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Crown Prince of Thailand
HRH Vajiralongkorn (Cropped).jpg
Crown Prince of Thailand
Tenure 28 December 1972 – present
Born (1952-07-28) 28 July 1952 (age 64)
Bangkok, Thailand
Spouse Soamsawali Kitiyakara (1977–1991)
Yuvadhida Polpraserth (1994–1996)
Srirasmi Suwadee (2001–2014)
Issue Princess Bajrakitiyabha
Prince Juthavachara Mahidol
Prince Vacharaesorn Mahidol
Prince Chakriwat Mahidol
Prince Vatchrawee Mahidol
Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana
Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti
House House of Mahidol
Chakri Dynasty
Father King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)
Mother Queen Sirikit
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Maha Vajiralongkorn (Thai: มหาวชิราลงกรณ; rtgsMahawachiralongkon; Thai pronunciation: [máhǎː wáʨʰíraːloŋkɔːn]; born 28 July 1952)[1] is the crown prince 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. He later graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Canberra, Australia. An officer in the Thai military, he trained with the Australian, British, and United States armed services. He is a qualified military pilot and helicopter pilot. He took an active part in military operations against the Communist Party of Thailand during the 1970s.

After his father's death on 13 October 2016, he is expected to succeed to the throne of Thailand. The prime minister of Thailand, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, has confirmed that the crown prince will become the new king.[2] However, the crown prince has asked for a delay, stating that he needs "time to prepare before being proclaimed as the new king".[3] Until the new monarch is installed, General Prem Tinsulanonda, the president of the Privy Council, will serve as regent.[4]

Early life[edit]

Prince Vajiralongkorn in 1955

Vajiralongkorn was born on 28 July 1952 5:45 P.M.[5] in the Ambara Villa of the Dusit Palace in Bangkok. His first name at birth was "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.


His primary education was in Chitlada School, and then at private colleges in the United Kingdom (King's Mead School, Seaford and Millfield School, Somerset[6]) and Australia (The King's School, Sydney).[7]

The Prince undertook military training at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra,[7] Australia, and also completed an arts master's degree at Sukhothai Thammatirat University in Bangkok. Since 1975, he has served as a career officer in the Royal Thai Army. He served as a staff officer in the Directorate of Army Intelligence, and in 1978 he became head of the King's Own Bodyguard Battalion. In that year, however, he interrupted his military career to be ordained for a season as a Buddhist monk, as is customary for all Thai Buddhist males.[1]

Vajiralongkorn trained for periods with the United States, British and Australian armed services, studying special forces demolition, unconventional warfare tactics and advanced navigation training. He is a qualified military pilot and a helicopter pilot. Although a military career is conventional for royal princes, Vajiralongkorn is unique among modern princes in having taken an active part in military actions inside his own country. In the 1970s he led counter-insurgency campaigns against the forces of the Communist Party of Thailand in the North and Northeast of Thailand, and also took part in operations along the border with Cambodia during the years of the Khmer Rouge regime.[8]

Role and responsibilities[edit]

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 has been cited as the pilot of an RTAF F-16,[9] and two Boeing 737s, HS-HRH[10] and HS-CMV.[11] 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, Thailand. The event coincided with the 80th birthday of his father Bhumibol.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Public image and the media[edit]

HRH Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn's portrait on Rajdamnoen Road

Due to the lèse majesté law, criticism of the King, the Queen, the 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 edition of 10 January 2002 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 the FEER's two Thailand correspondents, Shawn Crispin and Rodney Tasker.[12]

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",[13] while the online journal Asia Sentinel alleged that he is "regarded as erratic and virtually incapable of ruling"[14] and was blocked shortly thereafter.[15] 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 now self-exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.[16]

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 tended to by several formally dressed servants, celebrating the birthday of the Prince's poodle dog, Air Chief Marshal Fufu.[17][18][19] 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.[20][21]

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."[22][23] The global news network CNN refused to air the passage.[24] Nicolaides was later pardoned by the king.[citation needed]

In August 2011, the German judicial authorities in Munich impounded an aircraft, a Boeing 737, one of two belonging to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.[25] Administrators seized the aircraft subject to a 20-year-old debt from the Thai government to a now-defunct German construction corporation for the Don Mueang Tollway, that has risen to some 30 million euros. The German authorities, who currently administer the corporation's interests in bankruptcy, have stated the measure was a "last resort" in accounting for the debt. The Thai government, which had theretofore not responded to German demands, called the move "highly inappropriate."[26][27] On 1 August, Vajiralongkorn's office announced he would pay the deposit amounting to 20 million euros himself.[28] One day later the Thai foreign minister Kasit Piromya confirmed that the Thai government would pay the deposit.[29]

