H.R.H. Prince Phanomvan (aka Grom-Phra-Phiphit-Phok-Phubendr) was a son of H.M. King Phra Buddha Loetla Nabhalai (Rama II) of the Chakri dynasty and Chao-Chom-Manda Sila, (the king’s concubine who gave birth to a Prince or Princess) who was a daughter of Fak-thong Na Bangxang, whose father was Khuun Sanit-Pirom (a son of Grandmother Mook) and Chiang (a daughter of Grandfather Tan). Grandmother Mook and Grandfather Tan were the siblings of Her Majesty Queen Amarindra of H.M. King Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I). H.R.H. Prince Phanomvan was born on Wednesday, October 8th, 1794 A.D. and had 5 siblings from the same mother as namely followed :
  1. H.R.H. Princess Vong (Number 10th of King Rama II’s children) was born on Tuesday, the 8th month in the year of the pig or in 1791 A.D. and passed away during King Rama IV’s period.
  2. H.R.H. Prince Phanomvan (aka Grom-Phra-Phiphit-Phok-Phubendr) (Number 17th of King Rama II’s children) was born on Wednesday, the 14th waxing moon day of the 11th month in the year of the tigeror in 1798 A.D. and died during King Rama IV’s period on Monday, the 8th waning moon day of the 5th month  in the year of the great snake or in 1856 A.D.. He was the first in the royal house of Phanomvan.
  3. H.R.H. Prince Kunjara (aka Grom-Phra-Phitak-Tae-Wes) (Number 22nd of King Rama II’s children) was born on Wednesday, the 4th waxing moon day of the 6th month in the year of the horse or in 1798 in western calendar and died in King Rama IV’s period on Thursday, the 13rd waning moon day of the 5th month in the year of the pig or in 1863 in western calendar. He was the first in the royal house of Kunjara.
  4. H.R.H. Prince Dinakara (aka Grom-Luang-Bhuwanes-Narinrithi) (Number 35th of King Rama II’s children) was born on Sunday, the 12nd waxing moon day of the 7th month in the year of the cock, corresponding  to May 24th, or 1801 A.D.. He was the first in the royal house of Dinakara.
  5. H.R.H. Princess Indhanin (Number 42nd of King Rama II’s children) was born on Wednesday, the 6th waxing moon day of the 11st month in the year of the rat or in 1804 A.D. and died in King Rama V’s period in the year of monkey, or in 1876 A.D., at the age of 65.

     During his services to the monarchy, H.R.H. Prince Phanomvan (aka Grom-Phra-Phiphit-Phok-Phubendr) was appointed Sakdina (literally, power over fields) or titles as follow :
  • King Rama II promoted him to be Grom-Muen-Phiphit-Phubendr
  • King Rama III promoted him to be Grom-Khun-Phiphit-Phubendr on Thursday, May 25th, 1832 A.D.
  • King Rama IV promoted him to be Grom-Phra-Phiphit-Phok-Phubendr-Narendhara-Suriyavong-Issawarabhongpornpibhattanasakdirattanadhamrong-Kunalongkotkiatiwiboon-Adulyadejborpit, on August 25th, 1851 A.D.

     H.R.H. Prince Phanomvan (aka Grom- Phra- Phiphit) was appointed to administer Department of Metropolitan (capital city) during the King Rama II and King Rama III’s reigns. Later on King Rama III gave him additional duties to also administer Department of Royal Elephant. Both Ministries were considered to be very important and powerful during those days.

     Towards the end of his reign, King Rama III conferred the name of Grom Khuun Phiphit among the final four senior royalties as candidates to the throne. The four senior royalties were :
  1. H.R.H. Prince Fah-Yai (later on became H.M. King Phra Jessadabhodindra or Rama IV)
  2. Prince Fah-Noi (later on became H.M. King Mongkut or Rama VII)
  3. Grom Khun Dej (aka Grom Khun Dej Adisorn or H.R.H. Prince Mang who later was known as Grom Somdej Phra Deja Disorn or Somdej Grom Phraya Decha Disorn during reign of King Rama IV)
  4. Grom Khun Phiphit Prince Phanomvan (aka Grom-Phra-Phiphit-Phok-Phubendr)

     Grom-Phra-Phiphit loved Thai gamelan and theatre arts. He had both the Thai gamelan band, all male theatre during King Rama II’s and also all female theatre during the King Rama III’s period.

