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His Family

About his Family

S W R D Bandaranaike, Prime Minister (1956-1959), coúld lay claim to a rich and powerful lineage in colonial Ceylon. He was the only son of Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike (KCMG), Maha Múdalíyar of the Governor's Gate, and of Daisy Ezlynn Obeyesekere who was the grand - daughter of Sir James D' Alwis (1823-1878), orientalist and poet and member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike

Sirimavo Ratwatte married SWRD Bandaranaike in 1940. On her husband's assassination in 1959, comes into politics, wins the elections of July 1960 and goes on to become the first woman Prime Minister in the world. Elected Prime Minister again in 1970 as head of the United Front Government, with a two thirds majority. Amends Constitution, making Sri Lanka a Republic.


Eldest of the three Bandaranaike children. Read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University and graduated with a B.A.(Honours) Degree in 1967. Sunethra now heads the Sunera Foundation, a Nonprofit organization committed to the rehabilitation of disabled youth through their involvement in creative dance and drama.


Second in the Family. Graduated with an Honours Degree in Political Science and international Relations from the Political Science Institute from the University of Paris. On her return to Sri Lanka she entered actively into politics. In 1994, she was elected the 4th Executive President of the Country. In 1999, she was re-elected to the office which she relinquished in 2005. At present she is the chairperson of the Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Foundation for Democracy and Justice, advisor on poverty alleviation in the Clinton Global Initiative and a member of the Board of Directors of Club de Madrid.


Graduated from the London University with a B.A. (Honours) Degree in Modern History in 1972. Entered Parliament in 1977 and held the post of the leader of the opposition. Under subsequent governments held several ministerial posts, namely, Higher Education, Foreign Affairs, Tourism, Industrial Development, National Heritage. He was also the speaker of Parliament for a brief period.