Born In: Bangkok, Thailand
King Vajiralongkorn, styled as Rama X, is the reigning monarch of Thailand. Born as the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand, he was proclaimed Crown Prince at the age of twenty. An alumnus of University of New South Wales and Royal Military College, Australia, he took up his official duty at the age of twenty-four, traveling throughout the country, setting up hospitals, pitching in to improve the country’s agriculture and spread mass education, concurrently serving in the King's Own Bodyguard Battalion. On ascending the throne at the age of sixty-four, he immediately began to consolidate his position by bringing in various amendments and reviving past practices. However, his actual coronation took place three years later, when he was given the reigning title of Phrabat Somdet Phra Vajira Klao Chao Yu Hua. Of late, he has been spending far more time in Bavaria, Germany, than in Thailand, giving rise to discontent in the country.
Also Known As: Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun
Spouse/Ex-: Suthida, Soamsawali (1977–1991), Srirasmi Suwadee (2001–2014), Sujarinee Vivacharawongse (1994–1996)
father: Bhumibol Adulyade
mother: Sirikit Kitiyakara
siblings: Princess Chulabhorn, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhornm, Princess Ubol Ratana
children: Bajrakitiyabha, Chakriwat Vivacharawongse, Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, Juthavachara Vivacharawongse, Sirivannavari, Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse, Vatcharawee Vivacharawongse
Born Country: Thailand
Height: 1.7 m
Notable Alumni: Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Royal Military College, Duntroon, Command And General Staff College
education: Command And General Staff College, Royal Military College, Duntroon, University Of New South Wales, The King's School, Parramatta, Millfield School, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University
Vajiralongkorn was born on 28 July 1952, in the Dusit Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. His father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was the ninth monarch of Thailand from the Chakri dynasty while his mother, Qioeen Sirikit, was the daughter of a Thai diplomat.
Born second of his parents’ four children, Vajiralongkorn has three sisters; Princess Ubol Ratana, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhornm and Princess Chulabhorn. Since his eldest sister, Princess Ubol Ratana, married a foreigner, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhornm, has been given the title "Siam Boromrajakumari" (Princess Royal of Siam).
Vajiralongkorn began his education in 1956 at the Chitralada School in Dusit Palace, where he studied up to grade seven (Mathayom 1). At the age of thirteen, he was sent to England, where he was first enrolled at King's Mead School in Seaford, Sussex before being transferred to Millfield School, Somerset.
In July 1970, he graduated from Millfield School and moved to Australia, seeking admission at the Royal Military College, Canberra. However, he was refused entry because of his poor grades. Therefore, he was enrolled at The King’s School, Sydney, where he underwent a five-week military training course.
He spent 1971 repeating the final year of high school at The King’s School and entered the Royal Military College in 1972. There he underwent his military training as well as a degree course under University of New South Wales. Same year on December 28, he was proclaimed the Crown Prince.
In January 1976, he joined the Special Air Service Regiment in Perth to receive training in unconventional warfare tactics and advanced navigation. Later in the same year, he graduated from Royal Military College with the rank of lieutenant and a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts.
In 1977, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn returned home to join the Directorate of Army Intelligence, concurrently attending the Command and General Staff College. He also took up royal duties, traveling throughout the country as representative of the King, establishing twenty-one Crown Prince Hospitals in remote areas across the country.
In 1978, he became the head of the King's Own Bodyguard Battalion. In the same year on Nov 6, in keeping with the tradition, he was ordained as a monk at the Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram, spending fifteen days at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara under the monastic name of Vajiralongkornno.
Equally interested in agriculture and education, he extended his patronage to the Mobile Agricultural Clinic Project and presided over graduation ceremonies of the students of Rajabhat University system since 1978. In 1982, he earned his second bachelor's degree in law from the Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University.
Aware of the shortage of teachers in the country, he also founded Krurupradit Scholarship for students undergoing teacher training program at the Rajabhat University, each year contributing 42 million baht towards the program from his own fund. By 2012, he would add 41 scholarships to the list.
Concurrently with undertaking his royal duties, he also continued to upgrade his military qualification, earning an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) in 2004. In 2005, he earned his wings as a pilot for the Boeing 737-400, receiving his license from the Department of Civil Aviation.
In 2009 he also established the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn Foundation, which offers scholarships to bright, but economically weak students studying in high school, undergraduate and postgraduate level.
On 13 October 2016, King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away and shortly after that Vajiralongkorn was invited to ascend the throne. However, he sought time before he was formally proclaimed as the new King, using the gap to consolidate his position, filling up the Privy Council with his loyalists by the end 2016.
In early 2017, he asked for changes in the constitution, which would enable him to interfere in the state matter in case of political deadlock. Later that year, he was granted control over five state agencies that oversee royal affairs and security and the power to appoint the top monk.
He also took control of the Crown Property Bureau which manages an estimated US$52 billion in assets, replacing its executive board with his known loyalists. The king also shuffled the board of the palace’s Royal Project Foundation, which is dedicated to rural uplift and development.
On 26 October 2017, the mortal remains of the late King were finally cremated and in May 2019 Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne as the 10th king of the dynasty. His three days coronation ceremony, which took place from 4 to 6 May, cost one billion baht.
Even after his coronation, he spent very little time in Thailand, preferring to live in Germany, having initiated a change in the constitution, ending the practice of appointing a Regent to take care of the royal affairs in his absence. This did not go down well with the younger generation.
By 2020, an unprecedented protest broke out all over Thailand against his reign. The protesters, who were predominantly young, demanded not only systemic democratic reforms, but also curbs on the royal powers, petitioning the German government to investigate into activities on German soil.
Sitting in Bavaria, the King initially dismissed the rebellion as “children’s protest”, but later appealed to the protester to restrain themselves. In spite of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and ruthless suppression by the authorities, as of April 2021 it continues to rage.
On 3 January 1977, Vajiralongkorn married his first cousin, Princess Soamsawali Kitiyakara. They had one daughter, Princess Bajrakitiyabha, born in 1978. The couple divorced in July 1993.
By late 1970s, he started living with actress Yuvadhida Polpraserth, having five children with her. Their marriage took place in February 1994 and ended in 1996 when the queen escaped to Britain with her children. While the king disowned his four sons, he had Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana abducted and brought back to Thailand.
On 10 February 2001, the King married Srirasmi Suwadee, a commoner who had been in his service since 1992, having a son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, with her on 29 April 2005. The marriage ended in 2014.
On May 1, 2019, three days before his coronation, Vajiralongkorn married his fourth wife, Suthida Tidjai. She was the former acting commander of Royal Thai Aide-de-Camp Department.
On 28 July 2019, he revived an old practice, bestowing Major General Niramon Ounprom with the title of "Chao Khun Phra" or Royal Noble Consort.
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