|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|
|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)
Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti
|House||Mahidol (Chakri dynasty)|
|Father||Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)|
Vajiralongkorn (Thai: ?; RTGS: Wachiralongkon, pronounced [wá.tí.r?:.l.k:n]; born 28 July 1952) is the 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.
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 Borommachakkrayadisonsantatiwong Thewetthamrongsuboriban Aphikhunuprakanmahittaladunladet Phumiphonnaretwarangkun Kittisirisombunsawangkhawat Borommakhattiyaratchakuman" (Thai: ? ? ? ). He is the only son, the second of the four children of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.
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 independent 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 corporal 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.
Vajiralongkorn was proclaimed crown prince on 28 December 1972 at 12:23 in the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, making him the third crown prince of the Chakri dynasty. An excerpt from the royal command to establish the title of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn reads:
As stated in the bliss or the country's royal statutes, when a Royal Prince who is destined to be heir to the throne is mature, the King shall graciously bestow the rank upon him of Somdet Phra Yupharat Mongkutratchakuman. At this present time, all people, including citizens of nations worldwide, shall accept and acclaim that His Royal Highness Prince Vajiralongkorn shall to succeed to the throne of the Kingdom. When His Royal Highness Prince is mature, at the time that he shall be established as heir to the throne, tradition and a royal tradition Kattii ceremony should be observed, consistent with the citizens and all leaders of the country of all sides. Therefore, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej hereby decrees for His Royal Highness Prince Vajiralongkorn to be His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn per the name written in the Supannabhat as Somdet Phra Boromma-orasathirat Chao Fa Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun Sirikittayasombunsawangwat Worakhuttiyarajsantiwong Mahitalaphong Adulayadet Chakkrinaresyuppharajvisut Sayammakutratchakuman....
He had taken up his duties while serving in the Royal Thai Armed Forces, including frequent provincial tours and representing King Bhumibol at a wide variety of official functions and ceremonies before he ascended the throne.
On 6 November 1978, the prince was ordained as a monk at Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), at age 26. As is traditional for royals, he stayed at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara for 15 days and under the monastic name "Vajiralongkornno".
After completing his studies, Vajiralongkorn served as a career officer in the Royal Thai Army. He served as a staff officer in the Directorate of Army Intelligence and attended the Command and General Staff College in 1977. Vajiralongkorn trained for periods with the US, British, and Australian armed services, studying unconventional warfare and advanced navigation. He is a qualified fixed-wing and helicopter pilot. In 1978 he became head of the King's Own Bodyguard Battalion.
Vajiralongkorn holds the ranks of Field Marshal (Chom Phon) in the Royal Thai Army, Admiral of the Fleet (Chom Phon Ruea) in the Royal Thai Navy, and Marshal of the Royal Thai Air Force (Chom Phon Akat) in the Royal Thai Air Force. He is qualified to pilot the Northrop F-5 and many other aircraft, F-16, and the Boeing 737-400. His military role in recent years has become increasingly ceremonial. As his father grew older, Vajiralongkorn took a more prominent part in royal ceremonial and public appearances. He officially opened the 2007 Southeast Asian Games, held in Nakhon Ratchasima. The event occurred one day after the 80th birthday of his father.
Vajiralongkorn established "Crown Prince Hospitals" through funds donated by the public to serve as medical and health care centers for people living in remote areas. Crown Prince Hospitals had been set up in 21 locations in 1977. These hospitals had become major community hospitals providing services of international standards to the general public in 2011.
Also interested in agricultural development, Vajiralongkorn has accepted the "Mobile Agricultural Clinic Project" under his patronage. The project provides prompt services to farmers to enhance efficiency in farm production and solve farmers' problems. It provides experts in various agricultural fields who can advise farmers on plants, livestock, fisheries, and land development. He also offers suggestions on tackling agricultural problems and applying agricultural technology to increase productivity and improvement in the quality of agricultural production.
Mobile Agricultural Clinic teams can move quickly to various spots in need of help. It has worked steadily and is ready to provide technical services and transfer technology. With this project, farmers have been urged to be aware of agricultural development and new technology.
In recent years Vajiralongkorn had represented the late King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, in presiding over the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony, which is meaningful to Thai farmers. Aware of the importance of efficient agriculture for better productivity, Vajiralongkorn emphasized full-cycle agricultural activities, believing they will help improve farmers' quality of life, who are traditionally considered the backbone of the nation.
Vajiralongkorn has initiated education projects to improve children's access to quality learning and instill the concept of lifelong learning. He has special ties to the Rajabhat University system of 40 institutions of higher learning. The chairman of the Council of Rajabhat University Presidents of Thailand said that Vajiralongkorn has presided over commencement ceremonies at all Rajabhat Universities nationwide and personally handed out degrees to all Rajabhat university graduates every year since 1978. It is estimated that over the past 35 years, at least 2,100,000 degrees have been handed out by the crown prince to Rajabhat graduates. Besides, every year, he donates 42 million baht to a scholarship fund benefiting Rajabhat students.
Vajiralongkorn was once known as the "Football Prince" but is renowned for his cycling involvement. He has also shown keen interest in other sports since he was young. He learned horseback riding when he was about 11 years old and soon became a capable rider. While studying in Thailand and abroad, he played several sports with friends, including football, rugby, and rowing.
Vajiralongkorn also competed in sailing with King Bhumibol and sister Princess Ubolratana when they stayed at Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin. A fine footballer, Vajiralongkorn first played as a forward and later became a center-back at Chitralada School, Millfield School in England, and the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Australia. He shares his love of the sport with his father.
Most of the time, Vajiralongkorn lives in Bavaria in Germany, where he has spent a significant amount of his adulthood. His 15-year-old son, Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, goes to school in the area. The King requested and received changes to the constitution to end the requirement that he appoint a regent when he is away from Thailand. In comparison, his father often made state visits early during his reign, but he left the country only once after the 1960s--an overnight stay in neighboring Laos. He has also received visits from Thai officials and dignitaries in Germany. According to the German foreign ministry, the Thai ambassador has been told multiple times that Germany opposes "having guests in our country who run their state affairs from here." Thai officials have told Germany that Prime Minister Prayut is responsible for government matters, while the King is in Germany for personal reasons.
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. 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.
For the first time in nearly 100 years, Vajiralongkorn was given the reigning title of Phrabat Somdet Phra Vajira Klao Chao Yu Hua. The last time such title was given during the reign of King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) who was given the reigning title of Phrabat Somdet Phra Pok Klao Chao Yu Hua during his coronation in 1926.
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-backed 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 a move called "unprecedented", 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 an emergency royal decree stating that her candidacy for prime minister is "inappropriate...and unconstitutional". Thailand's election commission then disqualified her from running for prime minister, formally putting an end to her candidacy.
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 playboy. In 2020, widespread unprecedented protests against his reign were popping up all over Thailand.
In January 2021, reports surfaced that Princess Sirindhorn, the King's younger sister, had been taken to the hospital for serious injuries to both her ankles. These injuries appear to be the result of a direct physical attack on the Princess by the King. Reports suggested that the Princess had become angry upon being informed that the King would be formally making a concubine his second wife, making her his second queen. During the heated exchange, sources from the palace say that the King's dogs jumped on the Princess, knocking her over. While on the ground, the king appears to have broken her ankles either by jumping on them or using his cane. More specifics of the encounter remain unclear due to lèse majesté laws, which endanger anybody who divulges information regarding the incident.
For most of 2020, Vajiralongkorn has 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|
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 EUR30 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 EUR20 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 EUR3.5 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 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. Princess 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|
|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."