Many of us are struggling to find things to keep us occupied while we’re in coronavirus lockdown – not so the King of Thailand. It has been reported King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as Rama X, has self-isolated in a hotel in Germany with 20 of his girlfriends.
The 67-year-old is said to have moved his entire harem of concubines into the high-end Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Bavaria after he was given permission by authorities.
Bavaria is under lockdown, like the rest of Germany, and the hotel should be closed down along with all the others but it was apparently been given “special permission” to remain open for the king and his bizarre court.
King Vajiralongkorn has long been a controversial figure in Thailand, where it is banned from criticising the royal family, or even their pets. Despite the threat of 35 years in prison, he is criticised in his home country, albeit in private.
As the oldest monarch to ascend to Thailand’s throne, King Vajiralongkorn has been married four times and has a colourful private life.
Said to be worth $29billion, the royal has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons, from his marriages to his mistresses and even a leaked video of the queen naked apart from a G-string.
Back in November 2009, a home video of the royal and his third wife, Srirasmi Suwadee, was leaked. The queen was wearing nothing but a G-string while servants waited on hand at the celebration of his pet poodle’s birthday.
That same year Harry Nicolaides, an Australian, was jailed for three years after he published a book which contained the sentence “if the prince fell in love with one of his minor wives and she betrayed him, she and her family would disappear with their name, familial lineage and all vestiges of their existence expunged forever”.
Nicolaides was later pardoned by the king and he said his book had been “entirely fiction from cover to cover”.
Two years later, one of Vajiralongkorn’s royal planes was seized by German authorities as payment for a $33 million debt owed to a German firm, which was in danger of becoming bankrupt. Vajiralongkorn finally agreed to pay $22million, which was then covered by the Thai government.
He married his first wife, Princess Soamsawali Kitiyakara, in 1977 and the couple welcomed their daughter, Princess Najrakitiyabha. However, during his first marriage, Vajiralongkorn embarked on an affair with actress Yuvadhida Polpraserth, with whom he had five children.
Despite repeated requests, Princess Soamsawali refused to divorce her husband until he finally got his wish in 1993, claiming the fault of the marriage’s failure lay squarely at his wife’s door.
Even so, his first wife and their daughter continue to play a major part in royal events.
Vajiralongkorn, still a prince, then married the woman he had been having an affair with for more than 15 years – but their wedding was not blessed by the queen. Just two years after their marriage Yuvadhida moved to Britain with all of the couple’s children – the prince did not react well.
He put posters up all around the palace, accusing his wife of adultery and eventually abducted his daughter and brought her back to Thailand to live with him.
She was later elevated to the rank of princess, but his wife and their sons were stripped of their royal titles and they all now live in the US.
His third wife was Srirasmi Suwadee, who had worked for the prince since 1992. The marriage was kept from the public for four years, finally been disclosed in 2005. Srirasmi gave birth to the couple’s son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, in the same year and was made a princess by her husband, who vowed his wild days were behind him.
But nine years later Vajiralongkorn demanded his wife’s family be stripped of their royal titles amid allegations of corruption among her relatives. His wife relinquished her royal titles soon afterwards and agreed to a divorce after 13 years of marriage after being awarded a $5.4million settlement.
Just three days before he was crowned king, Vajiralongkorn married his fourth wife, Suthida Tidjai, who was a former acting commander of Royal Thai Aide-de-Camp Department.
However, despite once again being a married man Vajiralongkorn was still not faithful and just months after his wedding he gave his concubine Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi the title of Chao Khun Phra, which means royal noble consort.
The 34-year-old had become the first royal consort in Thailand for almost a century in almost 25 years and meant she was an official companion to the king but not the queen.
Just three months later, the king stripped her of her new position, fortune, title and rank, claiming she had been disrespectful to the queen and disloyal to him. An official statement said: “The royal consort’s behaviours were considered disrespectful,” showing “disobedience against the king and the queen” and abusing her power to give orders on the king’s behalf.
The king, the statement said, had learned “she neither was grateful to the title bestowed upon her nor did she behave appropriately according to her status”.
Who knows what the future will bring for the 20 women currently in self-isolation with the king of Thailand?