Queen Suriyothai of Ayutthaya (a Siamese Kingdom in present-day Thailand) was the wife of Maha Chakkraphat, King of Ayutthaya.
Tragically, very little is known about Suriyothai. We know that she and her husband had at least five children together: Phra Ramesuan, Phra Mahin (later King Mahinthrathirat), Phra Sawatdirat, Phra Boromdilok and Phra Thepkassatri. Suriyothai is most remembered for her death in battle.
Barely six months into her husband’s reign, King Tabinshwehti of Burma invaded Siam intending to sack the capital Ayutthaya. The invading forces initially had little resistance, but soon King Maha Chakkraphat mobilised his forces and gathered them just west of Ayutthaya. He was accompanied by Queen Suriyothai and one of their younger daughters Boromdilok. He rode his chief war elephant, while Queen Suriyothai and her daughter rode a smaller elephant together. They were also dressed in armour, and Queen Suriyothai wore the uniform of a viceroy. Their two eldest sons were also with them.
As the two armies engaged in battle, the King engaged with the Viceroy of Prome. The King’s elephant panicked and fled, with the Viceroy chasing them. Queen Suriyothai charged ahead to put her elephant between them. The Viceroy then turned on her, cleaving her from shoulder to heart with a spear, while also fatally wounding her daughter. As she died, her helmet came off, exposing her long hair. Her sons fought off the Viceroy before carrying the bodies of their mother and sister back to Ayutthaya.
Her husband built a memorial dedicated to her. In addition, there is a memorial park outside of Ayutthaya with a large statue of her riding a war elephant. A 2001 movie called The Legend of Suriyothai was financed by Queen Sirikit of Thailand.