"... a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails."
Whether It Is Better To Be Loved Than Feared
Rama X King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun
Thailand wrapped up three days of elaborate and carefully choreographed ceremonies 06 May 2019 consecrating a new king who had wasted little time making his mark on the monarchy. The main coronation events, estimated to cost upwards of $30 million, began when the king was showered and purified with waters gathered from across the country before donning the full royal regalia, replete with sword, scepter and diamond-capped crown. A mix of Buddhist and Hindu Brahmin rituals, the rights of passage are meant to transform the king into a divine embodiment of the gods.
King Vajiralongkorn, 66, made bold moves to assert that strength and further consolidate his control of royal affairs. He held off on promulgating a new constitution the junta drafted until it agreed to concessions that tighten his grip on the Crown Property Bureau, estimated to be worth at least $30 billion. They also let the king, who spends much of his time in Germany, where he has a home, travel abroad without having to name a regent in his stead. The junta also granted the king the authority to appoint the Sangha Supreme Council, the governing body of Thai Buddhism, as well as a new chief monk, which he soon used.
He demonstrated that he is a much more direct and proactive leader than his father. This included the transfer of some military units, including the 1st Infantry Division of the king's guard, under direct palace control in April 2017. The ex-generals the king appointed to the Privy Council hail from a faction of the military traditionally opposed to the one that dominated the ruling junta, and he seemed likely to keep appointing members more loyal to him than to the junta or his father. The new king is remaking the Thai political-military leviathan in a way that reflects his own interests.
Thailand formally proclaimed Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn as king on 02 December 2016 Vajiralongkorn took over from his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October. The formal transfer of power took place after ceremonial protocols were fulfilled and top Thai officials formally invited Vajiralongkorn to become king. Once Vajiralongkorn accepted the invitation to become king, he was named Rama X of the Thai Chakri dynasty, which had ruled in Thailand since 1782.
Many saw the new King as an erratic playboy more interested in fast cars, parties, and women than in ruling a country that over the past four decades had turned to his father to arbitrate political conflicts. Since his ascension to the throne, King Vajiralongkorn proved them wrong. The first four months of his reign saw a forceful monarch, even more hands-on than his father. While King Bhumibol ruled by inspiring love in his subjects, Vajiralongkorn started his reign by instilling fear.
Vijiralongkorn demanded changes to a constitutional draft voted on in a popular referendum in August 2016 under the military junta. The changes provide the King with complete control over the appointment of a regent in his absence, cancel the need for a parliamentary counter-signature to royal orders, and re-establish royal crisis powers which were taken away from the palace in the 2016 draft, including the ability to impose executive and legislative vetoes and the right to dissolve the legislative assembly. Overall, with the new constitution Vajiralongkorn will wield more power over the parliament than his father ever did.
Vijiralongkorn stripped more than 40 palace officials of their ranks, with official accusations ranging from behavior unfit for senior bureaucrats to abuses of power for personal profit, from engagement in politics jeopardising national security, disclosing the late King's personal health record to having lost His Majesty's trust.
Among those removed from their positions in the palace were two important cases: that of Jumpol Manmai, a former deputy police chief and Grand Chamberlain of the Bureau of the Royal Household in charge of security and special affairs. Jumpol was fired for undisclosed "extremely evil misconduct" - in the words of the Royal Gazette.
Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn was been granted full ownership of the palace’s billions of dollars worth of assets under a law passed last year, according to a rare “explanatory note” published 16 June 2018 by the financial arm of the powerful but secretive monarchy. the Chakris are one of the world’s richest royal dynasties, with estimates varying between $30 billion and $60 billion, controlled by the opaque Crown Property Bureau (CPB).
Thailand’s royalist junta ramped up lese majeste charges against perceived palace critics since seizing power in the May 2014 coup, with military-run tribunals handing down some of the harshest prison sentences ever witnessed. The clampdown came against the backdrop of what was once seen as an uncertain royal succession from King Bhumibol Adulyadej. as King Vajiralongkorn quickly and firmly consolidates his royal palace, and the military top brass who successfully steered the royal transition now seemingly poised to relinquish power at democracy-restoring polls early next year, there are clear, if not incipient, signs that the fearsome law will be used less frequently.
Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej was pronounced dead on 13 October 2016 after years of grave illnesses, leaving the throne to Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who was manifestly unsuited for the job. The Crown Prince would succeed his father, according to law. However, there could be complicating factors -- if Vajiralongkohn proved unable to stay out of politics, or avoid embarrassing financial transactions. The Crown Prince is not as popular as his father. The ascension to the thrown of the widely-disliked Crown Prince could splinter Thai politics, if prominent politicians openly questioned the presumed heir to the throne's fitness to assume the monarchical reins.
In September 2018, King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun endorsed the last two bills that were required for a general election to take place, with the law coming into effect 90 days later, on Dec. 11. Once that law takes effect, the junta government must hold an election within 150 days. In Thailand, an event inviting people to get on their bikes for exercise got rolling 09 December 2018. To set an example, the king himself got in the saddle. King Maha Vajiralongkorn enjoyed a 39-kilometer spin through Bangkok with his 2 daughters. About 3,500 people joined him. A crowd of thousands stood along the route to watch the cyclists pass by tourist spots. The event was also held in provinces across the country the same day. The activity is the brainchild of the king, who is a keen cyclist. It ran through January 19th. The monarch helped organize cycling events on Thailand's Mother's Day and Father's Day in 2015.
Early in Thaksin's administration, Thaksin seemed to invest heavily in cultivating close ties to the Crown Prince. The two men later had a spectacular falling-out, prompting the Crown Prince to abandon the Nonthaburi Palace that Thaksin had purchased and outfitted for him, moving to the Sukhothai Palace downtown. Stories vary about a meeting between Thaksin and the Crown Prince in London in 2007; the version assessed as most likely is that Thaksin sought an audience with the Crown Prince, and, when this was not granted, he inserted himself into the reception line at the Crown Prince's hotel and had a 45-second discussion devoid of substance.
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn probably maintained some sort of relationship with fugitive former PM Thaksin, seeing him from time to time. Thaksin ran the risk of self-delusion if he thought that the Crown Prince would act as his friend/supporter in the future merely because of Thaksin's monetary support; he does not enjoy that sort of relationship. Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has a preference to spend time based out of Munich with his main mistress, rather than in Thailand with his wife and son. The Crown Prince frequently slipped away from Thailand, and information about his air hostess mistresses was widely available on websites.
Thaksin had spoken of the Crown Prince and written letters to him in a manner that appeared disrespectful of the Crown Prince's royal heritage. Thaksin also had contacted the Thai Ambassador in London to try to arrange an audience with Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn during the Crown Prince's April 2007 visit to the United Kingdom. When the Thai Ambassador denied this request, Thaksin waited in the lobby of the Crown Prince's hotel, inserting himself into the receiving line of hotel staff. On arrival, the Crown Prince had a very brief exchange with Thaksin in this public setting. But when figures from Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party were told that the deposed PM was acting inappropriately, it was claimed that the Crown Prince had summoned Thaksin for a lengthy audience. This story illustrated an unacceptable effort by Thaksin to force himself upon the royal family -- and then misrepresent his interactions.
The rivalry between the Crown Prince and Princess Sirindhorn was well known to Thailand's political class. In some ways the Crown Prince was overshadowed by Princess Sirindhorn's popularity and charisma, though this dynamic had not in any way negatively affected their close relationship. Some thought the Crown Prince was aware of what he needed to do in order to be a successful monarch, and he would change his personality and character overnight in order to fit the demands of the job. The consensus view among many Thai was that the Crown Prince could not stop either, nor would he be able, at age 59 [as of 2012], to rectify his behavior.
A visit by the Thai Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn planned for early 2007 was postponed when the crown prince was refused "special VIP treatment" while visiting China. This would have been his first trip to the PRC; his sister, Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, had visited China a number of times and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
Queen Sirikit wanted to see her favorite, Prince Vajiralongkorn, on the throne. Prem Tinsulanond, an aid to the king, preferred to see Princess Sirindhorn on the throne. To defame her father’s third wife, Srirasmi, would enhance the chances of Princess Bhajarakitiyabha’s [Vajiralongkorn’s firstborn child with his first wife, Princess Somsawali] to follow the next king (or queen) on the throne, instead of her half-brother Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, Vajiralongkorn’s son by Srirasmi.
