News analysis

King's order underscores key aspect of Thai monarchy

His elder sister's nomination as PM candidate would have blurred a critical red line

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn's Feb 8 announcement quashing the nomination of his elder sister Ubolratana Rajakanya as the prime ministerial candidate of the Thai Raksa Chart Party goes to the essence of one key aspect of the role and moral authority of the Thai monarchy - separation from politics.

Princess Ubolratana's royal status has been the subject of much quibbling because of her personal history. Last week, she described herself as a commoner. But the King's announcement made it clear that she is a princess.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2019, with the headline 'King's order underscores key aspect of Thai monarchy'. Print Edition | Subscribe