Vajiralongkorn

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Maha Vajiralongkorn
มหาวชิราลงกรณ
King Rama X
HRH Vajiralongkorn (Cropped).jpg
King of Thailand
Reign 13 October 2016 – present[a]
Predecessor Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)
Heir presumptive Dipangkorn Rasmijoti
Prime Ministers Prayut Chan-o-cha
Regent Prem Tinsulanonda
(13 October 2016 – 1 December 2016)
Crown Prince of Thailand
Tenure 28 December 1972 – 13 October 2016
Predecessor Vajiravudh
Born (1952-07-28) 28 July 1952 (age 64)
Bangkok, Thailand
Spouse
Issue
House Chakri Dynasty
Father Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)
Mother Queen Sirikit
Religion Theravada Buddhism
Signature

Maha Vajiralongkorn (Thai: มหาวชิราลงกรณ; rtgsMahawachiralongkon; IPA: [máhǎː wáʨʰíraːloŋkɔːn]; born 28 July 1952)[3] is the King of Thailand, since 13 October 2016.[1] As the tenth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, he is also styled as Rama X.

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 succeed to the throne of Thailand but asked for time to mourn before taking the throne.[4] He accepted the throne on the night of 1 December 2016 (the government retroactively declared his reign to have begun upon his father's death) but will not be crowned formally until after the cremation of his father.[5]

Succession[edit]

According to the law of succession, the cabinet informed the president of the National Assembly, who invited Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to become king.[6]

Early life[edit]

Vajiralongkorn was born on 28 July 1952 at 17:45[7] in the Ambara Villa of the Dusit Palace in Bangkok. When the crown prince was one year old, Somdet Phra Sangkharat Chao Krommaluang Wachirayanwong, the 13th supreme patriarch of the Rattanakosin Era gave the child his first name at birth,[8] "Vajiralongkorn Borommachakkrayadisonsantatiwong Thewetthamrongsuboriban Aphikhunuprakanmahittaladunladet Phumiphonnaretwarangkun Kittisirisombunsawangkhawat Borommakhattiyaratchakuman" (Thai: วชิราลงกรณ บรมจักรยาดิศรสันตติวงศ เทเวศรธำรงสุบริบาล อภิคุณูประการมหิตลาดุลเดช ภูมิพลนเรศวรางกูร กิตติสิริสมบูรณ์สวางควัฒน์ บรมขัตติยราชกุมาร). He is the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.

He was proclaimed crown prince on 28 December 1972 at 12:23.[8]

Education[edit]

Vajiralongkorn began his education in 1956 when he entered kindergarten at the Chitralada School in Dusit Palace. After completing Mathayom 1 (through grade seven), he was sent to study at public schools in the United Kingdom. First at King's Mead School, Seaford, Sussex, and then at Millfield School, Somerset,[9] where he completed his secondary education in July 1970.[10] In August 1970, he attended a five-week military training course at The King's School, in Sydney, Australia.[10]

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 was graduated in 1976 as a newly commissioned lieutenant with a liberal arts degree.[10]

In 1982 he completed a second bachelor's degree in law with second-class honours at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University.[10]

Military career[edit]

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, 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. Later that year he interrupted his military career to be ordained for a season as a Buddhist monk, as is customary for all Thai Buddhist men.[3]

Vajiralongkorn holds the ranks of General in the Royal Thai Army, Admiral in the Royal Thai Navy and Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force. He is qualified to pilot the Northrop F-5,[11] F-16,[12] and the Boeing 737-400.[10] 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.[13] The event occurred one day after the 80th birthday of his father.[14]

Religious training[edit]

At age 26, the prince was ordained as a monk on 6 November 1978 at Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). He stayed at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara for 15 days and was given the name "Vajiralongkornno".[15]

Personal life[edit]

Monarchs of
the Chakri Dynasty
Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke portrait.jpg Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok
(Rama I)
Buddha Loetla Nabhalai portrait.jpg Phra Phutthaloetla Naphalai
(Rama II)
Nangklao portrait.jpg Nangklao
(Rama III)
Rama4 portrait (cropped).jpg Mongkut
(Rama IV)
King Chulalongkorn.jpg Chulalongkorn
(Rama V)
King Vajiravudh.jpg Vajiravudh
(Rama VI)
Prajadhipok portrait.jpg Prajadhipok
(Rama VII)
King Ananda Mahidol portrait photograph.jpg Ananda Mahidol
(Rama VIII)
นายกรัฐมนตรี และภริยา เฝ้าฯ รับเสด็จ สมเด็จพระเทพรัตนร - Flickr - Abhisit Vejjajiva (14).jpg Bhumibol Adulyadej
(Rama IX)
HRH Vajiralongkorn (Cropped).jpg Vajiralongkorn
(Rama X)