Andrew MacGregor Marshall noted that "During the 1970s and 1980s, the elite’s hatred of Vajiralongkorn was further fuelled by his habit of preying on their daughters. In a throwback to the days of Old Siam in which kings and princes had scores of wives and concubines, Vajiralongkorn became notorious for summoning attractive high-born young women to his palace. The extent to which it happened remains unclear, but it was a source of profound anger and anxiety among the Thai elite, many of whom sent their daughters overseas to be educated specifically to escape the prince’s attentions."
The Crown Prince's reputation continued to suffer and may have declined further, in part due to the dissemination online and by DVD of material harmful to the image of the Crown Prince and his Royal Consort. Some in palace circles are working actively to undercut whatever support exists for the Royal Consort, and we assume that this undercurrent also has implications for the Crown Prince. According to some accounts, the people would have a difficult time accepting Princess Srirasmi as their queen, based largely on the widely distributed salacious video of the birthday celebration for the Crown Prince's white poodle Fufu, in which Sirasmi appears wearing nothing more than a G-string in front of other guests and still photographers.
In July 2007, while Vajiralongkorn and Srirasmi were in Europe, very high-level sources spread misinformation that Vajiralongkorn had died of AIDS. One of the political dramas unfolding in Thailand in 2009 was the ongoing dispute over appointment of a new National Police Chief and the possible resignation of PM Abhisit's Secretary General Niphon Promphan, who also worked for the Crown Prince. At the Crown Prince's direction, Niphon opposed Abhisit's choice, GEN Patheep, in favor of the Crown Prince's choice, GEN Chumpol Manmai. The inside story on why the Crown Prince wanted Chumpol so much, and risk criticism for intervening in a high level personnel choice against the evident wishes of the PM, is that Chumpol allegedly served as Thaksin's bag man, personally delivering to the Crown Prince monies skimmed off the proceeds of lotteries. Such a story cannot be reported in the Thai media due to Lese Majeste concerns.
The prince was whispered to be arrogant, temperamental, fond of drink, overly attached to western goods, and of course a womanizer; recent rumors are that he has contracted HIV. He does not enjoy the aura of morality and virtue that seems to settle effortlessly on his father and sister. Nevertheless, the forgiving and easy-going Thai seem willing, by and large, to allow the prince to put his tarnished past behind him.
HRH Prince Vajiralongkorn was on 28 December 1972 proclaimed the Crown Prince and Heir Apparent to the throne of the kingdom. On that day, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn took an oath at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha vowing to perform royal duties for the sake of the nation and the betterment of his Thai citizens. As for his roles in military affairs, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has been in the military service since 9 January 1975, serving in many positions.
HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn followed in royal footsteps of TM the King and Queen in promoting the well-being of Thai people. He also performed many royal duties promoting public health, social welfare, foreign affairs, and education, as well as religious and legal functions. Some of them had been performed as designated by TM the King and Queen.
Having spent considerable time in the provinces, either on his own visits or accompanying other Members of the Royal Family, the Crown Prince became aware of the need for better health care for rural residents. In 1987, he established full-service hospitals in the South at Nakhon Si Thammarat, Yala, and Pattani: and in the Northeast at Kalasin, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Ratchathani, frequently calling on patients at these hospitals to ensure they are given the best care possible. The Crown Prince, an avid pilot, has said that he still flies a Boeing 737 for Thai Airways occasionally.
The royal birth of the Crown Prince, as H.R.H. Prince Vajiralongkorn, on 28 July 1952, brought great joy to the nation. Their Majesties' first child, Princess Ubol Ratana was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, over a year earlier. So the birth of the prince was the first to be directly felt among the Thai people, then just beginning to look up with hope after long-drawn war years, exacerbated by the tragic loss of a dear young monarch, King Ananda Mahidol, Rama VIII.
The prince grew up in the people's eyes, thanks to His Majesty the King's hobby of shooting home movies. For years, the royal film "phaphayon suan phra ong" was the favorite show in every cinema prior to the feature film, or even shown on its own to appreciative audiences who seemed never to get enough of this candid view of the royal family. At the heart of the film are the four royal children: one prince and three princesses.
