BANGKOK - The royal consort to Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Ms Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, has been stripped of her title and military ranks for being disloyal and ungrateful to the King, according to an announcement made in the Royal Gazette on Monday (Oct 21).
Ms Sineenat, a 34-year-old former nurse, was bestowed the Royal Noble Consort title on the King's birthday in July, a title not appointed in almost a century as recent Thai kings had adopted monogamy. She was the second Royal Noble Consort in Thailand's history.
Her appointment came after he married a former flight attendant and deputy head of his personal guard force, Ms Suthida Tidjai, 41, and made her Queen just days before his coronation in May.
In late August, Ms Sineenat's official biography and and a series of photos of her and the King in various places and outfits were published by the palace's website, an unprecedented move that caused the website to crash following heavy traffic.
The photos show Ms Sineenat in a crop top while piloting a jet, and the King and her together in both candid and formal poses.
According to the two-page announcement on Monday, she was trying to sabotage the appointment of Queen Suthida and had overstepped in the affairs of the royal couple.
"(She) was acting out against the royal marriage and the appointment of the Queen … She has put pressure and done anything she could, not to have the Queen appointed so that she can be appointed herself," the announcement read.
"His Majesty the King has appointed her the Royal Noble Consort to reduce such pressure. But after monitoring her behaviour for some time, it turned out that Royal Noble Consort Sineenat was neither grateful nor has she behaved appropriately for the title."
The former royal consort was also accused of misusing the King's name for her own gain, causing rifts among palace officials and misleading people about her status.
King Vajiralongkorn married three times when he was the crown prince and has seven children - five sons and two daughters - from the marriages.
Queen Suthida is his fourth wife. The royal couple have no children.
Previous reports say Ms Sineenat was born in the northern Thai province of Nan.
She graduated from the army nursing college, trained as a pilot, and served in the King's royal bodyguard unit, where she reached the rank of Major-General in May.
The King's private life is not openly discussed in Thailand due to the country's draconian lese-majeste law. This prohibits insults and criticism made against the king, queen, heir apparent and regent, with perpetrators facing up to 15 years in prison for each offence if found guilty.
Since ascending the throne in late 2016 following his late father king Bhumibol Adulyadej's death after seven decades on the throne, King Vajiralongkorn has made several moves to consolidate power.
These included taking complete ownership of the assets worth billions of dollars from the Crown Property Bureau last year, and taking personal control of two key army units this month.