Thailand’s new ruler, King Rama X is the tenth member of a dynasty that span 7 decades. The dynasty started in 1782, however, this new controversial king will be judged by how he measures up to his revered father, King Bhumibol, who recently passed away on Oct. 13 at age 88 after years of ill health.
Rama X – who also was given the formal title “His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarankun” on Thursday – had been the heir apparent since 1972, as his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej was selected by his predecessors.
Now the 64-year-old Vajiralongkorn, the second child and only son of Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, is facing a tough task of maintaining a monarchy in a politically troubled land.
“You have to accept it when you are born into this situation, some people like me, some people don’t like me. It’s their privilege” He said.
As crown prince and now as king, Vajiralongkorn has been protected by a Thai law mandating a 3 to 15 year long prison sentence for insulting any of the royal family. A guilty person can be prosecuted under the lese majeste law. Blocking of internet sites deemed insulting to the royal family, this has grown more common in recent years.
In 2001, he got married to a commoner, Srirasmi Koet-amphaeng – Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, their son was born in 2005.
Srirasmi later fell out of favor with the royal family, her relatives were arrested in November 2014, she was stripped of her royal title and the couple divorced shortly after.
The prince was rumored to be in collusion with the corrupt police department that was responsible for running a massive extortion scheme. However, over time, some of the most outrageous allegations have faded. But the rumor mill has continued to feed on his personal life