H.R.H. Prince Vajiralongkorn followed the royal tradition, pursuing his studies at Milfield School in England, and later at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Australia, from where he graduated on 9 December 1975. Upon his return to Thailand, he was ordained as a Buddhist monk for a period. Prior to that, on 28 December 1972, he was conferred the title of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, the third crown prince of the Rattanakosin Period, following Crown Prince Maha Vajirunhis, the elder brother of H.R.H. Prince Mahidol, the Prince Father, and Crown Prince Maha Vajiravudh, who became King Rama VI.
His son, H.R.H. Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, was born on 29 April 2005. His eldest daughter, H.R.H. Princess Bajrakitiyabha, earned a doctorate degree from Cornell University in the United States, and his second daughter, H.R.H. Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, started her college life at Chulalongkorn University.
- married 3 January 1977, Mom Luang Soamsawali Kitiyakara (b. 1957) On January 3, 1977 Vajiralongkorn married Princess Soamsavali Kitiyakara (born 1957), a first cousin on his mother's side. The marriage ended in divorce ; daughter, Princess Bajrakitiyabha, b. 7 December 1978; Although Princess Soamsawali had refused divorce for many years, Vajiralongkorn was finally able to sue for divorce in the Family Court in January 1993. In the court proceedings, Vajiralongkorn accused Princess Soamsawali of being completely at fault for the failed relationship. She was not able to refute the charges due to the prohibition against lèse majesté.
- partner, Yuvadhida Polpraserth (born 1962),; four sons (no royal claim); daughter, HRH Princess Siriwanwari Nariratana, b. 8 January 1987 (elevated status by royal command 15 June 2005); Although Yuvadhida was made a princess and her children also granted titles, the lack of a legitimate male heir was ostensibly the main reason that Thailand legislated to allow women to inherit the throne. According to the December 1999 issue of Asiaweek, Vajiralongkorn's relationship with Yuvadhida came to an end in 1996 when former prime minister Banharn Silpa-Archa made a statement that the then Air Chief Marshall Anand Rodsamkhan was dismissed from his posting at the Royal Palace, prompting unconfirmed rumors that there had been an extra-marital affair. (That’s why the famous “Dog Foo Foo” got air chief marshal rank).
Yuvadhida and her children fled to England, but Vajiralongkorn travelled to England and brought his daughter back to Bangkok. In 1979 Vajiralongkorn risked public censure by taking a mistress, the actress Yuvadhida Polpraserth; over the next decade she bore him five children, four sons and a daughter. The relationship came to an acrimonious end in 1996. Yuvadhida was visiting her children in England, where they were exiled, with the air chief marshall, when the prince summarily cancelled her travel documents as well as those of her sons. Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana of Thailand, or Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana (8 January 1987—present) is a princess of Thailand and the only daughter of Crown Prince Maha Vajralongkorn and Sucharini Vivacharawongse, who is commonly known as Yuvadhida Polpraserth.
The Crown Prince's former consort, Mom Yuvathida, is known as Mom Benz. On the Queen's visit to the United States she agreed to an audience with Mom Benz and her children, but Mom Benz had not made contact with the royal traveling party. Subsequently, Ambassador Sakthip was asked to travel to Florida to meet with Mom Benz and her children, but Mom Benz declined the meeting. Apparently, there is an issue of medical expenses for Mom Benz's third son; the Crown Prince reportedly has made it clear that he will cover these expenses and that he does not want his mother or father to be burdened with the issue of his former family.
- Vajiralongkorn married again, on February 10, 2001, to Mom Srirasmi Mahidol na Ayuthaya, a commoner from a modest background who was later elevated to HRH Princess Srirasmi. married 10 February 2001, Mom Srirasmi Mahidol na Ayudhya (HRH Princess Srirasmi, The Royal Consort) (b. 9 December 1971); son, HRH Prince Teepangkorn Rasmichoti, b. 29 April 2005. This marriage was not disclosed until recently. Srirasm's life had changed radically when she became a Princess; she had to master massive responsibilities and deal with a wide range of issues relating to protocol and the use of court language. Although she conducted herself publicly with perfect grace and composure, the Crown Prince said, in private she had felt some frustration adapting to her new role. Thais loved her because, like the King's mother, she was a "commoner," and her background added to her charm. she had worked for the Queen for 15 years at the Bang Pa-in summer palace.
