranged from her husband, she never again entered the Grand Palace. She moved to Ban Luang, her former residence and later lived with her son, Crown Prince Chim (ฉิม) (who became King Rama II) in Krung Thonburi Palace.
Throughout Queen Amarindra’s life, she was said to possess a natural dignity and humility. She referred to the King and her sons in the language of commoners and everyone referred to her simply as ‘mother’.
She always remembered the wartime and hardship of life which taught her to be practical, cautious, and sensible when it comes to food. Born in Ampawa, a region famous for its gardens and orchards, she spent most of her time gardening, and is remembered for her skills in preserving, curing, fermenting and pickling foods.
The Queen was also known for always carrying ingredients, such as dried fish and pickled cat’s whiskers leaves (ผักเสี้ยนดอง phak siian daawng), so that she could prepare a quick meal at any moment.
Before she passed away in 1826 at the age of 89, during the reign of her grandchild King Rama III, she could not walk anymore but was still clear. She was granted an audience with the King, to whom she said: “Your father was indebted to me, you should repay his debt instead” (พ่อเป็นหนี้ย่าอยู่ เอามาใช้แทนเสีย)”