|King Rama X|
|King of Thailand|
|Reign||13 October 2016 – present[a]|
|Coronation||4 May 2019|
|Predecessor||Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)|
|Heir presumptive||Dipangkorn Rasmijoti|
|Prime Minister||Prayut Chan-o-cha|
Prawit Wongsuwan (Acting)
|Born||28 July 1952|
Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall, Dusit Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
(m. 1977; div. 1991)
(m. 1994; div. 1996)
(m. 2001; div. 2014)
(m. 2019; sep. 2019)
|Issue||Bajrakitiyabha, Princess Rajasarini Siribajra|
Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti
|Father||Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)|
Vajiralongkorn (Thai: วชิราลงกรณ; RTGS: Wachiralongkon, pronounced [wá.tɕʰí.rāː.lōŋ.kɔ̄ːn]; born 28 July 1952) is King of Thailand. He is the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. In 1972, at the age of 20, he was made crown prince by his father. After his father's death on 13 October 2016, he was expected to ascend to the throne of Thailand but asked for time to mourn before taking the throne. He accepted the throne on the night of 1 December 2016. His coronation took place from 4–6 May 2019. The Thai government retroactively declared his reign to have begun on 13 October 2016, upon his father's death. As the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynasty, he is also styled as Rama X. Aged 64 at that time, Vajiralongkorn became the oldest Thai monarch to ascend to the throne.
He is the wealthiest monarch in the world, with a net worth estimated to be between US$30 billion and US$70 billion.
Vajiralongkorn was born on 28 July 1952 at 17:45 in the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall of the Dusit Palace in Bangkok. When the crown prince was one year old, Somdet Phra Sangkharat Chao Kromma Luang Vajirananavongs, the 13th Supreme Patriarch of Thailand of the Rattanakosin Era, gave the child his first name at birth, Vajiralongkorn Boromchakrayadisorn Santatiwong Thewetthamrongsuboribal Abhikkunupakornmahitaladulyadej Bhumibolnaretwarangkun Kittisirisombunsawangwat Boromkhattiyarajakumarn.
Vajiralongkorn began his education in 1956 when he entered kindergarten at the Chitralada School in Dusit Palace. After completing Mathayom 1 (grade seven), he was sent to be educated at private schools in the United Kingdom, first at a prep school, King's Mead, Seaford, Sussex, and then at Millfield School, in Somerset, where he completed his secondary education in July 1970. In August 1970, he attended a five-week military training course at The King's School, in Sydney, Australia.
In 1972, the prince enrolled at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra, Australia. His education at Duntroon was divided into two parts, military training by the Australian Army and a bachelor's degree course under the auspices of the University of New South Wales. He graduated in 1976 as a new lieutenant with a liberal arts degree.
In 1982, he completed a second bachelor's degree in law, with second-class honors at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University.
See also: 1924 Palace Law of Succession
According to the 2007 Constitution, the cabinet instructed the president of the National Assembly to invite Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to the throne. He became the first monarch to be born in Thailand since his great-uncle Prajadhipok died in 1935. After his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej, died on 13 October 2016, Vajiralongkorn was expected to succeed to the throne of Thailand but asked for time to mourn before taking the throne. On the night of 1 December 2016, the fiftieth day after the death of Bhumibol, Regent Prem Tinsulanonda led the heads of the country's three branches of government to an audience with Vajiralongkorn to invite him to ascend to the throne as the tenth king of the Chakri dynasty. Vajiralongkorn accepted the invitation, saying in a televised statement: "I would like to accept in order to fulfill his majesty's wishes and for the benefit of all Thais." The government retroactively declared his reign to have begun upon his father's death, but it would not crown him formally until after the cremation of his father. The remains were then cremated on 26 October 2017. Currently, his main residence is Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall, with the king having moved from Nonthaburi Palace in 2011.
Vajiralongkorn's three-day coronation ceremonies took place from 4 to 6 May 2019. The one billion baht (US$29.8 million) coronation was anticipated to attract 150,000 people to Sanam Luang, which it did.
