Monday 18 November 2019

Thailand's king fires royal bedroom guards for adultery

Monarch: King Maha and with one of his consorts, named Queen Suthida, at their wedding ceremony in Bangkok in May. Photo: Thai Royal Household
Monarch: King Maha and with one of his consorts, named Queen Suthida, at their wedding ceremony in Bangkok in May. Photo: Thai Royal Household

Rachael Alexander

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has fired two bedroom guards for adultery a week after stripping his royal consort of her titles for disloyalty.

In the latest purge of his royal household, the 67-year-old monarch said the two officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel were sacked for "extremely evil misconduct".

"They have committed inappropriate acts and adultery," according to an announcement in the 'Royal Gazette' which described them as members of the "bedroom division".

Two other officers with the rank of lieutenant were also dismissed for being "lax" in their duty as palace guards and "behaving unbecomingly". All four were stripped of their ranks and titles.

The dismissals on Tuesday followed those of six palace officials last week, including a veterinarian, a police lieutenant general in the royal household bureau and a nurse certified to serve as a royal page in the regent's bedroom.

They appear to have been prompted by the dismissal of the king's 34-year-old consort, Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, for "disloyalty" just three months after she was appointed to the position.

Ms Wongvajirapakdi, a trained nurse and pilot who served in the royal bodyguard, was accused of being "ungrateful" and attempting to rise to the level of the queen.

Experts suggested the king's decision to take a consort for the first time since the 1920s - and then sacking her - was a demonstration of power.

"By appointing an official consort and acknowledging royal polygamy for the first time in a century, Vajiralongkorn was sending a political signal," historian Andrew MacGregor Marshall said.

"He intends to reign as an absolute monarch like the Thai kings of the past. And by suddenly stripping his consort of her status just three months later, he is also signalling his power.

"He wants Thais to recognise that he has the power to elevate people and crush people based on his whims, and nobody can stand in his way."

King Vajiralongkorn assumed the throne following the death of his father Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016. (© Independent News Service)

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