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Thai King Makes Rare Move With Consort

Sineenatra Wongvajirabhakdi is the first to be named royal consort in almost a century
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 27, 2019 7:17 AM CDT
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King Maha Vajiralongkorn with Major General Sineenatra Wongvajirabhakdi, the royal noble consort. She was bestowed the title of Chao Khun Phra Sineenatra Bilasakalayani by Vajiralongkorn in late July.   (Thailand Royal Office via AP)
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(Newser) – Thailand's royal palace has released photos of King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his recently anointed royal consort, reports the AP, though the official website hosting the images became inaccessible within a few hours. The photos released Monday show the 67-year-old monarch and Sineenatra Wongvajirabhakdi in formal regalia as well as in casual settings. She was named Chao Khun Phra Sineenatra Bilasakalayani last month on the king's birthday, becoming the first to receive the title of royal noble consort since 1921, during an era of absolute monarchy. The king married longtime companion Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya in May a few days before his coronation and named her his queen. Like Sineenatra, she has been serving as a senior officer in palace security units. Vajiralongkorn was married three times previously, fathering seven children.

Vajiralongkorn assumed the throne after the 2016 death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for 70 years. During his decades as crown prince, Vajiralongkorn's personal life was often the subject of hushed gossip, though public discussion was hampered by the country's harsh lese majeste law. Some of the new images show 34-year-old Sineenatra, who holds the army rank of major general, piloting a fighter jet, aiming a rifle on a firing range, and preparing for what appears to be a night-time parachute jump. Sineenatra is said to have undergone rigorous military training, and holds several positions in the palace bureaucracy. Others show her and the king holding hands, unusually intimate photos for the royal family. Unflattering photos of the king and his consort taken by paparazzi in Germany, where the monarch maintains a residence, have circulated on social media.

(Read more Thailand monarchy stories.)

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