Anna Leonowens, born in Caernarvon, Wales, in 1834, was the widow of a Major with the Indian Army. In 1862, after a year in Singapore, she took up the position of Governess to the children of the King of Siam, where she remained for five years. This is the story of her time at the Royal Palace.
On her arrival by ship in Bangkok, with her son, Louis, she is coolly welcomed by the King’s representative, the Kralahome, but ignored by the King for three weeks. She finds the subservience of everyone, including his wives, to the King very hard to accept.
When Anna finds herself becoming attached to the King’s wives and children, particularly Lady Thiang (the head wife), and her son Crown Prince Chululongkorn, the plot takes a turn.
The reputation of the King and his country is assured by Anna’s influence to his household, along with the entertainment arranged by her (the story of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ in ballet form).
Young lovers, Lun Tha and Tuptim decide to elope, but are caught, and Tuptim is taken before the King to be flogged, but Anna shames the King by calling it the act of a barbarian, and he storms off.
As Anna is leaving, Lady thiang informs her that the King is dying, and begs for her to see him. Anna is so moved when she hears his dying wish and the children’s pleas, that she agrees to stay.
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