Thai king strips 'disloyal' royal consort of all titles: palace
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has stripped his 34-year-old consort of all titles for "disloyalty" and apparent "ambition" to match the Queen's position, a royal command issued late Monday said, less than three months after she was bestowed with the honour.
In this file undated handout from Thailand's Royal Office received on August 26, 2019, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn poses with royal noble consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani, also known as Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has stripped his 34-year-old consort of all titles, the palace announced October 21, a shock move less than three months after she was bestowed with a position that had not been used for nearly a century.[Photo: AFP/THAILAND'S ROYAL OFFICE]
Former royal bodyguard Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi -- known by her nickname "Koi" -- was gifted the title on the king's 67th birthday on July 28, the first time in nearly a century a Thai monarch has taken a consort.
A few days later the palace released images of the short-haired Sineenat in combat fatigues shooting weapons, flying a jet and preparing to parachute from a plane, as well as holding the king's hand.
It was an intimate and rare glimpse into the private life of Thailand's powerful, ultra-wealthy and inscrutable monarch, known as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty.
But on Monday Sineenat's swift and public downfall was relayed on national television.
She was dismissed from the rank of Chao Khun Phra -- or noble consort -- for "disloyalty to the king" according to the command, as well as "acting against the appointment of the Queen (Suthida)... for her own ambitions".
Suthida - the former deputy head of the royal bodyguard - was made Queen in May, becoming King Vajiralongkorn's fourth wife.
The Thai monarchy is protected by a harsh defamation law, making open discussion on the institution for the public and media based inside the country all but impossible.
Rama X has asserted his authority since his 2016 ascension to the throne, putting the large wealth of the crown under his direct control and restructuring key army units to his command.
Koi, a qualified pilot and former army nurse, was the first woman to receive the consort title in nearly a century -- fitting a pattern of assertive moves by the king.
- Stripped of all ranks -
This undated handout from Thailand's Royal Office received on August 26, 2019 shows royal noble consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani, also known as Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi. [Photo: AFP/THAILAND'S ROYAL OFFICE]
Her actions show "she does not give any honour to the king and does not understand royal tradition... her actions are to benefit herself", the statement said, adding she was attempting to elevate her position to the same as Queen Suthida.
Her behaviour is "deemed disrespectful to His Majesty's grace... and caused divisions among courtiers and misunderstanding among the people", the statement added.
She was stripped of all military ranks, decorations and royal titles, it said.
Born in the northern province of Nan on January 26, 1985, Sineenat, graduated from the Royal Thai Army Nursing College at the age of 23.
She has also trained as a pilot in Thailand and abroad, served in the King's royal bodyguard unit, and in May was awarded the rank of a major-general.