In 2007, CD’s with compromising footage from inside the Prince’s palace began circulating. The 23-minute video featured the Crown Prince with his consort, Princess Srirasmi, obviously celebrating the later's birthday. A bare-breasted, almost naked, Srirasmi cut the birthday cake and sang songs with her poodle, while palace servants fulfilled their duties on their knees. Making this decadence public was aimed at confirming the image of Vajiralongkorn as an unacceptable heir. [the video is actually amazingly tedious].
Thailand's Princess Srirasm, the third wife of heir to the throne Prince Vajiralongkorn, asked to give up her royal status, according to a statement released by the palace’s Royal Gazette on 12 Decemberf 2014. The princess, 43, is the mother of Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, next in line to the throne after his father. The request comes in the wake of revelations that members of her family were arrested amid corruption allegations. At least six of the princess’ relatives had been charged with bribery, extortion, and using the monarchy’s name for personal gain. In November 2014, they were stripped of their royal titles. The scandal came amid anxiety over 87-year-old King Bhumibol’s deteriorating health. Following medical advice, the king canceled his annual birthday address. In December 2014, Srirasmi relinquished all her royal titles and the royal name, was officially divorced from Vajiralongkorn. She received 200 million baht ($5.5 million) as a settlement. They were married for 13 years.
- Prince Vajiralonkorn is known to have quite some time ago acquired a fourth wife, a former Thai Airlines flight attendant, now known as Suthida Vajiralongkorn and whose nickname is Nui. She lives in Munich with the prince and recently got her own pilot’s license. Although she is not of royal blood, she gave birth to a baby boy and presumptive new heir to the throne. She was appointed commander of the Crown Prince’s guard in August 2014. Currently Commander of the household guard of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, holding the rank of Lieutenant General.
Andrew MacGregor Marshall noted that "By the start of the 21st century, the Thai elite had another reason to believe that Vajiralongkorn would never be king. They became aware that the crown prince had contracted HIV, and was also suffering from a rare acute form of leukaemia."
Since ascending the throne in 2016, King Maha Vajiralongkorn has reorganised palace affairs. The vastly wealthy Crown Property Bureau is now under his personal stewardship, he has appointed several new privy counsellors and established a highly trained personal guard. Crucially he has appointed a new army chief from a different faction of the military to the ruling junta.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn stripped his 34-year-old consort of all titles for "disloyalty" and apparent "ambition" to match the Queen's position, a royal command issued 21 October 2019 said, less than three months after she was bestowed with the honor. 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 a rare glimpse into the private life of Thailand's powerful, ultra-wealthy and inscrutable monarch, known as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty. Sineenat 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". Koi's 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. Her behavior was "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.
Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti
H.R.H. Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, was born on 29 April 2005. Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn kept Prince Dipangkorn in Germany to avoid any contact with his mother former Princess Srirasmi.
The purge of all relatives or associates of Thai Princess Sirasimi, the swiftly-departed consort of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, continued with an order from the prince’s office stating that anyone using the royally-granted family name Akharapongpreecha stop using it and go back to his or her family name. Srirasmi’s parents “Apiruj Suwadee, 72, and his wife Wanthanee, 66” sentenced to five years in Jail for Lese Majeste.
The story goes that Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn needed a bone marrow transplant (the rumor was AIDS), and a son would be the ideal donor. He was estranged from his four sons by his second wife, so he decided to try for a new son. Srirasmi's first pregnancy was a girl so she forced to have an abortion. Next time it was a boy, so in due course Prince Dipangkorn was born. The Crown Prince got his bone marrow transplant, and his health recovered. There are rumors that he has autism and will never be a King as there is “something odd” about him.
According to one rumor, Dhipangkorn, who was diagnosed in 2012 with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, officially putting him out of the succession process. If he is surrounded by military men and women, and has not had much interaction with other children, he may well be a bit socially awkward, which might be the source of autism rumors.
It's just as likely that not a single word of any of the rumors is true, particularly the more colorful ones. The Crown Prince remarked that it must be difficult for outside observers to fathom the complexity of developments here, adding that even he sometimes found it hard to grasp.
Thailand’s lèse-majesté rules had been tightened to forbid even the most innocuous criticisms of anyone connected to the royal family. US Ambassador Ralph L. Boyc noted in a confidential cable that "In an earlier encounter with Srirasm, she told me her son was speaking energetically, contrary to rumors that he has shown signs of autism."
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