Newly crowned Thai King bestows title of queen on wife, Latest World News - The New Paper

Newly crowned Thai King bestows title of queen on wife

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BANGKOK: Crowds lined the streets of Bangkok yesterday as King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Thailand's newly crowned monarch, made a 7km journey from the Grand Palace to three Buddhist temples in Bangkok.

While the three-day ceremonies involving the King has kept the Thai people enthralled, the one that took place on Saturday was just as interesting.

Kneeling in front of her King, General Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya was invested as queen in Bangkok's Grand Palace, taking up a prominent role in a country where the monarchy is revered, a fairy-tale ascent for the former flight attendant.

Wearing a pink traditional dress, Queen Suthida, 40, took her seat next to King Vajiralongkorn in the throne hall after he poured a few drops of sacred water on her forehead and handed over insignia according her status as queen.

The newest member of the royal family is the fourth wife of 66-year-old King Vajiralongkorn, a deeply private monarch who spends a lot of his time abroad in Germany. He has a 14-year-old son from his third marriage and six other children.

King Vajiralongkorn's coronation on Saturday came just three days after a stunning palace announcement that the pair had married, bestowing Gen Suthida with the title of queen.

But not much is known about his long-time consort-turned-queen. Broad biographical details such as her work as a flight attendant and her education at an upper-crust institution have emerged in Thai media.

But the palace has so far declined requests for more information.

Queen Suthida does not have the same royal lineage as King Vajiralongkorn's mother, Queen Sirikit.

She has "really come from the people", said Ms Sophie Boisseau du Rocher, Thailand specialist at the French Institute of International Relations.

According to a local media report, she met the future king, a keen aviator with a pilot's licence, when he flew the company's aircraft during a charity event in 2007.

In 2013, Queen Suthida entered the royal army and was promoted to the rank of general in 2016. In 2017, she was made deputy commander of the King's Royal Guard. - AFP