News People Thai king names his new queen, days out from his coronation

Thai king names his new queen, days out from his coronation

thai king new queen
King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his queen, Suthida, during Wednesday's royal order. Photo: AAP
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Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has named his former bodyguard, Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayutthaya, as his queen, announcing their surprise marriage three days ahead of his coronation.

Suthida, 40, has been rumoured to be romantically linked with Vajiralongkorn for at least three years, but their relationship was not previously made public.

Suthida, who is Vajiralongkorn’s fourth wife, is said to have previously worked as a flight attendant for Thai Airways International. The pair apparently met on a flight and Suthida joined the palace guard in 2013.

She became commander of the king’s security unit, and the king made her a full general in December 2016. The new queen also has several top royal decorations, including being known as a Thanpuying, a royal title meaning Lady.

The king has five sons and two daughters from his previous marriages. He divorced his previous wife in 2014.

Thai television, which broadcast the royal order on Wednesday night, showed a video of Queen Suthida prostrating herself before Vajiralongkorn.

The official announcement of their marriage and Suthida’s new role was made in the Royal Gazette. The announcement did not specify the date of their marriage.

The 66-year-old king ascended the throne when his late father, king Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in 2016 after seven decades on the throne. His much-delayed coronation is due to be held on Saturday.

Vajiralongkorn attributed the reason for the initial delay of his coronation to the mourning for his late father, who was deeply revered by Thais as a father figure and moral authority. But the new king has never given a reason for the continued delay, nor had he named the coronation date until the beginning of this year.

Vajiralongkorn is the world’s richest monarch, according to business news website Business Insider, having last year taken full ownership of the Crown Property Bureau. It is estimated to have at least $US30 billion ($A43 billion) in holdings.

-with AAP