MG Singh- early retired Airforce senior officer who is now a corporate advisor. He is also a global traveler and writer
Thailand is one of the few countries in the world which have a functional monarchy. The Thai monarchy is a constitutional monarchy that is a cementing force in the country. The present king of Thailand, 67-year-old Maha Vajiralongkorn had been anointed king after the death of his father two years back.
His father was the longest-ruling monarch in the world, and only after his death could prince Vajiralongkom ascend the throne. By then he was 65. Just before his crowning ceremony, he had announced that he had married General Suthida Vajairalongkorn Na Ayudhya and declared her his queen. This was a surprise to many as the king already had three wives.
Royal Noble Consort
The king has also announced that he has appointed a royal consort, 34-year-old General Sineenat Wongvajirapakdik. He has bestowed the title "Chao Khun Phra" or the royal noble consort on her; she is the first to receive that title in almost a hundred years. The palace has now released photographs of the royal consort, and these give a glimpse to the masses about life in the imperial household. CNN has reported that photographs of the royal consort have been released by the Royal Palace. Obviously, that was with the concurrence of the king.
The royal consort title is conferred on a concubine and has a definite place in Thai culture. The photographs of the royal consort have been released show that she is a woman of character. The lady is 34 years old and had been promoted to the rank of major general by the king. The Guardian has reported that she is shown piloting a plane as well as firing a gun in uniform. The images show her wearing combat fatigues at a firing range. In one photo, she is shown wearing a parachute and standing inside a military plane.
Other images depict her in more traditional attire, such as being formally dressed and sitting next to the king. Her photographs showing her kneeling before the king to accept the title has been loved by the people, who are extremely fond of pomp and pageantry.
The royal family in Thailand is protected by laws, and any criticism or casting aspersions can lead to a 15-year jail term. The Thai people generally respect the king and the royal house. The release of these pictures offers a rare and intimate window into the lives of the Thai royal family.
The person holding the title of royal consort has special rights in Thailand. The king has 4 wives and six children; Sineenat the consort will be the fifth woman in the king's household.
The royal family and the king are much-venerated figures. One can recollect that Yul Brynner the Hollywood star acted in a movie on the king of Thailand titled The King and I. The outside world does not hear much about the royal house of Thailand, unlike in England where daily items of news about them are published.
A consort is a part of the culture in India, China, Thailand, and Japan. This concept of royal consort was prevalent in India when Kings and Maharajahs ruled the country. Monarchies have vanished in India, and along with them, the concept of the royal consort. Similarly, in China, the consort was very much part of the royal court but after the takeover by the communists, it is history. In Thailand, the monarchy thrives. It is venerated by the people, and the role of the consort is alive. The people don't mind it; in fact, it adds to the special aura surrounding the king.
MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 30, 2019:
Thank you Pamela, it's always a pleasure to read your comments
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 30, 2019:
I remember the movie you mentioned. This was a very artic;e about Thailand. I did not know several several things you mentioned, so I learnef several new things, which I appreciate.
MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 28, 2019:
Thanks. Women in Thai culture are tought to be subseverient to men so I guess they may be envying the royal consort.
Lesli Gonsalvas on August 28, 2019:
Wonderful article, though a bit short. My appetite has grown to know more about the king and his consort. What a man, I wonder how he copes with 5 women in his household or shall I say "harem"? I also wonder how the women of Thailand feel: elated, sad or happy?