See also: Privy Council of Thailand
Following the resignation of the councillors to Bhumibol Adulyadej, Vajiralongkorn appointed 10 members of the Privy Council. The command was issued under Section 2 of the 2014 interim constitution, completed with Sections 12, 13 and 16 of the 2007 constitution on the king which were retained and remain in effect. The remaining seven members are Surayud Chulanont, Kasem Wattanachai, Palakorn Suwanrath, Atthaniti Disatha-amnarj, Supachai Poo-ngam, Chanchai Likhitjitta and Chalit Pukbhasuk, with three new members, Paiboon Koomchaya, Dapong Ratanasuwan, and Teerachai Nakwanich. Prem Tinsulanonda was re-appointed Privy Council president by royal command. On 13 December 2016, the King appointed two new members, Wirach Chinvinitkul and Charunthada Karnasuta. On 25 December 2016, the King appointed one more new member, Kampanart Rooddit. On 19 January 2017, Privy Councillor Chanchai Likhitjitta died at the age of 71. On 2 October 2018, Mr. Amphon Kittiamphon, General Chalermchai Sitthisart and ACM Chom Rungsawang were appointed privy councilors.
Thailand's military-appointed parliament voted overwhelmingly in January 2017 to make amendments to the interim constitution, so as to allow amendments to the draft constitution as suggested by the new king's office. Critics said the new constitution would give the military a powerful political say for years or decades. The 2017 Constitution of Thailand was approved in a referendum in 2016, and was endorsed by Vajiralongkorn on 6 April 2017, Chakri day, in a ceremony at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that the office of King Vajiralongkorn had asked for several changes to clauses related to royal power in the draft constitution, a rare intervention by a reigning Thai monarch. After the death of King Bhumibol, political activity was paused during a period of mourning that ended in 2017.
In February 2019, in an unprecedented move, the King's elder sister, Ubol Ratana, announced her candidacy for the Thai prime ministership in the 2019 general election, running as a candidate of the Thaksin-allied Thai Raksa Chart Party. Later that same day, Vajiralongkorn issued a strongly worded statement, stating that her candidacy for prime minister is "inappropriate...and unconstitutional". The Election Commission of Thailand then disqualified her from running for prime minister, formally putting an end to her candidacy. The Thai Raksa Chart Party was banned on 7 March 2019 by the Constitutional Court of Thailand for bringing a member of the royal family into politics and its political leaders were banned from politics for a decade.
Vajiralongkorn has direct control over the royal household and palace security agencies.
Vajiralongkorn's reign has been plagued by controversies unheard of during the reign of his predecessor. His image is affected by his reputation as a philanderer. In 2020, widespread unprecedented protests against his reign were popping up all over Thailand.
See also: 2020–2022 Thai protests
For most of 2020, Vajiralongkorn reportedly rented out the alpine Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for himself and his entourage during the COVID-19 pandemic. He remained there during the nationwide protests and amidst a wave of anti-monarchy sentiments in Thailand, sparking controversy in both Thailand and Germany. German foreign minister Heiko Maas has warned the King not to govern from German soil. He also mentioned that the European state will be investigating his behavior during his stay in Germany.
On 26 October 2020, protesters marched to the German Embassy in Bangkok, petitioning the German government to investigate the King's activities in Germany for the possibility that he had been exercising powers from German soil.
|Monarchs of |
the Chakri dynasty
|Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke |
|Phra Buddha Loetla Nabhalai|
(King Rama II)
(King Rama III)
(King Rama IV)
(King Rama V)
(King Rama VI)
(King Rama VII)
(King Rama VIII)
(King Rama IX)
(King Rama X)
Vajiralongkorn is protected by one of the most strictly enforced lèse majesté laws in the world. For many years, criticism of the king, queen, crown prince, and more recently, former kings, members of the royal family, and even their pets have been strictly prohibited. Violations carry large fines and prison sentences of up to 35 years. However, Vajiralongkorn's private life continues to be a controversial subject of discussion in Thailand, although not publicly. In the 10 January 2002 edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER), an article appeared suggesting that Vajiralongkorn had business ties with then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. An immediate ban was placed on distribution of the magazine, and the Thai government, citing a threat to national security, suspended the visas of FEER's two Thailand correspondents, Shawn Crispin and Rodney Tasker.
