05/02/2019, 09.04
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Thais have a new queen: Suthida, the king's former bodyguard

​The wedding was celebrated yesterday in the Dusit Palace, "legally and according to tradition".  The television stations reported the marriage a few hours after the ceremony and a royal decree.  King Maha Vajiralongkorn already has seven children and three marriages behind him.  On May 4, the series of complex ceremonies will begin for his coronation.



 Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thailand has a new queen: three days ahead of his coronation (4-6 May), the 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn married 40-year-old Gen. Suthida Tidjai yesterday.  A royal decree published in the Royal Gazette announced the marriage, adding that the wedding (see photo) was celebrated in the Dusit Palace (royal) "in a legal way and according to tradition".  The woman earned her military rank by serving in the special unit of the king's guard.  Previously, she was a Thai Airways flight attendant.

Among the dignitaries at the wedding was Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the military junta who ruled Thailand from the 2014 coup until the general elections on March 24th.  With the publication of the official results, the country will know in the coming days if he will still be the prime minister.  A few hours after the ceremony, the royal decree was issued and national television channels reported the marriage.

Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, became a monarch after the death of his revered father - King Bhumibol Adulyadej - in October 2016, after 70 years of reign.  The new sovereign has been married three times already: He divorced his third wife, Princess Srirasmi, in 2014 after 13 years of marriage.  The couple has a son and the king has six others from his previous marriages.  The divorce took place after the arrest of some family members of Srirasmi, involved in a corruption scandal.

Queen Suthida received for the first time a royal decoration in 2012, when she served in the regiment of the crown prince's guard as a lieutenant colonel.  An order issued by the Prime Minister's Office commended her for her "good service to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, with honesty, loyalty, responsibility in the assignment given".  In 2013, the Prime Minister's Office issued six orders to promote Queen Suthida.  The woman became the army's major general at the end of the same year.  The king made Suthida a complete general of the Royal Thai Army in December 2016 and deputy commander of the king's personal guard in 2017.

The complex series of ceremonies for the coronation of King Vajiralongkorn will begin on May 4 and will last three days.  About 200,000 people from all parts of Thailand are expected to attend the event.  It will take place in the old district of Bangkok, on the island of Rattanakosin.  The royal decree announcing Suthida Queen precedes the ceremony for the appointment of royal titles, scheduled for May 5th.  The official result of the general elections on March 24th should be announced on May 9th.

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