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Thai king appoints consort as queen ahead of coronation

Updated : 2019-05-02 10:48:08

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has appointed his consort as the country's queen ahead of his official coronation on Saturday. An announcement Wednesday in the Royal Gazette said Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya is legally married to the 66-year-old king and is now Queen Suthida. Although she has been in the public eye for about three years, there has been little official information released about her and the news was a surprise to many Thais. She is reported to be 40 years old and to have previously worked as a flight attendant for Thai Airways International. The two reportedly met on a flight. Suthida joined the palace guard in 2013 and became commander of the king's security unit, currently holding a general's rank. The new queen also has several top royal decorations. Vajiralongkorn has had three previous marriages and divorced his previous wife, with whom he has a son, in 2014. He became king after the death in October 2016 of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thai television, which broadcast the royal order Wednesday evening, showed a video of Suthida prostrating herself before the king. According to the announcer, she presented the king with a tray of flowers and joss sticks, and in return was bestowed traditional gifts associated with royal power. The TV showed the king in a white uniform and his bride in a pink silk traditional dress formally registering their marriage on Wednesday in his palace residence in Bangkok. The couple was seen signing a marriage certificate book, which was also signed by the king's sister, Princess Sirindhorn, and Privy Council head Prem Tinsulanonda as witnesses. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and other senior officials were also in attendance.

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, right, presents a gift to Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who will have his official coronation on Saturday, has appointed his consort as the country's queen. An announcement on Wednesday in the Royal Gazette said Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya is legally married to the 66-year-old king and is now Queen Suthida. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, right, presents a gift to Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who will have his official coronation on Saturday, has appointed his consort as the country's queen. An announcement on Wednesday in the Royal Gazette said Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya is legally married to the 66-year-old king and is now Queen Suthida. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun left, sits with Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun left, sits with Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, center, sits with Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya as they sign their marriage certificates at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, center, sits with Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya as they sign their marriage certificates at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun left, sits with Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya as they sign their marriage certificates at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun left, sits with Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya as they sign their marriage certificates at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
A buyer inspects the commemorative pins issued to mark the upcoming coronation ceremony for Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. 150,000 pins were issued by the government and for sale at Baht$300 (USD$10). The coronation ceremonies for the 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A buyer inspects the commemorative pins issued to mark the upcoming coronation ceremony for Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. 150,000 pins were issued by the government and for sale at Baht$300 (USD$10). The coronation ceremonies for the 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai workers prepare to transport a giant portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn by truck to a buyer's house in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai workers prepare to transport a giant portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn by truck to a buyer's house in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai workers prepare to transport a giant portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn by truck to a buyer's house in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai workers prepare to transport a giant portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn by truck to a buyer's house in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A Thai woman buys a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A Thai woman buys a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A buyer inspects the commemorative pins issued to mark the upcoming coronation ceremony for Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A buyer inspects the commemorative pins issued to mark the upcoming coronation ceremony for Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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