Thai king marries consort and makes her queen

King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s fourth marriage comes ahead of coronation ceremony on Saturday

 King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand and Queen Suthida during their wedding ceremony in Bangkok on Wednesday. Photograph: Thai Royal Household Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand and Queen Suthida during their wedding ceremony in Bangkok on Wednesday. Photograph: Thai Royal Household Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

 

Thailand’s king Maha Vajiralongkorn has appointed his consort as the country’s queen ahead of his official coronation on Saturday.

An announcement in the Royal Gazette said Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya is legally married to the 66-year-old king, and is now Queen Suthida.

Although she has been in the public eye for about three years, there has been little official information released about her and the news was a surprise to many Thais.

Queen Suthida is reported to be 40 and to have previously worked as a flight attendant for Thai Airways International. The two reportedly met on a flight.

She joined the palace guard in 2013 and became commander of the king’s security unit, currently holding a general’s rank. The new queen also has several top royal decorations.

King Vajiralongkorn has had three previous marriages and divorced his previous wife, with whom he has a son, in 2014. He became king after the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016.

Thai television, which broadcast the royal order, showed a video of Queen Suthida prostrating herself before the king.

According to the announcer, she presented the king with a tray of flowers and joss sticks, and in return was bestowed traditional gifts associated with royal power.

The station showed the king in a white uniform and his bride in a pink silk traditional dress formally registering their marriage in his palace residence in Bangkok.

The couple were seen signing a marriage certificate book, which was also signed by the king’s sister, Princess Sirindhorn, and privy council head Prem Tinsulanonda as witnesses. Prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and other senior officials were also in attendance. – AP