Thai King strips 'disloyal' consort of title, military ranks

A file photo of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn with his then Royal Noble Consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. The 34-year-old former nurse was bestowed the title on the King’s 67th birthday in July.
A file photo of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn with his then Royal Noble Consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. The 34-year-old former nurse was bestowed the title on the King’s 67th birthday in July.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Left: Ms Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi trained as a pilot, and served in the King’s royal bodyguard unit. Right: Queen Suthida is the King’s fourth wife.
Left: Ms Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi trained as a pilot, and served in the King’s royal bodyguard unit. Right: Queen Suthida is the King’s fourth wife.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Royal Gazette says she was trying to sabotage Queen's appointment

BANGKOK • The royal consort to Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 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 yesterday.

Ms Sineenat, a 34-year-old former nurse, was bestowed the title of Royal Noble Consort on the King's 67th 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 the King married a former flight attendant and deputy head of his personal guard force, Suthida Tidjai, 41, and made her Queen just days before his coronation in May.

In late August, Ms Sineenat's official biography 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 site 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 yesterday, Ms Sineenat was trying to sabotage the appointment of Queen Suthida and had meddled 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.

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.

 
 
 
 

"His Majesty the King 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 was married three times when he was the crown prince. He 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 the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, after seven decades on the throne, the King has made several moves to consolidate his power.

These included taking complete ownership of assets worth billions of dollars from the Crown Property Bureau last year, and assuming personal control of two key army units this month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2019, with the headline 'Thai King strips 'disloyal' consort of title, military ranks'. Print Edition | Subscribe