Further updated: Cleaning the royal house

14 12 2014

There are now several stories that PPT hasn’t got to on Prince Vajiralongkorn’s preparations for his forthcoming kingship and his forthcoming divorce from his third wife. We found the recent story in The Straits Times, “Thai Prince cleans house with eye on throne,“remarkable for its interpretation.

The article takes the successionist line, suggesting that the May coup cause the prince to “to switch his political loyalties” from Thaksin to the royalist military. We can see no evidence for the claim in the story. The prince has been close to elements in the military since his teens. The article goes on to guess about the reasons for the prince’s “housecleaning”:

WHY does Prince Vajiralongkorn’s personal life matter for the country? In the political context, the elimination of Princess Srirasmi does not only reflect the changing strategy of Prince Vajiralongkorn in his relations with the traditional elite, obviously for his own survival, but also the necessity of getting their backing for his enthronement.vajiralonkgkor_srirasami

More importantly, it also reaffirms that Prince Vajiralongkorn is ready to enter the succession process, and has assigned himself as the sole contender for the throne.

With the backing of the traditional elite, the royal succession could be more predictable, and the elite will be able to manipulate the next king for their own political purposes. Unfortunately, it could also mean that this fresh collaboration will continue to place the monarchy at the heart of Thai politics at the expense of the democratic process. The elite have striven to preserve the old kind of politics where the power of the monarchy overrules elective institutions. And Prince Vajiralongkorn, in tilting towards the current military government, helps materialise such an attempt.

We find most of this so speculative as to stretch credibility. How does ditching his third wife enhance his route to succession? Is she tainted by the prince’s demand that she walk about naked for him several years ago? How does ditching official wife no. 3 relate to “his own survival”? When was the prince not “ready to enter the succession process”? He’s been crown prince since his teens. When has the “traditional elite” indicated that the prince would not succeed. Sure, there’s grumbling and there’s a Wikileaks cable expressing exasperation with the prince, but many of that group is aged and out of the picture now. In addition, they didn’t express opposition. What evidence is there that the prince would not have supported the “current military government”? The story continues:

Out of the royal spectacle have come some positive developments at the people’s level.

Normally, speaking of issues related to the Thai monarchy is strictly prohibited under draconian lese majeste laws. Thais are not allowed to discuss royal matters, even when it directly affects their lives. But with the proliferation of social media, the people can no longer be gagged. Evidently, Thai media has made sensational reports on the incident.

Prince Vajiralongkorn’s decision to strip his wife of her family name has thus gained much attention among the Thai public. Some feel sympathetic towards Princess Srirasmi, while some voice their concerns over the suitability of the Prince to become king.

But the latest palace drama has gradually normalised discussions on the monarchy, which in turn could help conform the behaviour of the royal family towards a more responsible and transparent path.

We find it remarkable that a claim for “normalised discussions on the monarchy” to be completely out of kilter with the avalanche of lese majeste cases in the past few months.

PPT agrees that there is a housecleaning taking place prior to succession, yet we guess it has more to do with the prince’s personal and family desires and the woman he wants with him when he takes the throne.

Update 1: More details on the end of the relationship, monetary “compensation” and the whereabouts of the prince’s son. We can’t vouch for the site, although the details are all over social media. Be careful in Thailand clicking the links.

Update 2: Suggesting that we might have been right to mention the veracity of the site above, Khaosod reports that: “The wife of the Crown Prince of Thailand has not been granted any honourary titles after she rescinded her royal status late Friday night, official records have confirmed.” It goes on:

Srirasmi, who married Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn in 2001, resigned from her status as a member of the Royal Family following the recent arrests of many of her relatives are charges of corruption and lese majeste.

Although many Thai media agencies reported that Srirasmi has been bestowed an honourary title of Thaan Pu Ying (roughly equivalent to Baroness or Lady), official documents obtained by Khaosod identify her simply as Ms. Srirasmi Suwadee.

Her commoner status was registered to the state database today after Srirasmi visited a district office in Bangkok to apply for a new national ID card. Photos of her smiling throughout the procedure have been posted and shared widely on social media.

Srirasmi’s new home address is registered in Ratchaburi province, indicating that she has moved out of the Crown Prince’s royal palace in Bangkok. An official added that Srirasmi will return all of her royal decorations to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.

Further, the story links to another that withdraws an earlier story that is said to have been “based on false information.” It adds that the “article quoted what appeared to be a royal announcement saying that Srirasmi, the current wife of Thailand’s Crown Prince who recently resigned her royal status, was to receive a certain sum of money from the palace.” It now acknowledges new information: “After the article was published, it became clear that there was not sufficient evidence to confirm that the statement was genuinely made by the Royal Household Bureau. The article was therefore removed from our site.”


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21 12 2014
The military-monarchy state is corrupt | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] system’s praetorian guard. Those attacked as corrupt are the ones who have fallen foul of a powerful royal or royalist boss or have somehow come to be seen as dangerous for the existing system of […]

30 01 2015
Locking ‘em up | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The six former policemen all pleaded guilty to all of the charges. They had little choice. House cleaning seems to be a particularly bitter affair. […]

30 01 2015
Locking ‘em up | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The six former policemen all pleaded guilty to all of the charges. They had little choice. House cleaning seems to be a particularly bitter affair. […]

22 04 2016
Succession planning | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] makes no mention of his other children, the tumultuous and nasty separation from former Princess Srirasmi and jailing of her family on spurious lese […]

22 04 2016
Succession planning | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] makes no mention of his other children, the tumultuous and nasty separation from former Princess Srirasmi and jailing of her family on spurious lese […]

15 03 2017
Even more palace cleansing | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] been cleansing and reorganizing the palace – his palace – for quite some time. One of the most high-profile bits of cleaning was the ousting of his former consort, the former Princess Srirasmi back in late […]

15 03 2017
Even more palace cleansing | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] been cleansing and reorganizing the palace – his palace – for quite some time. One of the most high-profile bits of cleaning was the ousting of his former consort, the former Princess Srirasmi back in late […]

9 12 2018
What happened to that palace “crisis”? | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the biggest “crisis” for the palace occurred in late 2014, when the king-in-waiting “cleaned” out his family and continued a palace cleaning and reorganization that saw dozens of lese majeste cases and saw […]

9 12 2018
What happened to that palace “crisis”? | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] the biggest “crisis” for the palace occurred in late 2014, when the king-in-waiting “cleaned” out his family and continued a palace cleaning and reorganization that saw dozens of lese majeste cases and saw […]




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