In 2002, The Economist wrote that "Vajiralongkorn is held in much less esteem (than the then-king Bhumibol). Bangkok gossips like to swap tales of his lurid personal life… Besides, no successor, however worthy, can hope to equal the stature King Bhumibol has attained after 64 years on the throne." This issue of The Economist was banned in Thailand. In 2010, another issue of The Economist, also not distributed in Thailand, said that Vajiralongkorn was "widely loathed and feared" and "unpredictable to the point of eccentricity", while the online journal Asia Sentinel said that he was "regarded as erratic and virtually incapable of ruling"; the journal was blocked shortly thereafter. In a diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks, senior Singaporean foreign ministry official Bilahari Kausikan said that Vajiralongkorn had a gambling habit partly funded by exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
On 12 November 2009, a home video was released to WikiLeaks, showing Vajiralongkorn casually dressed and Princess Srirasmi Suwadee wearing only a G-string, all the while being attended to by several formally dressed servants, celebrating the birthday of the prince's poodle, Air Chief Marshal Fufu. Part of this video was broadcast on the programme Foreign Correspondent, on the Australian ABC channel on 13 April 2010, as part of a half-hour documentary critical of the royal family of Thailand.
On 19 January 2009, Harry Nicolaides, an Australian national, was sentenced to three years in prison for self-publishing a fictional book deemed to have violated lèse majesté. The offending passage alluded to rumours that "if the prince fell in love with one of his minor wives and she betrayed him, she and her family would disappear with their name, familial lineage and all vestiges of their existence expunged forever". Nicolaides was later pardoned by the king. Nicolaides later stated that "it's entirely fiction from cover to cover".
In August 2011, the German judicial authorities in Munich impounded a Boeing 737 aircraft, one of two belonging to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn. Administrators seized the aircraft because of a 20-year-old Thai government debt owed to a now-defunct German construction corporation for the Don Mueang Tollway, that had risen to some €30 million. German authorities, representing the corporation's interests in bankruptcy, stated the measure was a "last resort" in seeking repayment. The Thai government, which had not responded to German demands, called the move "highly inappropriate". On 1 August, Vajiralongkorn's office announced he would pay the deposit amounting to €20 million himself. One day later the Thai foreign minister Kasit Piromya confirmed that the Thai government would pay the deposit.
In November 2016, Manager Magazin published a report stating that the new king could be issued with an inheritance tax bill in excess of €3.5 billion. According to the report, the new King is domiciled in Bavaria where he owns two villas which makes him subject to local inheritance tax. On 16 May 2017, Thai officials warned Facebook after an online video was posted of the king wearing a crop top and with full view of his half sleeve tattoo.
On 3 January 1977, Vajiralongkorn married Princess Soamsawali Kitiyakara (born 1957), a first cousin on his mother's side. They had one daughter, Princess Bajrakitiyabha, born in December 1978. Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn started living with actress Yuvadhida Polpraserth in the late 1970s and had five children with her. Although Princess Soamsawali had refused divorce for many years, Vajiralongkorn was finally able to sue for divorce in the Family Court in January 1993. In the court proceedings, Vajiralongkorn accused Princess Soamsawali of being completely at fault for the failed relationship. She was not able to refute the charges due to the prohibition against lèse majesté. The divorce was finalized in July 1993. Despite the divorce, the king and Princess Soamsawali remain on cordial terms. Soamsawali and her daughter continue to play a significant role in royal ceremonies.
