The unpredictable King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is suffering mass protests in Bangkok, has now been accused of breaking his sister’s ankles.
The shocking allegation was reported by Andrew MacGregor Marshall, the former Reuters bureau chief in Bangkok, in his subscription-only newsletter, Secret Siam.
Marshall, who is free to quote his Thai sources without fear of the country’s vicious censorship laws since he left Asia, reports that the king is alleged to have attacked his sister after she was knocked over by his dogs. Insiders claimed that he either jumped on her legs or beat her with a cane.
The assault was allegedly prompted after she confronted him over his plans to make his official consort a second queen, alongside his present wife, Queen Suthida.
The Thai nobility has recently been alive with rumors that King Maha X is set to elevate his official consort, Sineenat “Koi” Wongvajirapakdi, to the status of full queen.
The proposed scheme apparently went down badly with his sister, Princess Sirindhorn, who went to see her brother to try to change his mind about two weeks ago.
This appears to have been a bad idea; the palace recently announced that Sirindhorn had injured both of her ankles in a fall, and had been taken to the hospital, but, MacGregor Marshall says, citing “well-placed sources” in “informed palace networks,” that this is less than half the story.
In fact, he alleges, “a furious row erupted” during the meeting and “she was knocked over by one of Vajiralongkorn’s dogs, and while she was lying on the ground he either stamped on her ankles or struck them with a cane, shattering both of them.”
MacGregor Marshall says that Sirindhorn underwent operations on both ankles at Chulalongkorn Hospital and is unlikely to walk again for several months.
An announcement on Koi’s promotion to Thailand’s second queen is said to have been planned for Tuesday, her birthday. In what may be a precursor to an official announcement later, the pair made a public appearance wearing matching blue coats as they released fish and birds in a Buddhist ceremony at Wasukri pier in Bangkok. Contrary to a report in German newspaper Bild, an official announcement of her elevation has not yet been made.
If Koi is indeed promoted to the position of queen, it would mark a remarkable comeback for the 35-year-old former nurse.
Koi was only released from detention in August last year after spending ten months at a correctional facility. She had been accused of feuding with the queen but was then declared “untainted” and restored to her role as 68-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s official consort.
Just as rumors of her release were circulating, over a thousand photos of her, including alleged nudes, were sent on SD cards to MacGregor Marshall, and to Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a Thai academic and outspoken critic of the monarchy.
The king only married his current and fourth wife, Suthida, in May 2019, just days before his coronation. He divorced his third wife in 2014. The relationship was made famous by a leaked video showing her feeding birthday cake to his poodle, Fufu, while she wore only a G-string and courtiers crawled on the floor before her and the king.
Fufu featured in a previous embarrassing incident: Cables written by Eric John when he was U.S. ambassador to Bangkok, which were published by Wikileaks, detailed the king’s strange obsession with the dog. The diplomatic cables said he adored Fufu, and gave him the title air chief marshal. He is said to have brought the dog to an official dinner “dressed in formal evening attire complete with paw mitts” where he drank from guests’ water glasses.
Thailand is battling a deep recession brought about by COVID-19 and the collapse of the pivotal tourist trade.
Opponents of the ultra-rich royal family have been emboldened in recent months as rallies by student protesters against the establishment have seen their numbers swelling.
Demonstrators have recently taken to protesting by wearing crop tops exposing their midriff to mock the king, who has been photographed wearing similar garb at airports and in German shopping centers.
The protests have been inflamed by reports of the king’s vast wealth, estimated by London’s Financial Times at between $30 billion and $40 billion, after sovereign funds were effectively put under his direct control by the leaders of a successful 2014 coup.
He is believed to be the world’s richest king.
As The Daily Beast recently reported, Vajiralongkorn is also alleged to have built up an extraordinary fleet of 38 jets and helicopters for the exclusive use of the Thai royal family.
He has spent much of the past few years living in Germany, most recently at the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmish-Partenkirchen, where his retinue of 20 concubines, who have all been given the same honorary surname, have also damaged his domestic and international reputation.
Email addresses provided on Thai government websites did not work, with emails from The Daily Beast requesting comment bouncing back. However, the Thai royals do not typically comment in response to press inquiries, in part because criticizing the royal family in the media is an offense under strict lèse majesté provisions of Thai law.
At the latest count, according to a tally by news agency Prachatai, at least 55 people are now facing lèse majesté charges.