The Thai royal family is one of the most interesting royal families in the world. Specific laws in Thailand protect the royal family from slander and make it illegal to speak out against the family. Because of this, little is known about this royal family, but what IS known is so juicy it almost doesn't feel real. The Thai royal family really is a mysterious and fascinating puzzle.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Head of the Thai Royal Family
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, better known as His Majesty King Rama X, is the son of Sirikit, Queen mother of Thailand, and the former King Bhumibol Adulyadej. After taking over the throne in 2016, Rama X has shown that he does what he wants, rules how he feels, and is not afraid to break with tradition.
An Eccentric King to Be Sure
The current King of Thailand might be best described as eccentric. He has a penchant for wearing crop top shirts, loves bicycling, adores his dogs, and adores women even more.
He was a welcomed addition to the royal family, who had long awaited the birth of a son. The future Thai King spent most of his life living outside of Thailand, being educated in Britain between 13 and 16 and then later at a military boarding school in Australia. He served the national army following his education and is an accomplished pilot. When his father passed away, the throne became his, and Rama X found himself the tenth monarch of the royal house of Chakri.
Three years passed between Rama X's father's death and his takeover. This was because the new ruler wanted his people to mourn his father for a substantial amount of time. When his coronation did finally take place, it was an event to trump all previous ones. The coronation cost an astounding $31 million.
Aside from biking, strange fashion, and a deep love of animals, Rama X is known as a ladies' man. He has been married four times and currently has a royal consort. Aside from these recognized women, the King of Thailand has had countless mistresses whom he has no qualms about parading around in public.
A Man of Wealth and Power
Many countries have kings and queens as figureheads, such as the major royal families in Europe, but they don't have actual law-making powers. This is not the case in Thai culture and society, and here the King really does reign supreme. Considering Rama X's quirks and calls, it is easy to see that the Thai people are uneasy about his place in power.
Since taking over rule in 2016, the King of Thailand has made massive changes to the constitution, giving him complete authority and power whether he stands on Thai soil or not. He has also taken control of the Thai wealth, some $43 billion that previously were used to manage the people of Thailand. Units of the army now report directly to him. He possesses the ability to command and direct a personal, private army helpful, should anyone try to remove him from power in the form of a coup. Rama X is looking more and more authoritative every day.
Breaking All the Rules
One of the more shocking things that the Thai King has done in recent years is recognize his mistress, a former nurse named Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, as his royal consort. The King, who is still married to his fourth wife, is clearly okay with polygamy so long as it is practiced only by him (polygamy was outlawed in Thailand roughly one hundred years ago). At one point, His Highness's consort disappeared from public and was stripped of all royal titles for alleged ingratitude and misgivings, but then later taken back into the King's good graces.
The Thai Wives, Consorts, and Queens
The King of Thailand has had several children with several women. Many of his offspring and wives have been stripped of their royal titles and now reside elsewhere in the world.
The King of Thailand was first wed to his cousin, Princess Soamsawali. The couple gave birth to a daughter in 1978 and then divorced in 1991. Following her split from the king, her title was changed to The Princess Mother of the King's First Grandchild. After her divorce, the former royal went on to adopt a second daughter. No longer wed to the King, she continues to perform royal duties and pays specific attention to public health needs and social welfare. The former princess has suffered from several strokes and declining health in recent years.
Former actress and entertainer Sujarinee Vivacharawongse was the second wife to Rama X, King of Thailand. Upon her union with the King, she was granted a commission in the army and attended royal events. She and the king had four children together, three sons and a daughter. Following accusations, scandal, and divorce, the second wife to the King of Thailand and her sons fled the country. Her daughter stayed behind, retaining her title as Princess.
She was the third wife of the current Thai King and is the mother to his son, Dipangkorn Rasmijoti. Srirasmi came from humble beginnings, earned a business degree from Bangkok Business College, and wed the Thai King in 2001. In 2005, it was announced that the third wife of the King was expecting. With the birth of her son, Srirasmi was granted the title Princess of Thailand.
This fairytale relationship hit the skids when the King accused Srirasmi's family of corruption. The third wife to the King was stripped of her royal titles, and the pair divorced after a $6 million settlement was paid out.
She is the current wife to the King, sharing his attentions with his royal consort Sineenat. She rose to be Queen in 2019, and before holding this esteemed title, she was a flight attendant and a bodyguard. The marriage between these two was a great surprise to the country. They were wed a few days before the King's coronation took place.
Just 2 months into his marriage to his 4th wife, the King gave Sineenat a royal consort position. It is said that the consort, who served in the King's army, had a major issue with the King marrying his 4th wife. Because of the rumor and speculation surrounding her possible involvement with removing the Queen, Sineenat was stripped of her titles and banished. It didn't take long, however, for the King to reinstate her as his consort.
Children of King Maha Vajiralongkorn
Considering the King of Thailand has a penchant for pretty ladies and new partners, it is no great surprise that he is a father to many. The King has several children by several women.
- Princess Bajrakitiyabha - Daughter of the king and his first wife, Princess Soamsawali. She holds a doctorate degree and is currently working at the Office of the Attorney General of Udon Thani Province.
- Prince Juthavachara Mahidol - Son of the king and his second wife, Sujarinee Vivacharawongse. Exiled from Thailand along with his mother and brothers. He was the firstborn son to the king from his second union and is only one year older than his legitimate sister, Princess Bajrakitiyabha.
- Prince Vacharaesorn Mahidol - Son of the king and his second wife, Sujarinee Vivacharawongse. Exiled from Thailand along with his mother and brothers.
- Prince Chakriwat Mahidol - Son of the king and his second wife, Sujarinee Vivacharawongse. Exiled from Thailand along with his mother and brothers. He currently resides in the states as he battles debilitating medical conditions.
- Prince Vatcharawee Mahidol - Son of the king and his second wife, Sujarinee Vivacharawongse. Exiled from Thailand along with his mother and brothers.
- Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana -Her mother was the second wife to the king, and she is the only daughter from that union. Princess Sirivannavari is adored by the public and won a Badminton medal at the 2005 Southeastern Asian games. She is an esteemed fashion designer.
- Dipangkorn Rasmijoti - He is the only child from the king's third marriage and is the heir to the throne. As the king's other sons have been exiled and stripped of royal titles, only Dipangkorn Rasmijoti is recognized now as the king's legitimate son. However, this could all change as the king holds ultimate power to appoint anyone he chooses to the throne and remove anyone, not to his liking, from the position of heir apparent.
A Royal House in Flux
The royal family of Thailand seems to be in a constant state of flux. For now, the King rules over all, and everything else falls to his whim. His wives come and go; his women do as well. Some of his children retain titles, while others have been removed completely from any titles or honors. As of now, an heir is apparent, but this could all change depending on the king's wishes. He is a man who covets power, wealth, and women, and his country doesn't have much of a platform to say a thing against him unless they want to suffer extreme consequences.