Though there is no official confirmation so far, news reports suggested that the elevation took place on the 36th birthday of Ms Wongvajirapakdi, on 26 January.
Ms Wongvajirapakdi has served as the king’s royal bodyguard and has held the title of Major General until August, 2019, when she was elevated to the position of “royal consort” within three months of the 68-year-old king’s marriage to his fourth wife, queen Suthida.
However, she fell out of favour and was stripped of her titles after she was accused of attempts to undermine the queen.
In September, 2020, Ms Wongvajirapakdi, who graduated from the Army Nursing College in 2008 and has completed military courses in combat, jungle warfare and night parachuting, was back as consort after she spent ten months at a correctional facility being declared “untainted.”
Her return to the palace was opposed by supporters of Ms Suthida, 42, who also served in a senior position in palace security units before becoming queen.
In December, 2020, more than 1,400 selfies – many of which were sexually explicit and intimate in nature - were allegedly stolen and leaked in what many saw as an attempt to sabotage Ms Wongvajirapakdi’s return.
If she has indeed been crowned on Tuesday, she would be covered under Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté law, which has provisions for long imprisonment for anyone defaming, insulting or threatening the king, queen and others. She could also lay claim to the king’s massive wealth.
On Tuesday, the king and Ms Wongvajirapakdi appeared in matching blue coats and released fish and birds in a ceremony.
King Vajiralongkorn assumed the throne in 2016 after the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for 70 years. The present king, who spends most of his time in Germany, already has seven children by three previous marriages, all of which ended in divorce.
For most of 2020, the country witnessed pro-democracy protests during which protesters demanded the removal of the prime minister, a reduction in the powers of King Vajiralongkorn, and adoption of a new constitution which has proper emphasis on civil rights and freedoms.
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