Celebrity and the face of the monarchy

10 05 2018

Thailand’s monarchy, politically powerful and hugely wealthy, is composed of an odd bunch of royals. They are nothing if not a visual spectacle of strangeness and some seem to delight is somewhat strange behavior.   Some of them seem to crave a celebrity status comparable with the worst of public celebrities elsewhere.

We at PPT are often reminded of a British comedy about another dysfunctional royal family.

Yet as Khaosod reports, Princess Ubolratana, now 67 years old, likes to be in the spotlight.

She has recently “performed” a series of pop and other songs. The report is replete with videos of various performances by the royal grandmother, presenting herself as someone one-third her age.

No one in Thailand dares criticize her performance or tells her to behave. That’s because of strict lese majeste laws (even though she’s not officially covered by the law).

Of course, this means that no matter what she does, she’s praised. The media carry this praise to a wider audience and Ubolratana is not shy about self-promotion.

With the queen out of sight and ill and King Vajiralongkorn – Ubolratana’s younger brother – not as visible as his father was in the heyday of the ninth reign, the public face of the monarchy is often princesses.

Their public personae and antics are increasingly defining of the public’s monarchy and present a gayer and less severe face to the monarchy than that associated with the erratic and feared king. That’s probably welcomed, even in the royal family, but the performances are often odd, sometimes bizarre.