She purposely omitted her background and early life to re-invent her identity as a thoroughly English lady, not an offspring of a poor British soldier stationed in India and an Anglo-Indian orphan.
She went on to establish a prolific career as a journalist, writer, lecturer, teacher, social activist, feminist, and matriarch. Her personal philosophy—a call for open-mindedness and respect for all people, regardless of religion, gender or race—was heavily influenced by her five years in Siam.
She memorialized her years in the royal palace in two books, which in turn inspired a best-selling novel, Broadway musical, and various film and television adaptations.
She modified dates, anecdotes, descriptions, even her age, to create a romanticized, public image of her life. Her true story contrasts with her memoirs—she was not educated in a boarding school in Wales, nor was her stepfather an abusive husband or her mother a British gentlewoman—but her moral outlook and ideals ring true throughout her biography, fictionalized and true.
Biography Although she would later be immortalized for her years in Siam, Anna Harriet Edwards was raised just across the continent, the daughter of an English soldier and his wife in Bombay, India.
Although she would later attest to a pure English ancestry, Anna was most likely Anglo-Indian, the descendant of a European soldier and his Indian wife. Anna spent her childhood surrounded by children of similar backgrounds, as well as Indian locals and European families, attending school and socializing with young people of mixed backgrounds and races.
Although these early years were undoubtedly difficult hardly akin to attending boarding school in Wales, as her memoirs claimedthey shaped her moral and philosophical outlook for years to come.
She learned a variety of languages, including Indian and sanskrit, and developed a passion for education. Anna was seventeen when she married the only love of her life, Thomas Louis Leon Owens. The two were married on Christmas day, After mourning the death of two children, they had a daughter and son, Avis and Louis.
When she stepped off the boat in Singapore, the Anna whom audiences recognize today was born: Although the real Anna probably never set foot in England before visiting Siam for the first time, this persona gave her the status she needed to ensure a prosperous life for Avis and Louis.
Anna and Louis, then five years old, arrived in Bangkok in Marchwhere they would stay for more than five years. Anna forged special relationships with the princes and princesses as well, and she stayed true to her promise that she would not impart Christianity upon the royal family—but her relationship with King Mongkut was much more complex.
They were both moral people, dedicated to walking the paths of virtue, though each had a different idea of what virtue entailed…but each had a firm belief in the Divine, in the sacredness of life, and in the idea that a virtuous life required ceaseless effort to improve oneself and to serve the public good.
She was, however, vehemently opposed to slavery. When Anna left Siam, she had every intention of returning in six months.
She sent Louis to boarding school, and traveled with Avis to America, where she used her experiences in Siam as the basis for a successful writing and scholarly career.
She became a respected member of the lirarery and scholarly community—she even got to meet one of her greatest idols, Harriet Beecher Stowe. By the time she died inshe was an admired, if not yet immortalized, proponent of human rights and education.
Anna never returned to Siam, although she did reconnect with her former pupil, now King of Siam, Chulalongkorn, in UK link: Anna Leonowens:: A Life Beyond 'The King and I' Kindle Edition () *** And if you prefer a romanticized edition after all, you could try The Story of Anna and the King, by Cecelia Holland, which has received good reviews.
Or you can buy the older novel by Margaret Landon, called "Anna and the King of Siam". Both novelists claim . Anna lived in Poona from to , until she wedded Thomas Leonowens on Christmas Day of when Anna just turned eighteen.
When she arrived in Siam in , Anna was a middle-class woman of biracial heritage who was widowed at the age of twenty-eight with two young children to provide for. Anna and the King, the version of the story of Anna Leonowens' six years at the Court of Siam, is, like the movie musical and stage musical, both titled The King and I, based on a novel, Anna and the King of Siam.
Anna lived in Poona from to , until she wedded Thomas Leonowens on Christmas Day of when Anna just turned eighteen. When she arrived in Siam in , Anna was a middle-class woman of biracial heritage who was widowed at the age of twenty-eight with two young children to provide for.
Anna Leonowens in fiction and film. Margaret Landon's novel Anna and the King of Siam () provides a fictionalised look at Anna Leonowens's years at the royal court, developing the abolitionist theme that resonated with her American ph-vs.com: 5 November , Ahmednagar, India.
Dec 20, · A biography of Anna Leonowens, the English schoolteacher who was hired to educate the children of the King of Thailand (then called Siam), and upon whose life the play and film "Anna and the King of Siam" were based/10(57).