In perhaps his most remarkable display of unrestricted power, after a new constitution was adopted in a referendum, Vajiralongkorn simply rewrote the clauses having to do with the power of the king. The reverence for the king has long been enforced by the country’s lèse-majesté laws, which outlaw “defaming, insulting, or threatening” of a member of the royal family — including, for example, “Liking” that mall video on Facebook. The Sun website is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Our journalists strive for accuracy but on occasion we make mistakes. The pair bought a poodle, Foo Foo, which Maha became devoted to in a way that even the most ardent dog lover would find extreme. But things have decidedly not worked out that way. I hired a car to look at the royal compound, though it’s not easy to get glimpses inside. In one of them, for example, he eliminated a requirement that when the king is out of the country, which Vajiralongkorn is most of the time, his authority would revert to a regent. Since taking the throne in late 2016, Vajiralongkorn has rapidly amassed power. It marked a sudden fall from grace for the royal consort, who for several years was seen often at the side of King Vajiralongkorn. The current concept of Thai kingship evolved through 800 years of absolute rule. They began living together but his wife refused to divorce him. Once you go through the lovely king and queen tattoo … Soldiers patrol the sidewalks alongside. The wacky monarch is even threatening to sue Facebook over the shots, taken last July by a passer-by who recognised the king. Well now, who is this bad boy of the Thai monarchy, walking around in an at-best brave choice of a crop top, sporting some colorful tattoos? For more on him, see richardbernstein.net. “Regarding Thaksin, it had to be either a coup or an assassination,” a former moderate Thai member of parliament told me in 2014, expressing the commonly held middle- and upper-class fear that even though Thaksin had been legally elected, he would turn out to be a dictator impossible to remove. But there seems to be very little of that in Thailand these days. A year earlier he divorced Srirasmi, stripped her royal titles and exiled her to an undisclosed location in Thailand — with a reported settlement of £4.5million. Thailand is a place where journalists, civic activists, lawyers, and others are summoned to a military base for “attitude adjustment,” as the well-known euphemism would have it. View our online Press Pack. It would be hard to overstate the extent of what seems to be an almost medieval reverence for the king in Thailand. This has included closing areas that were once open to the public, including the Bangkok Zoo and one of Bangkok’s two horse-racing tracks. "The Sun", "Sun", "Sun Online" are registered trademarks or trade names of News Group Newspapers Limited. Thai officials ordered that the snaps of King Maha Vajiralongkorn be wiped from the web by 10am today — though they are still on show. What exactly do these tattoos symbolize? The film showed the then-64-year-old Vajiralongkorn roaming a shopping mall in Munich, Germany, where he lived most of the time, accompanied not by his wife but his mistress. He’s gotten changes in the constitution giving him emergency powers and allowing him to exercise his authority even when he is out of the country — which is most of the time. It’s an immense rectangle, surrounded by newly renovated walls surmounted by the yellow flag of the monarchy. But the king’s bizarre dress sense is just the tip of the iceberg for this very different monarch. Thailand's New Playboy King, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, had a poodle named Foo Foo and sports tattoos and crop tops Around the same time, several palace aides were dismissed — two of them, identified as bedroom guards, for “inappropriate acts and adultery,” according to the official Palace Gazette. And given its importance as a pillar of Thai nationhood and identity, that could be disastrous in a country already prone to deep divisions and political turmoil. The Thai military government has always used a mandatory reverence for the monarchy as a tool of political control, and has carefully cultivated a very monarchical image for the new king. His father, King Bhumibol, was extremely popular in Thailand, where he was treated like a god. For further details of our complaints policy and to make a complaint please click this link: thesun.co.uk/editorial-complaints/, Comments are subject to our community guidelines, which can be viewed, King Maha Vajiralongkorn in a croptop in Munich, With wife Srirasmi and Air Chief Marshal Foo Foo, Queen Sirikit branded her son a womaniser, Maha fathered four sons and a daughter with his mistress during his first marriage, With wife Srirasmi Suwadee and their son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, Leaked footage appears to show a mostly naked Srirasmi on the King's birthday, The Thai monarch is a fan of fake tattoos, Maha was known for bullying other children at school, Unlike his son, King Bhumibol, left, was well loved by the people of Thailand, Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). Below done by Machine, Full Tattoo lower arm wrap around sleeve 16,000 Baht or in $530 By Kocha Olarn, CNN. The same cannot be said for Maha, who is — privately, of course — loathed by the public and therefore rules through fear. queen of heart tattoo meaning. Reports by Wikileaks in 2011 revealed that many in the inner government would have preferred one of Maha’s younger sisters to take the throne upon the death of King Bhumibol — but Thai law forbids a female monarch. In the largest of them, in 2010, the Red Shirts occupied the commercial center of Bangkok for nearly three months before they were crushed by the army, with some 80 Red Shirts killed and more than 2,000 injured. If there were people hoping somehow that, being a Western-educated, cosmopolitan person living mostly in the West, he would encourage a move back in the direction of liberal values and practices, they have by now been disappointed. His European links stretch back to his school days, which were also controversial. Comments Share your thoughts and debate the big issues. On 16 May 2017, Thai officials warned Facebook after an online video was posted of the king wearing a crop top and with full view of his half sleeve tattoo. But in 2017, Thai authorities demanded that Facebook remove embarrassing footage of the king in a shopping centre, wearing a crop top and sporting fake tattoos. He’s taken control of an estimated $43 billion in royal assets that have for decades been entrusted to a Crown Property Bureau that, at least theoretically, managed the money for the benefit of the Thai people. It does this by refusing to criticize these countries for human rights violations, by offering aid and military support when such support is withheld by the US and Europe, and, not least, by presenting a model that seems to be successful and that China itself proclaims as an alternative to Western ways of doing things. But Nui is not without competition. “I thought that Thailand would end up having a weak king,” Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a scholar of Thai politics and a dissident exiled from the country when Vajiralongkorn’s father was still king, told me in a Skype interview from Japan, where he lives. With King Bhumibol Adulyadej old and ailing, many worried the Thai monarchy would atrophy into irrelevance once his playboy son ascended to the throne. Vajiralongkorn’s assertion of his power comes at a time when Thailand has been moving in an authoritarian direction, the government largely controlled by the military, which, after years of sometimes violent political turmoil, took power in a coup in 2014. Indeed, his string of failed marriages and apparently insatiable appetite for women — his own mother Queen Sirikit branded him a womaniser — has had Thais quietly gossiping for years. It’s clear that nobody wants to be heard saying anything negative or derogatory about Vajiralongkorn. And nobody can or dares to stop him.”. He married Yuvadhida the following year but after a mysterious bust-up two years later, she fled to the UK to escape her husband. Thais who know about such things say his army is equipped with armored personnel carriers, anti-riot gear, and helicopters. She was unable to challenge him, due to the strict laws which prohibit criticism of the monarchy, so the divorce was finalised. Bhumibol Adulyadej (Thai: ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช; RTGS: Phumiphon Adunyadet; pronounced [pʰūː.mí.pʰōn ʔā.dÅ«n.jā.dèːt] (); see full title below; 5 December 1927 – 13 October 2016), conferred with the title King Bhumibol the Great in 1987 (officially conferred by King Vajiralongkorn in 2019), was the ninth monarch of Thailand … A new constitution written by the coup leaders allowed an election to take place in March 2019, but the new law gives the military so many automatic seats in parliament that it would be almost impossible for an opposition party to take control. 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