Worries Mount In Thailand Regarding Nation’s Future King

While the king of Thailand battled his illness in a Bangkok hospital for over two years, his son, and the heir to the throne of the country, was absent from his homeland, preferring to spend his time far away from his future kingdom in Europe. He flew around on a private Boeing 737 and enjoyed life in the European lap of luxury staying in villas and hotels on the lakes and in the mountains of southern Germany and Austria.

Great anxiety of the lifestyle enjoyed by Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, including his tastes for women, cars, and jets, has been common within the kingdom for decades and the 64-year-old is now preparing to ascend the throne following the death of beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Thursday. It is reportedly a succession that most Thais admit they wish was not so and they could avoid, as the New York Time shares.

The father of the prince had been a figure of unification within the nation that was divided by class and politics and is presently under military rule, by the junta. The issue that worries many revolves around the question as to whether or not the crown prince can hold the country together as his father did over the course of his 70 years on the throne.

The death of one of the longest-reigning monarchs in history and the ascension of the prince also raise concerns about the future of the monarchy in the nation in general. A king that is less respected and not as beloved as his predecessor could instead spark a rise involving a republican movement, which has maintained a stronghold in earlier years. Also at stake is the control of one of the world’s greatest royal fortunes, which is estimated to have a value of $31 billion simply in the real estate alone. The succession may spark a debate as to whether the fortune is owned by the royal family or the Thai public.

The publication shares the details about the future king which have raised concerns over the years.

“The crown prince, 64, has led a stormy life of byzantine quarrels and breakups with various lovers that were rarely fully elucidated in public. To his critics, his romantic liaisons have been more than just a royal soap opera; they have raised questions about whether his character suits the institution he is about to lead.”

It is a tradition of the dynasty in the Thai kingdom to have multiple lovers. The future king’s grandfather, for instance, King Rama V, had more than 150 wives and consorts, but in the case of the prince, scandal has surrounded his relationships and separations. His former relationships have resulted in spiteful separations and members of his entourage have died under what have been termed as suspicious circumstances. Many Thais turned against the prince following the brutal ways his divorces were handled. Broken families have become the result following his three divorces, including four children who reside in the United States, with whom he has cut ties fully.

The prince returned to Thailand to be present for the death of his father on Thursday. The time of his ascension is unknown. The prince must wait for the appropriate time to ascend, which is customary.

Details about the crown prince’s life are spoken of cautiously, as there is a strict law about speaking ill of the royal family, yet there is enough known about the future king to understand why the Thai people have concerns. The NY Times shares the history of the crown prince’s former marriages.

“The prince was still married to his first wife, his cousin Soamsawali Kitiyakara in the 1970s and 80s when he fathered five children with another woman, according to Thai news accounts at the time. The other woman, an aspiring actress and a commoner, Sujarinee Vivacharawongse, would become his second wife. That second marriage ended in the late 1990s in such acrimony that a public notice was posted at the prince’s palace accusing Ms. Sucharinee of corruption and infidelity with a soldier. The prince cut off communication with four of the five children from the marriage…They now live in the United States, as does their mother.His third marriage, also to a commoner, Srirasmi Suwadee, in 2001, produced the boy who is considered the next heir to the throne, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, 11, who lives in Bavaria, Germany.”

The third marriage blew up in 2014 following the release of a video that saw his then-wife topless and being attended to by staff. The marriage crumbled, and led to members of his former wife’s family being tried in court, while others in his entourage were sent to prison and died while in custody and under military supervision.

Many believe that the video was leaked in hopes that the prince’s title would be stripped and thereby leave the throne to his devoted and charitable sister, Princess Sirindhorn.

There has been attempts to rehabilitate the prince’s image, yet the time has now come for the kingdom to be his. The question is, what will he do with his newly acquired power?

[Feature Image by Chumsak Kanoknan/ Getty Images]