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Ekaterina Desnitskaya, a Russian princess of Siam.

Love without borders.

katerina Desnitskaya and Prince Chakrabongse

Ekaterina Desnitskaya was born in 1886 in Lutsk. Her father died when she was 2 years old and she laterlost her mother as well. The only relative she had was brother Ivan, who lived and studied in St-Petersburg. So Ekaterina moved to Russia and entered nursing classes. This is the time she met Thai Prince Chakrabongse

Chakrabongse's father King Chulalongkorn that aimed at "modernizing" Siam sent his own children, as well as bright young nobles and commoners, to be educated abroad. During Chulalongkorn's first visit to Russia he met the czar Nicholas II, who invited Chulalongkorn to send a son to be educated in Russia under his care. Chakrabongse, along with his companion and servant, Nai Pum, were chosen to go. They spent their teenage years in Russia.

When Eketerina and Prince Chakrabongse met he was a brilliant Leib-Hussar living in Russian for the 7 years already and perfectly speaking and writing Russian. He immediately felt passion to Russian beauty and applied to leaving for Manchu front. (Ekaterina was a nurse during Russian-Japnses war). When Ekaterina Desnitskaya returned to St-Petersburg, Prince Chakrabongse officially proposed to her.

They unmarried married in Constantinople in 1906 after the prince graduated the Military academy in St-Petersburg. The marriage took place in Orthodox church even though the prince was a Buddhist.

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Ekaterina Desnitskaya and her son Chula

According to the couple's son, Chula Chakrabongse, Chakrabongse never asked his parents' permission for the union because he was afraid - quite rightly - that they would refuse to allow him to marry a farang (foreigner). He simply returned to Siam with his wife, Ekaterina Desnitskaya, in tow. But Bangkok was a small city, particularly for a prince, and soon the city was buzzing with gossip about the new couple. The king and queen were furious at the turn of events, and though the queen eventually relented enough to receive her white daughter-in-law, though Chulalongkorn never set eyes on her. However, when the couple's son, Chula Chakrabongse, was born in 1908, the king was apparently overjoyed that the baby looked completely Thai, with no trace of farang blood about him.

After the king's death Ekaterina and her son were awarded the official status. Ekaterina Desnitskaya became Catherine Na Phitsanulok after the province her husband was in charge of. The young princess Ekaterina mastered Thai and was finally accepted by the royal family.

However the happy period of her life in Bangkok was over. February revolution in Russia made Ekaterina worry about her relatives, her husband had a love affair with young Siamese princess and she finally decided to divorce and leave Thailand. She settled in China, later married an American engineer and was engaged in charity work for Russian emigrants.

Prince Chakrabongse died at the young age and Ekaterina once came back to Thailand for his funeral. She was not allowed to take her son with her though. Her later letters to Chula Chakrabongse were full of sorrow for the orphanage he was forced into.

Chula did not become a king and later studied in Britain and became a professional motor racer. His daughter wrote a book about the amazing destiny and love of Thai prince and Russian nurse.

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