BANGKOK: Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has stripped his newly appointed consort of her titles and military ranks for being "disloyal", the Royal Palace announced in the Royal Gazette late on Monday (Oct 21).
A shock to the nation, the announcement came less than three months after Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, 34, was given the title Chao Khun Phra or royal noble consort by the king in July, the first such appointment in almost a century.
Sineenat's appointment as consort followed the king's marriage to the deputy head of his personal bodyguard, Suthida Tidjai, 41. He named her his queen just days before his coronation in May.
In a two-page statement, the palace said that Sineenat "showed her objection and exerted pressure in every way to stop Her Majesty the Queen’s installation and to get herself installed instead as she had wished".
“However, things did not turn out the way she had wished for. After the royal ceremony, with aspiration and ambition, she tried to find ways to get herself bestowed her title,” the palace added.
According to Monday’s announcement, King Vajiralongkorn had wished to ease the problem and prevent “inappropriate actions against the monarchy and the nation”, and bestowed upon Sineenat the title of noble consort on Jul 28.
The king had hoped that move would reduce pressure and prevent problems that could affect the monarchy, the palace said.
A few days later the palace released images of the short-haired Sineenat - known by her nickname Koi - in combat fatigues shooting weapons, flying a jet and preparing to parachute from a plane, as well as holding the king's hand.
It was an intimate and rare glimpse into the private life of Thailand's powerful, ultra-wealthy and inscrutable monarch, known as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty.
But on Monday Sineenat's swift and public downfall was relayed on national television.
The palace said that since her appointment, Sineenat had shown disobedience towards the king and queen and exploited her title by giving commands and claiming King Vajiralongkon had told her to do so on his behalf.
STRIPPED OF ALL RANKS
"Royal Noble Consort Sineenat is ungrateful and behaves in ways unbecoming of her title. She is also not content with the title bestowed upon her, doing everything to rise to the level of the queen," the statement said.
"She lacks the understanding of the good traditions of the royal court. She displays disobedience against the king and the queen."
Her behaviour is "deemed disrespectful to His Majesty's grace ... and caused divisions among courtiers and misunderstanding among the people", the statement added.
She was stripped of all military ranks, decorations and royal titles, it said.
Born in the northern province of Nan in northern Thailand on Jan 26, 1985, Sineenat graduated from the Royal Thai Army Nursing College at the age of 23.
She has also trained as a pilot in Thailand and abroad, served in the King's royal bodyguard unit, and in May was awarded the rank of a major-general.
In August, Thailand’s palace released rare images of King Vajiralongkorn and then noble consort Sineenat. The publication included more than 60 photographs and a 46-page biography.
A cycling and aviation enthusiast who spends much of his time abroad in Germany, King Vajiralongkorn was crowned in May in an elaborate three-day ceremony that Sineenat participated in.
He ascended the throne following the death of his beloved father Bhumibol Adulyadej.
King Vajiralongkorn is the 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty, which has reigned since 1782.
With additional reporting by Pichayada Promchertchoo.