More on royal house cleaning and keeping

21 12 2014

Many readers may well have seen this article already but if not, the speculations of Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, a former Indian ambassador to Thailand writes in the Eurasia Review, seem worthy of consideration. PPT just quotes a few speculative bits:

Thailand appears to be heading for a royal change of guard at the very top…. The wife of the crown prince, Maha Vajiralongkorn, Princess Srirasmi, has been ousted with the announcement that she has been stripped of all titles and privileges. The 43-year-old Srirasmi married Vajiralongkorn in 2001 as his third wife…. The motive seems to be to malign her character and lower her standing among the public at large.

Maybe on political divorce:

There is also speculation in Bangkok that Vajiralongkorn, the crown prince and heir-apparent, has dumped the exiled former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, and joined hands with the royal family and the military government that ousted the government of Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, in May this year.

Why he was not “with” the royal family and the military is never clear in such speculation.

More on Thaksin:

Bangkok’s elite and its allied royal family members detest Thaksin, who managed to influence and dominate Thai politics even from exile in Dubai. A former policeman, Thaksin made billions from his telecommunications empire and fought for power and control from abroad as a fugitive, after being sentenced to two years in prison in 2008. Thaksin had built a powerful lobby in the police. He also reportedly constructed a palace for Vajiralongkorn in an effort to secure the crown prince’s support.

On the new “family”:

The crown prince has reportedly fathered a son from another woman whom he has married secretly.

And the old family:

A… reason for Srirasmi’s ouster is that the prince now has another wife, his fourth, who has borne him a son. She is Suthid, a commoner and a former Thai Airways flight attendant. She lives in Munich where the prince visits her frequently.

Srirasmi’s ouster coincides with the arrest of some of the country’s top policemen, including Pongpat Chayaphan, an uncle of Srirasmi and the head of the corruption-ridden Central Investigation Bureau….

The developments surrounding Srirasmi have set tongues wagging in Thailand but the media practices drastic self-censorship, lest it fall foul of lese-majeste laws. Political intrigue and squabbling is endemic among the Bangkok elite, the royalty and politicians….

Media in Thailand have reported that Thai authorities have also seized assets worth more than $300 million including cash, gold, land deeds, amulets, Buddhist artworks and images from properties owned by the former CIB chief. Srirasmi owned an antique shop in Bangkok and a connection is sought to be made with her uncle’s large collection of antiques that were acquired by blackmail. As many as 50 law enforcement officials’ names are said to appear on a bribe payment record seized from a businessman connected with an oil-smuggling ring.

On shaming Srirasmi:

The campaign against Srirasmi, a commoner from a humble background, has, therefore, been revived. An infamous video showing her topless during the birthday celebration of her pet dog in 2001 has resurfaced along with many photos of Srirasmi in various stages of undress. These are either taken by the crown prince or someone close to the couple. The Thai royal family never liked Srirasmi, who has been described at different times as a cocktail hostess or an aspiring singer. Royal family and privy council members are suspected to have bribed servants in the prince’s household to get hold of these pictures to discredit her. The plan is to ensure that Srirasmi does not become queen when Vajiralongkorn eventually becomes king.

On royal decline:

The king and his conspiratorial queen, Sirikit, have lost their earlier sheen in the eyes of an increasingly sceptical public. It is widely rumoured that the king, ailing and frail for many years, may be nearing the end of his life. Members of the royalty, however, claim that his condition is stable. The king is reported to suffer from Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system. A gall bladder surgery in early November may have left him weaker than before. Over the last few years, the king has appeared in public in a wheelchair, has not spoken and, apart from waving weakly, has not shown any physical activity.

Speculation remains central to all of this. Whatever the underlying motives, we’d guess it has much to do with the prince’s calculations of what he needs to do before becoming king.


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7 responses

23 12 2014
The most significant “crime” | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] In recent weeks, the monarchy has done far more to damage itself than any anti-monarchist forced into overseas exile …. […]

1 01 2015
Coup and monarchy | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Sounding a bit like PPT, the story says: “Speculation is rife that Vajiralongkorn’s move to strip his now ex-wife (and her family) of their royal titles was an attempt to clean up shop — and perhaps part of a wider deal with the military to clear the path to the crown.” […]

12 01 2015
When transfers are acceptable | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Part of the changes taking place also owe something to palace house-cleaning. […]

5 03 2015
Money for monarchy | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The Crown Property Bureau  is involved because it is burnishing royal credentials when the monarchy is seen as supportive of illegal putsches and is under pressure from the negative publicity of that, the disappearance of the aged king, presumably near death, and the succession of a crown prince demonstrated as grasping, vindictive and dangerous. […]

5 03 2015
Money for monarchy | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The Crown Property Bureau  is involved because it is burnishing royal credentials when the monarchy is seen as supportive of illegal putsches and is under pressure from the negative publicity of that, the disappearance of the aged king, presumably near death, and the succession of a crown prince demonstrated as grasping, vindictive and dangerous. […]

18 03 2019
Royalist “cleaning” | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] of this is ritual. Some of it is (kind of) personal. Some of it is about wealth and investment. And, some is (kind of) […]

18 03 2019
Royalist “cleaning” | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] of this is ritual. Some of it is (kind of) personal. Some of it is about wealth and investment. And, some is (kind of) […]