The King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, announced on Wednesday that he has a new wife, Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayutthaya, who has been appointed as the new queen just days before her coronation.
The announcement has been made in the Royal Gazette and indicates the king has married Suthida, although no details are given as to when the marriage would have occurred.
It has long been rumoured that Suthida, 40, had a sentimental relationship with the monarch since he was crown prince, but his relationship had not been made public until now.
Suthida is Vajiralongkorn’s fourth wife. The king has five sons and two daughters from their previous marriages. The 66-year-old monarch ascended to the throne after the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in 2016 after seven decades in office. His postponed coronation is scheduled for this Saturday.
Vajiralongkorn attributed the initial delay to mourning for his father, who was revered in the country as a father figure and moral authority, but has never offered a reason for the continued delay nor set a date until early this year.
The new king of Thailand is the richest monarch in the world, according to the Business Insider website, after he took over the Crown Property Office last year, which estimates it has assets valued at $30 billion.
In 2014, Vajiralongkorn appointed Suthida Tidjai, a former Thai Airways stewardess, as deputy commander of his bodyguard unit, according to Reuters. In December 2016, the king named her general and ‘number two’ of the monarch’s personal guard in 2017. In addition, he named her Thanpuying, a royal title meaning lady.