Public image and the media[edit]

King Vajiralongkorn's portrait on Ratchadamnoen Avenue

Due to the lèse majesté law, criticism of the king, queen, crown prince, and regents is strictly prohibited in Thailand. However, Vajiralongkorn's private life continues to be a controversial subject of discussion, 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.[16]

In 2002, The Economist wrote that "Vajiralongkorn is held in much less esteem (than the king). 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 (which was not distributed in Thailand) asserted that Vajiralongkorn is "widely loathed and feared" and "unpredictable to the point of eccentricity",[17] while the online journal Asia Sentinel alleged that he is "regarded as erratic and virtually incapable of ruling"[18] and was blocked shortly thereafter.[19] In a diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks, senior Singaporean foreign ministry official Bilahari Kausikan asserted that Vajiralongkorn has a gambling habit which was partly funded by exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.[20]

On 12 November 2009 a home video was released to WikiLeaks, showing Vajiralongkorn casually dressed and Princess Srirasmi 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.[21][22][23] Part of this video was broadcast on the "Foreign Correspondent" programme on the Australian government's ABC TV channel on 13 April 2010, as part of a half-hour documentary critical of the Royal family of Thailand.[24][25]

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 committed 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."[26][27] The global news network CNN refused to air the passage.[28] Nicolaides was later pardoned by the king.[29]

In August 2011, the German judicial authorities in Munich impounded an aircraft, a Boeing 737, one of two belonging to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.[30] 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".[31][32] On 1 August, Vajiralongkorn's office announced he would pay the deposit amounting to €20 million himself.[33] One day later the Thai foreign minister Kasit Piromya confirmed that the Thai government would pay the deposit.[34]

Marriage and family[edit]

Family[edit]

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 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.[35] 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 a royal. 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.[36] 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.[citation needed]

Vajiralongkorn married 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, Vajiralongkorn stated his intention to settle down.[37]

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.[38] The following month, Srirasmi relinquished her royal titles and the royal name, was officially divorced from Vajiralongkorn. She received 200 million baht (U$5.5 million) as a settlement. They had been married for 13 years.

Children[edit]

Personal flag of Vajiralongkorn as Crown Prince
Royal Cypher of Vajiralongkorn as King
Children of King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebpayavarangkun
Name Birth Notes
By Soamsawali Kitiyakara (married 1977, divorced 1991)
Bajrakitiyabha (1978-12-07) 7 December 1978 (age 38)
By Yuvadhida Polpraserth (married 1994, divorced 1996)
Juthavachara Vivacharawongse (1979-08-29) 29 August 1979 (age 37) born as Juthavachara Mahidol
Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse (1981-05-27) 27 May 1981 (age 35) born as Vacharaesorn Mahidol
Chakriwat Vivacharawongse (1983-02-06) 6 February 1983 (age 33) born as Chakriwat Mahidol
Vatchrawee Vivacharawongse (1985-06-14) 14 June 1985 (age 31) born as Vatchrawee Mahidol
Sirivannavari Nariratana (1987-01-08) 8 January 1987 (age 29) born as Busyanambejra Mahidol
By Srirasmi Suwadee (married 2001, divorced 2014)
Dipangkorn Rasmijoti (2005-04-29) 29 April 2005 (age 11)

[citation needed]

Focus on education[edit]

Vajiralongkorn has initiated education projects with the aim of improving children's access to quality learning and instilling the concept of lifelong learning.[39] 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. In addition, every year he donates 42 million baht to a scholarship fund benefiting Rajabhat students.[39]

Styles, titles and honours[edit]

Titles[edit]

Styles of
King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun of Thailand
King's Standard of Thailand.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir
  • 28 July 1952 – 28 December 1972: His Royal Highness Prince Vajiralongkorn
  • 28 December 1972 – 13 October 2016: His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn
  • 13 October 2016 – Present: His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (temporary title prior to coronation)[40]
    • English translation: His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Descended by Flesh and Blood of God Indra, Overlord of all Angels

Thai royal decorations[edit]

