Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn stripped his 34-year-old consort of all royal and military titles on Monday evening, in a shock move less than three months after she became the first woman to be anointed with the noble rank in nearly a century.
The palace announced through the Royal Gazette that Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi had been dismissed from the rank of "Chao Khun Phra" for "disloyalty to the king," as well as "acting against the appointment of the Queen (Suthida)... for her own ambitions."
The king suddenly married Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant, shortly before his coronation in May.
The new queen – the king’s fourth wife - had been serving as deputy commander of his personal guard since 2017, but the palace had refused to acknowledge long-standing rumours of the romantic liaison before the monarch decided “to promote” her.
On his 67th birthday in July, King Vajiralongkorn decided to also appoint Ms Wongvajirapakdi as his consort, reviving a Thai royal tradition that had not been used since the reign of King Rama VI, who ruled until 1925.
Her elevation was marked with the release of a rare set of images by the palace, including candid and action-packed photos of her aiming a weapon on a firing range, piloting a plane and preparing to parachute.
The pictures were accompanied by a 46-page biography that revealed she was born in 1985 in the northern Thai province of Nan, and graduated from the Royal Thai army nursing college in 2008.
She also trained as a pilot in Thailand and abroad, and completed several military courses, including in the fields of jungle warfare and night parachuting. Like Queen Suthida, she served in the royal bodyguard unit, recently reaching the rank of major general.
The splurge of information was unusual in a country where few personal details are known about the king and the royal family. The Thai monarchy is deified and strict lese majeste laws with jail terms of three to 15 years prevent any open discussion about them.
However, the royal consort appears to have now fallen out of favour. Her title, ranking and all medals had been removed for inappropriate behaviour and a failure to be loyal to the monarch, said the statement released in Bangkok on Monday.
Among the charges against her was a failure to respect royal traditions by trying to make herself equivalent to the queen, it said, adding that she also defied the royal couple.
“Sineenat’s behaviour disrespected the monarchy, caused conflict among royal household officials and created misunderstanding among the public,” it continued.
Vajiralongkorn became king in 2016 but the formal coronation was delayed until May this year.
Born in 1952, as the first and only son of the late and popular King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, he was given a name that means “adorned with jewels or thunderbolts,” promising a rich and interesting future.
As a teenager he was educated at private schools in Sussex and Somerset before heading to Australia to train at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Canberra, and he later became an officer in the Thai armed forces.
The king has seven children aged between 14 and 40 by his three former wives.