Vajiralongkorn takes another wife

2 05 2019

Barely mentioned in the mainstream media before today, King Vajiralongkorn has taken Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya as his fourth official wife and new queen.

Reports now mention her as General Suthida, a rank given to her by Vajiralongkorn about the time he became king. He has given military rank to several wives and consorts in the past.

The Post states:

Since the marriage took place in line with the law and royal traditions, Queen Suthida is henceforth entitled to all the benefits of royal rank and status of the royal family, according to an announcement dated Wednesday and published in the Royal Gazette.

The fourth official wife Vajiralongkorn has had, the ceremony saw the officials register the marriage, witnessed by Princess Sirindhorn and Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda.

The king has several consorts and has been seen with them in Germany. He was also seen in the infamous crop-top/fake tattoo photos with her.

Previous reporting on the 40 year-old Suthida has tended to coincide with her official promotions.

One event, in 2017, saw her awarded one of the highest royal decorations as commander in King Vajiralongkorn’s guard. Essentially, this made Suthida the “de facto head of security for … the King. Although she formally holds the title of deputy commander of the royal guard corps, the top rank had been left vacant since December 2016.” It was said Suthida had been serving in the royal guards since 2013.

The relationship between Vajiralongkorn and Suthida goes back several years.

In 2017, BBC Thai had a useful account of Suthida’s rise, beginning from 2012 and listing the many promotions and awards that have been showered on her by the prince-now-king, with each event is linked to the Royal Gazette.

Given her long relationship with Vajiralongkorn, we guess she knows what she’s getting into. His three previous marriages all ended in bitterness and some of them in terror.

As crown prince, Vajiralongkorn’s first official marriage was in early 1977 to his first cousin on Queen Sirikit’s side, Soamsawali.

It was an unhappy marriage.

The relationship had ended long after the prince abandoned Soamsawali, when she was pregnant, for the woman who would become his second official wife, Yuvadhida Polpraserth.

Soamsawali was protected by her family position after the divorce in 1991. She remained a member of the royal family as the mother of a royal grandchild.

Prince, and kids in earlier times

Yuvadhida was an actress from low-budget films that some saw as soft porn. Her official marriage to Vajiralongkorn in 1994 was only announced to the public a while after it took place. This was because the prince’s philandering was viewed dimly by the public.

Yuvadhida produced sons and a daughter. Within a couple of years, however, the family was thrown out of Thailand in a fit of princely rage over what might have involved allegations of her infidelity.

Only the daughter, now Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, returned to live with Vajiralongkorn, with the sons and their mother living in the U.S.A.

Meanwhile, the prince had already taken up with Srirasmi, made infamous by the leaked nude birthday party video.

She produced a son who is considered heir apparent, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti.

Srirasmi’s ousting from the palace when the prince tired of her was nasty and vicious.

It seems she remains in Thailand but is in imposed seclusion and several members of her family have served jail terms.

Given the turmoil of the past, the new marriage will be watched with considerable interest, although reporting on it will not be possible in Thailand.





How huge is the Royal Guard?

12 04 2019

Does anyone know how big the Royal Guard is?

We ask because a recent announcement in the Royal Gazette states that the king has “retired” 1,261 officers. It goes on to name every single one of them.

Almost all of those listed are Army Generals, Lieutenant Generals and Major Generals or their rank equivalents in the Navy, Air Force and Police. There are a few who have ranks lower than generals.

The announcement has no statement of the reasons, but some social media accounts are that these are officers who are being retired and who are old.

That may or may not be true, but the capacity to send more than 1,200 very senior generals to retirement from those allocated to the palace suggests that that force is huge.





Another privy councilor appointed

24 12 2016

The new king’s Privy Council appointments are looking rather haphazard and lacking in advance planning.

Although we stated that it was widely expected that the new king would put his stamp on the Privy Council. In an earlier post, we stated that he’d done that in very quick time. At the end of the first week of December, a bunch of old-timers were shoved out and military senior officers and members of the ruling junta were brought in. About a week later, two more were appointed.

Some 10 days later, the Bangkok Post reports that another general has been hurriedly appointed.

General Kampanart Ruddit, a former assistant army chief, suddenly resigned from the puppet National Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. On Friday he became the 12th privy councilor (13 including 96 year-old General Prem Tinsulanonda, its president).

It seems odd that the king is adopting a drip-drip-drip approach to appointments. Had he not prepared? Or is it that the military and Prem are negotiating this?

General Kampanart is a loyalist. He was formerly a commander of the 1st Division of the Royal Guards, placing him close to the palace, and commander of the 1st Army region. Following the 2014 military coup, Kampanart was reported as having “played an active role in monitoring and cracking down on anti-coup and anti-monarchist elements in Bangkok and the central region.”

When he declared his wealth on being appointed to the NLA, the then Lt. Gen. reported just under 100 million baht. Not bad for one who is meant to live on his relatively low military salary.

Like others at the top, when the coup came in 2014, he was rewarded with a Directorship at the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. His brother, Admiral Luechai Ruddit, as navy chief of staff was appointed to the NLA in October.





Red shirt jailed

30 12 2011

Readers who missed this story in the Bangkok Post may like to follow up on the jailing of an alleged red shirt who is claimed to have stolen weapons from soldiers in May 2010.

Kamla Chomchuen was sentenced to 10 years in prison despite  retracting a confession he made soon after he was arrested under pressure from the police.

The three soldiers involved were from the Royal Guard and they “identified Kamla as the person who attacked them and stole three M16s and 150 rounds of ammunition near Soi Morleng on Ratchaprarop Road.”

We note that a very large number of soldiers abandoned their weapons during the early days of the Battle for Bangkok. Remarkably, one of the weapons that Kamla was convicted of stealing was allegedly “later found inside Wat Pathumwanaram.” That would be convenient for the army.

The war against red shirts continues. However, the real story is the bigger one of how this military sells and loses weapons on a regular basis.





Army trouble

23 06 2011

General Prayuth Chan-ocha just can’t seem to help himself. Through his actions, orders and statements, he makes a political point in support of the present Abhisit Vejjajiva regime.

Prayuth’s most recent orders are for the Army to prepare for post-election violence. That plays directly for the Democrat Party’s one and only campaign strategy that targets red shirts and the Puea Thai Party as dangerous.

At the same time, Prayuth reckons “that forming a new government after the poll would be a hard-fought battle.” Presumably it will be a battle the Army will be central to. They have a track record on this.

Major General Kampanart Ruddit, commander of the 1st Division of the Royal Guards, claimed that the Army was preparing for “potential trouble.” They have also been getting advice on how to legally protect themselves during civil strife.

PPT isn’t sure why. After all, impunity for state officials is provided under various acts and in practice, and has been for decades. This is why General Kampanart’s statement that “troops were usually held to account for rights abuses when assigned to handle security situations” is simply nonsense. We can’t think of any major case where soldiers have ever been “held to account” for the murder of civilians during political unrest.

 








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