Wed, Oct 19, 2016 - Page 9 News List

Thailand’s next king lives in revered father’s shadow

He attends the requisite ceremonies, but the prince is generally a private figure, visibly ill at ease in most public settings, whose activities are usually unpublicized

AP

However, Srirasmi also fell out of favor. Some of her close relatives were arrested in November 2014 on charges of abusing the crown prince’s name in collusion with corrupt police to run a massive extortion scheme. She was stripped of her royal title and the couple are divorced.

Also widely discussed — albeit privately — in Thailand is Vajiralongkorn’s relationship with former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed by a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption and disrespect for the king.

Thaksin, a billionaire, was believed to have sought the prince’s favor with lavish gifts of cash and property. Thaksin — who lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai to avoid a jail term for corruption — also employed some awkward flattery.

Asked about the crown prince in an interview published online in 2009 by the London Times, Thaksin said: “He’s not the king yet. He may not be shining [now]... but after he becomes the king I’m confident he can be shining... it’s not his time yet, but when the time comes I think he will be able to perform.”

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