(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. French depiction of the 1686 embassy of King Narai. Narai’s letter is seated on the palanquin)
Following the execution of his favored ministers Kosa Lek and Aqa Muhammad, Narai searched around for a new chief advisor. He settled on the Greek defector from the English East India Company, Constantine Phaulkon. Phaulkon was a competent minister, who quickly rose to the highest ranks at court.
But his ascension was not without issue. An outsider unconnected to the established foreign communities was always a threat to more traditional-minded ministers. And Phaulkon was the chief advocate on behalf of Ayutthaya’s newest contact: France. That French connection would, in time, prove more of a liability than an asset.
The result, in the end, would be the Siamese “Revolution” of 1688. Exactly how revolutionary it was, and how it came to pass, is the subject of our episode today.