Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has married his long-time bodyguard in a surprise move just days before his coronation.
The Royal Gazette published an announcement saying Gen. Suthida Vajiralongkorn, a former flight attendant, had “legally married” the king in accordance with royal traditions.
Thailand has a new queen just in time for the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn in elaborate Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies on Saturday in Bangkok.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his consort, Gen. Suthida Vajiralongkorn named Queen Suthida, attend their wedding ceremony in Bangkok.
“Therefore, he bestows (the title) on General Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya from Queen Consort to Queen Suthida as of now,” the announcement said.
The ceremony was overseen by Vajiralongkorn wearing a white uniform in Bangkok’s Dusit Palace Wednesday, according to a broadcast of the announcement, which showed Queen Suthida in a traditional Thai silk dress.
The unpredictable king is due to be crowned the 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty in an elaborate three-day ceremony starting Saturday.
Long seen trailing the king in public events as part of his personal security retinue, Suthida, a former Thai Airways flight attendant, was given the rank of “general” in 2016
King Vajiralongkorn, who has been married three times, is frequently abroad in Germany.
Harsh lese-majeste laws have shielded public scrutiny of his colourful private life, and all media in Thailand must self-censor.
This weekend’s coronation will be the first since King Vajiralongkorn’s late father’s nearly 70 years ago.
It was not immediately clear what role Queen Suthida will play in the ceremony.