Fri, May 03, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Thai king appoints consort as queen

AP, BANGKOK

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, center, and Queen Suthida, right, register their marriage in Bangkok on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP / THAI ROYAL HOUSEHOLD BUREAU

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is to have his official coronation tomorrow, has appointed his consort as the country’s queen.

An announcement in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday said that Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya is legally married to the 66-year-old king, and is now Queen Suthida.

Although she has been in the public eye for about three years, there has been little official information released about her and the news was a surprise to many Thais.

She is reported to be 40 years old and to have previously worked as a flight attendant for Thai Airways International.

The two reportedly met on a flight.

Suthida joined the palace guard in 2013 and became commander of the king’s security unit. She now holds a general’s rank.

The new queen also has several top royal decorations.

Vajiralongkorn has had three previous marriages and in 2014 divorced his previous wife, with whom he has a son. He became king after the death in October 2016 of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thai television, which on Wednesday evening broadcast the royal order, showed a video of Suthida prostrating herself before the king, to whom she, according to the announcer, presented a tray of flowers and joss sticks, and in return was bestowed traditional gifts associated with royal power.

It also showed the king in a white uniform and his bride in a pink silk traditional dress formally registering their marriage on Wednesday in his palace residence in the capital, Bangkok.

It showed what the television announcer said was the couple signing a marriage certificate book, which was also signed by the king’s sister, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and Thai Privy Council head Prem Tinsulanonda as witnesses.

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