Marriage and 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.[30] 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.[31] Later, the prince abducted the daughter born to him and Sujarinee and brought her back to Thailand to live with him. The child was later elevated to the rank of princess, whilst Sujarinee and her sons were stripped of their diplomatic passports and titles. She and her sons later moved to the United States. As of 2007, she was known as Sujarinee Vivacharawongse.[citation needed]

Vajiralongkorn married again, 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 elevated to the rank of Princess. The son was immediately elevated to the rank of Prince. In a magazine interview, Vajiralongkorn stated his desire and intention to settle down.[32]

In November 2014, 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.[33] The following month, in December 2014, Srirasmi relinquished all 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 were married for 13 years.


According to the law of succession the cabinet will inform the president of the National Assembly, who will invite Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to become king.[34]


Royal cypher of Vajiralongkorn
Children of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn
Name Birth Notes
By Soamsawali Kitiyakara (married 1977, divorced 1991)
Bajrakitiyabha (1978-12-07) 7 December 1978 (age 37)
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]


See also List of honours of the Thai Royal Family by country

Thai royal decorations[edit]

Foreign decorations[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn". 
  2. ^ "Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej dead at 88". BBC News. 13 October 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016. 
  3. ^ AFP (2016-10-13). "Thai Prime Minister Prayuth says Crown Prince seeks delay in proclaiming him King". Bangkok: Coconuts BKK. Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  4. ^ "Thai king death: Thousands throng streets for procession". BBC. 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  5. ^ ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง ให้หยุดราชการและชักธงชาติเนื่องในการที่พระราชกุมารประสูติ, เล่ม 69, ตอนที่ 49, 12 สิงหาคม พ.ศ. 2495, หน้า 2434
  6. ^ Overseas Branch Officials - Welcome to the Old Millfieldian Society
  7. ^ a b Transcript 7158 | PM Transcripts, 6 April 1987
  8. ^ "Happy Royal Birthday HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn". Pattaya Mail. 
  9. ^ "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 agressor 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 His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand. 
  10. ^ "Thailand – Air Force Boeing 737-400 HS-HRH – Kuala Lumpur – Int (Sepang) Photo". 6 December 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2010. Thai prince special ride departing after attending Malaysia's 50th independence day [31 Aug 2007] ,
  11. ^ Danijel Jovanovic. "Picture of the Boeing 737-4Z6 aircraft". Retrieved 22 January 2010. HS-CMV / 11–111 (cn 27906/2698) Probably one of the specials of the whole year! The Thai prince flying out the Inn valley in front of the mountains. What a beautiful sight! 
  12. ^ Duncan. McCargo, Media and Politics in Pacific Asia, page 146
  13. ^ "As father fades, his children fight". The Economist. 18 March 2010. 
  14. ^ More Lèse majesté Charges in Thailand Asia Sentinel, 1 April 2010
  15. ^ Thailand – Grenade attacks and online censorship amid mounting political tension FromTheOld, 30 March 2010
  16. ^ Dorling, Philip; McKenzie, Nick (12 December 2010). "Top Singapore officials trash the neighbours". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ "WikiLeaks cables reveal scandal and disease in Thai royal family", The Australian, 24 June 2011, retrieved 18 February 2012 
  20. ^ Foreign Correspondent
  21. ^
  22. ^ Thais detain Aussie writer, The Australian, 5 September 2008
  23. ^ Thai court jails Australian novelist for three years over royal 'insult', The Scotsman, 19 January 2009
  24. ^ Author jailed for insulting Thai king,, 19 January 2009
  25. ^ "Thai Aircraft List29022555.xls". Department of Civil Aviation. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  26. ^ "Germany Impounds Thai Prince Vajiralongkorn's Jet". BBC online. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  27. ^ "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. 
  28. ^ "Is the dispute with Walter Bau coming to an end?". Bangkok Pundit. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  29. ^ "Government pays for Crown Prince's Boeing". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  30. ^ Nonthaburi Family Court, Documents of Case #79/2536, 14 January 2007
  31. ^ 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. 
  32. ^ "Simplicity, warmth win hearts," The Nation
  33. ^ "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. 
  34. ^ This is very carefully described in Roger Kershaw, Monarchy in South-East Asia: The faces of tradition in transition (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), pp. 152–3.
  35. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  36. ^ State Banquet for the Malaysian King in Bangkok
  37. ^ "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan.". 

Further reading[edit]