When Vajiralongkorn was introduced to Yuvadhida Polpraserth, she was an aspiring actress. She became his steady companion and gave birth to his first son, Prince Juthavachara Mahidol, on 29 August 1979. He later had three more sons and a daughter by her. They were married at a palace ceremony in February 1994, where they were blessed by the King and the Princess Mother, but not by the Queen. After the marriage, she was allowed to change her name to Mom Sujarinee Mahidol na Ayudhaya, signifying she was a commoner married to royalty. She was also commissioned as a major in the Royal Thai Army and took part in royal ceremonies with Vajiralongkorn. In 1996, two years after the wedding, Mom Sujarinee (as she was now known) decamped to Britain with all her children, while Vajiralongkorn caused posters to be placed all around his palace accusing her of committing adultery with Anand Rotsamkhan, a 60-year-old air marshal. Later, the prince abducted the daughter and brought her back to Thailand to live with him. She was later elevated to the rank of princess, whilst Sujarinee and her sons were stripped of their diplomatic passports and royal titles. Sujarinee and her sons moved to the United States, and as of 2007, she was known as Sujarinee Vivacharawongse.
Vajiralongkorn married for a third time on 10 February 2001, to Srirasmi Suwadee (royal name: Akharaphongpreecha), a commoner of modest background who had been in his service since 1992. The marriage was not disclosed to the public until early 2005. She gave birth to a son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, on 29 April 2005 and was then elevated to the rank of princess. Her son was immediately elevated to the rank of prince. In a magazine interview shortly after that, Vajiralongkorn stated his intention to settle down.
In November 2014, however, Vajiralongkorn sent a letter to the interior ministry asking for Princess Srirasmi's family to be stripped of the royal name Akharaphongpreecha awarded to her, following allegations of corruption against seven of her relatives. The following month, Srirasmi relinquished her royal titles and the royal name and was officially divorced from Vajiralongkorn. She received 200 million baht (US$5.5 million) as a settlement. They had been married for 13 years.
On 1 May 2019, three days before his coronation, Vajiralongkorn married Suthida Tidjai, former acting commander of Royal Thai Aide-de-Camp Department. Suthida was therefore made the queen consort of King Vajiralongkorn whose coronation took place in Bangkok on 4–6 May 2019. The marriage registration took place at the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall in Bangkok, with his sister Princess Sirindhorn and President of Privy Council Prem Tinsulanonda as witnesses.
On 28 July 2019, Vajiralongkorn bestowed the title of "Chao Khun Phra" or Royal Noble Consort, and the royal name of Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, to Major General Niramon Ounprom; the occasion marked the first official naming of a secondary consort for nearly a century. Three months later, on 21 October 2019, a palace order stripped Sineenat of her title and ranks, stating that she had been disrespectful to Queen Suthida and disloyal to the king. On 2 September 2020, Sineenat's titles were restored with a declaration that she "is not tarnished" and "Henceforth, it will be as if she had never been stripped of her military ranks or royal decorations".
|By Soamsawali Kitiyakara (married 1977, divorced 1991)|
|Bajrakitiyabha||Daughter||7 December 1978|
|By Yuvadhida Polpraserth (married 1994, divorced 1996)|
|Juthavachara Vivacharawongse||Son||29 August 1979||born as Juthavachara Mahidol|
|Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse||Son||27 May 1981||born as Vacharaesorn Mahidol|
|Chakriwat Vivacharawongse||Son||26 February 1983||born as Chakriwat Mahidol|
|Vatchrawee Vivacharawongse||Son||14 June 1985||born as Vatchrawee Mahidol|
|Sirivannavari Nariratana||Daughter||8 January 1987||born as Busyanambejra Mahidol|
|By Srirasmi Suwadee (married 2001, divorced 2014)|
|Dipangkorn Rasmijoti||Son||29 April 2005|
King Rama X
|Reference style||His Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
See also: List of honours of the Thai royal family by country
|Ancestors of Vajiralongkorn|
An experienced diplomat should be able to greet anyone from a king to a despot, but nothing could prepare one US ambassador for the experience of meeting a military officer that happened to be a poodle.
The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) confirmed the Thai government's contention that the RTAF in 2007 presented the Boeing 737 jet to the Prince for his personal use.
It comes after seven of her close relatives were arrested in a purge of officials allegedly involved in corruption.
The king's latest decision means that "Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi is not tarnished", the Royal Gazette announced. "Henceforth, it will be as if she had never been stripped of her military ranks or royal decorations."
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)