Exclusive Photos of Thai King's Royal Consort Released
Thailand’s palace has released rare images and a biography of the king’s newly anointed royal consort, including both candid and action-packed photos of her aiming a weapon on a firing range, piloting a plane, and preparing to parachute.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn bestowed the rank of “Chao Khun Phra” or noble consort on the 34-year-old former army nurse Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi on his 67th birthday in July. She is the first woman to receive the noble rank in nearly a century.
Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi is the first woman to receive the noble rank of “Chao Khun Phra” in nearly a century. Photo: AFP Relaxnews
The publication of the more than 60 photos and a 46-page biography was dated last week, but only began circulating online until Monday. “The king has ordered the creation of a royal biography for Chao Khun Phra Sineenat Bilaskalayani,” a statement from the Royal Office said, using her full title.
The images and details provide an unusually intimate glimpse into the private lives of the powerful, ultra-wealthy and inscrutable monarchy, which is protected by a royal insult law that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison per count.
They show Sineenat in camouflage fatigues, taking part in military drills, flying a small plane, and laughing at a table with the king, both wearing casual clothes.
Born in the northern province of Nan, Sineenat graduated from the Royal Thai Army Nursing College, trained as a pilot in Thailand and abroad, and served in the king’s royal bodyguard unit, reaching the rank of major-general in May.
A cycling and aviation enthusiast who spends much of his time abroad in Germany, Vajiralongkorn was crowned in May in an elaborate three-day ceremony that Sineenat participated in. The ceremony took place mere days after a stunning announcement that Vajiralongkorn had married Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya, a former flight attendant and deputy commander of the monarch’s security detail.
Suthida is the fourth wife of the monarch, who has a teenage son from his third marriage and six other children. However, the king is not as well-known to the public as his beloved father Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016. In the run-up to his coronation the billboards and government offices were peppered with large imposing portraits of Vajiralongkorn.