Today's national holiday will be marked by religious and civil ceremonies as all sectors of society raise a glass to the health of their beloved queen TODAY MARKS THE 73rd birthday of Queen Sirikit of Thailand. It is a national holiday in the country and the day when Thais celebrate Mother's Day because the queen is regarded as the mother of her people. Government and commercial buildings will be floodlit and adorned with images of Queen Sirikit, religious and civial ceremonies will be held across the country and every segment of society will toast her health. She was born Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kittiyakara, on August 12, 1932, first daughter of Colonel Mom Chao Nakkhatra Mangkala Kittiyakara and Mom Luang Bua Kittiyakara, and is of royal descent. The young Mom Rajawongse Sirikit attended Rajini School and later St Francis Xavier Convent School in Bangkok until she was 13, when she joined her father, then Thai ambassador to The Court of St James, in London. Two years later, in 1948, when her father was appointed ambassador to France, the future queen followed her parents to Paris where she was to meet the future King of Thailand. The two became friends and when he was in hospital after a car accident in Switzerland, Mom Rajawongse Sirikit was a frequent visitor. Gradually their friendship blossomed into romance, and on July 19, 1949 they announced their engagement. They were married on April 28, 1950 and on May 5 the coronation of the king was held, and Mom Rajawongse Sirikit officially became Queen Sirikit of Thailand. The royal couple have four children and eight grandchildren, the most recent of which was born to Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Princess Srirasmi. The child, Prince Tipangkorn Rasmichoti, is viewed as the rightful heir to the throne after his father and grandfather.