Foreign decorations[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Vajiralongkorn accepted the formal invitation to become king on 1 December 2016. He was declared king retroactively to the day his predecessor and father's death on 13 October 2016. Prem Tinsulanonda acted as regent from that date.[1][2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Vajiralongkorn ascends the throne as King Rama X". Khaosod English. 2016-12-02. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  2. ^ Paddock, Richard (1 December 2016). "New King for Thailand as Crown Prince, Vajiralongkorn, Ascends to Throne". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "King Rama X Maha Vajiralongkorn". globalsecurity.org. 
  4. ^ "Thai Prime Minister Prayuth says Crown Prince seeks delay in proclaiming him King". Coconut.co. Bangkok: Coconuts BKK. AFP. 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  5. ^ "Thai Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to be proclaimed king". BBC News. 
  6. ^ Kershaw, Roger (2001). Monarchy in South-East Asia: The faces of tradition in transition (1st ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 152–153. ISBN 0415243483. 
  7. ^ ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง ให้หยุดราชการและชักธงชาติเนื่องในการที่พระราชกุมารประสูติ, เล่ม 69, ตอนที่ 49, 12 สิงหาคม พ.ศ. 2495, หน้า 2434
  8. ^ a b "Long Live the King: Childhood". Bangkok Post. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  9. ^ "Old Millfieldian Society - Overseas Branch Officials". Omsociety.com. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Long Live the King: Military Education". Bangkok Post. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  11. ^ "Crown Prince is a qualified military pilot". Straits Times. 2016-11-30. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  12. ^ "Royal Thai Air Force F-16 Special Color Schemes". F-16 Aircraft Database. Retrieved 22 January 2010. Local S/N:10318 ; AF/Unit:RTAF; Aircraft:91-0067; Details: Wore a special camouflage scheme only worn by RTAF F-5s in the aggressor role. Instead of the regular USAF FY/N on the tail, there is no. 904.91. The markings below the cockpit indicate that this is the personal aircraft of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn 
  13. ^ "Southeast Asian Games Open in Thailand". Voice of America. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  14. ^ Lines, Chris. "Burma Wins Silver at Southeast Asian Games". The Irrawaddy. Associated Press. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  15. ^ "Long Live the King: the Upholder of Religions". Bangkok Post. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  16. ^ Duncan. McCargo, Media and Politics in Pacific Asia, page 146
  17. ^ "As father fades, his children fight". The Economist. 18 March 2010. 
  18. ^ More Lèse majesté Charges in Thailand Asia Sentinel, 1 April 2010
  19. ^ Thailand – Grenade attacks and online censorship amid mounting political tension FromTheOld, 30 March 2010
  20. ^ Dorling, Philip; McKenzie, Nick (12 December 2010). "Top Singapore officials trash the neighbours". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  21. ^ "Suppressed video of Thai Crown Prince and Princess at decadent dog party". WikiLeaks. 
  22. ^ Gordon Rayner (4 February 2011). "WikiLeaks cables: Thailand's royal pet". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 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. 
  23. ^ "WikiLeaks cables reveal scandal and disease in Thai royal family", The Australian, 24 June 2011, retrieved 18 February 2012 
  24. ^ "Foreign Correspondent". 
  25. ^ http://www.frequency.com/video/abc-foreign-correspondent-on-thai/124233371/-/5-281801
  26. ^ [1], The Australian, 5 September 2008[dead link]
  27. ^ Thai court jails Australian novelist for three years over royal 'insult', The Scotsman, 19 January 2009
  28. ^ Author jailed for insulting Thai king, CNN.com, 19 January 2009
  29. ^ "Thailand frees Australian writer". BBC News. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  30. ^ "Thai Aircraft List29022555.xls". Department of Civil Aviation. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  31. ^ "Germany Impounds Thai Prince Vajiralongkorn's Jet". BBC Online. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  32. ^ "Plane stupid: the damage is done". The Nation. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 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. 
  33. ^ "Is the dispute with Walter Bau coming to an end?". Bangkok Pundit. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  34. ^ "Government pays for Crown Prince's Boeing". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  35. ^ Nonthaburi Family Court, Documents of Case #79/2536, 14 January 2007
  36. ^ Christy Campbell (20 October 1996). "Adultery princess casts shadow on untouchables". Web archive. The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 24 October 1996. Retrieved 20 July 2011. When the Queen and Prince Philip arrive in Bangkok next week to begin their state visit to Thailand they will find sanctuary from media salaciousness. (dead link)
  37. ^ "Simplicity, warmth win hearts", The Nation
  38. ^ "Thailand crown prince strips wife's family of royal name". BBC News. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014. It comes after seven of her close relatives were arrested in a purge of officials allegedly involved in corruption. 
  39. ^ a b Mala, Dumrongkiat (1 December 2016). "Crown Prince: Education key to progress". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  40. ^ "คำเฉลิมพระปรมาภิไธย". BBC Thailand (in Thai). BBC. 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  41. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  42. ^ "State Banquet for the Malaysian King in Bangkok". 4 September 2013 – via YouTube. 
  43. ^ "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan.". 

Further reading[edit]

Vajiralongkorn
Born: 28 July 1952
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Bhumibol Adulyadej
King of Thailand
2016–present
Incumbent
Heir presumptive:
Dipangkorn Rasmijoti