     Quoted from the book called ‘The Legend of Drama’ written by H.R.H Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, it is mentioned that Grom-Phra-Phiphit had all male playing Thai musical band for the Se-pa Theatre. (Se-pa is a kind of story telling by singing with rhyme). This kind of performance was very popular during the King Rama II and King Rama III’s periods. Though there were not many of the royal theatres, there were the total of 11 private theatres that belonged to different masters and senior government officers. One of the eleven theatres belonged to Grom-Phra-Phiphit-Phok-Phubendr which was famous for its sophisticated and beautiful performance than others. Besides, his appreciation in theatre arts, he also was very fond of Thai dwarf trees and could be considered as a founder in the kingdom.

     In 1826, a rebellion was lead by Chao Anuwong of Loas who came to attack Nakorn Ratchasima province during the reign of King Rama III. The King appointed Grom Khun Phiphit to be the armed force commander who led the army to defend the capital from Samsen District to Tung Wua Lampong (Hua Lampong) and along the Bangkapi fields reaching the Chao Phraya River. He set up the command centre at Wat Laem, (also known as Wat Sai Thong; Sai or Golden Weeping Willows.) where there are many banyan trees in the monastery area. Later, the name of the Buddhist monastery was changed to Wat Benjamabophit Dusitvanaram when the marble temple is situated. Grom Khun Phiphit located his second army along outer side of the capital wall. (Banglamphu canal towards Ong-ang canal). At the end, the Vientaine army was defeated wherever they attacked. In fact, they did not even reach the capital.

     After the end of the war against the rebels, Grom Phra-Phiphit asked his siblings to restore Wat Laem where they built five chedi (Pagoda) in front of the temple. Later, during the reign of King Rama IV, the King named the temple as “Wat Benja Bophit” which refers to the five royalties.

     Then, during the reign of King Rama V, the king had purchased land near the temple garden to build his palace. He thought that the temple at this time was starting to decay, so he donated his land at Wisungkamsima to build new Wat Benja Bophit. It was built to be a grand and beautiful temple and given a new name ‘Wat Benjamabophit; - the added syllable ‘ma’ means the temple was built according to the King Rama V’s will.

     Grom Phra-Phiphit lived in Hub-Puei Number 1 Palace which is currently located on Phra-Phiphit road, between Siam Chai Road and Rachinee Road crossing Ubonratana Bridge to Baanmor : in the area along the canal. Grom Phra- Phiphit passed away during the reign of King Rama IV’s on Monday, the 5th month in the year of great snake corresponding to April 27th, 1856 A.D. at the age of 62.

     Around 2 a.m. on Thursday, the 11st waxing moon day of the 4th month or on Thursday, the 5th month, in 1857 A.D., the government officials brought his body to Ek-Chai royal barge in front of Wat Phra Chetuphon. Then, it was carried to the cemetery behind Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn). There were religion ceremonies and entertainments under the royal patronage that lasted 2 days 2 nights before the royal cremation ceremony was held on Saturday, March 7th, 1857.

H.R.H. Prince Phanomvan (Grom Phra- Phiphit)’s Children:
  • H.S.H. Princess Naree Phanomvan
  • H.S.H. Princess Pradap Phanomvan
  • H.S.H. Princess Sum-ang Phanomvan
  • Unknown child
  • H.S.H. Prince (Unknown name)
  • H.S.H. Princess Prapai Phanomvan (unknown date of birth – June 13th, 1901 A.D.)
  • H.H. Prince Chid Phanomvan (H.H. Prince Chid Chuer Phong : 1819 A.D. – October 21st, 1879 A.D.)
  • H.S.H. Princess Lieb Phanomvan
  • H.S.H. Prince Noppakhun Phanomvan
  • H.S.H. Prince Yindee Phanomvan
  • H.S.H. Prince Preeda Phanomvan
  • H.S.H. Prince Jiek Phanomvan (unknown date of birth – 1906 A.D.)