King of Thailand Strips His 'Royal Consort' of All Titles for ' Disloyalty' and Carries out a Palace Coup
The king of Thailand is a much-venerated figure in the country. The royal family of Thailand has a special place in the hearts of the Thai people. At the same time, the monarchy is protected by a string of laws that debar any discussion or criticism of the royal family. Anyone indulging in such activity can be sent to jail for 15 years.
King Maha Vajiralongkom ascended the throne after the death of his father in 2015. He is at present undergoing a one year ritual of celebrations for his coronation. The king has spent time with the Australian military academy and had also in Germany, where he lived for many years. On the death of his father, he returned to Thailand and immediately created waves when he married deputy chief of his personal guard force and named her his queen. Suthida Vajiralongkorn was named queen just before his coronation.
He further surprised the world by appointing a "royal concert". The royal consort Sineenatra was originally a nurse and had joined the king's personal entourage and risen to the rank of major general. The appointment of a "royal consort" was a first such designation or appointment in a 100 years. In the royal place and the king's life, a Royal consort is a woman who is a step below the queen. Colorful pictures of the royal concert were splashed by the palace where it was shown that she was piloting a plane and marching up and down in military attire. The appetite of the Thai people was whetted with the appointment of the royal concert and everybody hoped the king and the palace would settle down.
Royal Consort is stripped of all titles
However, we have received news that the king has stripped the royal concert of all titles for "disloyalty." One wonders how the king reached this conclusion within days and weeks of appointing her as the royal concert. The grapevine in Thailand is that the royal consort wanted to become Queen herself and this was undermining palace harmony. The stripping of all titles of the royal concert has been reported and no comment on it is permitted. No explanation is coming from the palace except for a cryptic statement that the royal concert has been removed for "disloyalty."
The word disloyalty can mean anything from adultery to trying to rise in the hierarchy of the court. The palace has now acted. All photographs of the royal concert and any reference to her had been removed from the website. People in Thailand accept everything about the royal family and nobody has questioned why this took place.
Along with the stripping of the royal concert of all privileges, the king has also carried out a mini palace coup. Six senior officials of the palace have been dismissed or removed and no reason has been given for this. All that has been announced is that they had "ëvil designs."
The king is not a passive constitutional monarch like his father but a man who wants to take an active part in the country's life. There are reports that he also transferred two units of the army under his direct control.
The king is 68 and is no longer a young man but he has led a colorful life as far as women are concerned. He has had 4 wives and divorced 3 of them. One of his wives who he divorced fled to the United States with the children. Another wife who he divorced is staying like a recluse on the outskirts of Bangkok. Many of her relations are in jail for trying to make use of the royal name for personal gain.
Recently the sister of the king has entered politics but the king disapproves of her entry into politics and most likely she will be disqualified by the election commission. The army which runs the country after a military coup is keen to cement its rule and making use of the king and his name is part of the game.
Motives of the king
One cannot comment on the motive of the king and the reasons why he took to strip the woman who became an important part of his life as the royal concert ( mistress) of all titles and perks. The use of the word "disloyalty" cannot be deciphered in the closed world of the palace. There is no way to know what is the reaction of the royal concert because all news about her is blacked out and in Thailand, nobody comments on the king and his actions.
For the people of Thailand, the king has a special place in their hearts. There is a chance that most people in Thailand feel that the king is right in appointing and then stripping her off all her titles. It has not been clarified by the palace whether the royal concert is still staying in the palace and attending to the king despite being stripped of all the titles. In any case, in the closed world of the palace, 34-year-old Sinineetra would remain at the mercy of the king Thailand. When I last visited Thailand the people were talking about what a great king the father of the present king was. What this publicly shows that there are some people and women who are not too happy with the antics of the present king.
The "royal consort": was appointed after a hundred years of history has been sent into oblivion. There are respected monarchies in Japan and England but the royal family there remain within the bounds of the public good. In Eastern culture, the royal concert was a part of the life of the maharajas and kings till the end of the 19th century but all that is history now as the two biggest countries China and India have done away with monarchies for all time.
Thailand has a unique place in southeast Asia and is a tourist paradise as and Bangkok is the playground of southeast Asia. Culturally women despite becoming pilots and car racers have to accept the dictates of the men. King Maha Vajiralongkom can continue to live a secure life and play on the emotions of the people and their love for the monarchy