Thailand’s king has stripped his royal noble consort of her titles and military ranks for disloyalty, and accused her of seeking to undermine the position of his official wife for her own benefit.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s royal command on Monday came just three months after he granted 34-year-old Sineenatra Wongvajirabhakdi the consort title, reviving an old palace tradition of taking a junior wife.
The appointment also saw the palace take the unprecedented step of releasing pictures of her in a fighter jet, wearing a crop top and dressed in combat fatigues with him and the royal poodle. The unusually candid pictures were so popular they caused the royal website to briefly crash.
Sineenatra had her title of Chao Khun Phra Sineenatra Bilasakalayani withdrawn, along with other royal and military titles and decorations. She had been the first to receive the consort’s title since 1921, during an era of absolute monarchy.
In May, the king named long-time companion Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya his queen when they were married a few days before his formal coronation.
Both the 41-year-old Suthida and Sineenatra have served as senior officers in palace security units, with Sineenatra once holding the rank of the king’s former bodyguard.
Suthida previously worked as a flight attendant for Thai Airways International. The two reportedly met on a flight.
Vajiralongkorn, 67, has had three previous marriages and divorced his previous wife, with whom he has a son, in 2014. He became king after the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October 2016.
He was officially crowned in May in an elaborate centuries-old royal tradition last seen seven decades ago.
The elaborate ceremony came amid more than a decade of political strife, including a 2014 military coup and a contentious election earlier this year.