Thailand’s King marries bodyguard, names her queen

epa05655211 (FILE) A file picture dated 09 May 2016 shows Thai Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn presiding over the Royal Ploughing ceremony at Sanam Luang in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand has new king after Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, on 01 December 2016 accepted to ascend the throne to become the country's new monarch, the 10th King of the 234-year-old Chakri Dynasty. The King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun succeeds his father, Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest reigning monarch, who died at the age of 88 in Siriraj hospital on 13 October 2016. EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT
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Thailand’s King marries bodyguard, names her queen

Bangkok: Thailand King Maha Vajiralongkorn has married a former flight attendant turned royal guard in a surprise ceremony and designated her Queen Suthida, just days before his own coronation.

The king’s new bride was formerly the deputy head of his personal security detail, the Guardian reported.

The surprise announcement came just ahead of Vajiralongkorn’s coronation was announced in the royal gazette. The report also carried footage from Wednesday’s wedding ceremony.

The news of the royal wedding was later also shown in the royal news segment aired on all Thai television channels late Wednesday.

Vajiralongkorn, 66, also known by the title King Rama X, became constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016. Bhumibol had ruled for 70 years.

Vajiralongkorn is scheduled to be officially crowned in elaborate Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies on Saturday, followed by a procession through the capital.

In 2014, Vajiralongkorn appointed Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant for Thai Airways, as a deputy commander of his bodyguard unit.

Some royal observers and foreign media had linked Suthida romantically with the king, but the palace had previously never acknowledged any relationship, the Guardian report said.

The king made Suthida a full general in the army in December 2016 and she has also been made a ‘thanpuying’, a royal title meaning lady.

Vajiralongkorn has previously been married and divorced three times and has seven children.

While the king took the throne after the death of his father, his formal coronation follows a mourning period for King Bhumibol, whose royal cremation was held a year after his death.

Among the dignitaries at the wedding were Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of the military junta that has run Thailand since a 2014 army coup, as well as other members of the royal family and palace advisers, the wedding footage showed.

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