Thai the knot: King marries his bodyguard

Thailand’s New Queen Flight Attendant to Bodyguard to Royalty

King Of Thailand Marries His Female Bodyguard, Makes Her Queen Of Thailand

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be carried on a golden palanquin through Bangkok's historic heart Sunday, a second day of coronation rituals which will bring the public up close to their powerful monarch.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 66, of Thailand has married his 40-year-old female bodyguard, just days before his coronation ceremony is set to occur on Saturday.

The newest member of the royal family is the fourth wife of 66-year-old Vajiralongkorn, a deeply private monarch who spends a lot of his time overseas in Germany.

During the 18 months of his reign so far, King Vajiralongkorn has moved to consolidate the authority of the monarchy, including taking more direct control of the crown's vast wealth with the help of Thailand's military government.

"I feel glad and hopeful that the King ascends the throne after his father, King Rama IX, to be a guardian and the hope of the Thai people", said onlooker Amornrat Wangpan from Uttaradit province.

The king left the Grand Palace on a golden palanquin born by 16 men wearing orange.

A cannon salute marked the moment as pipes played and Buddhist monks chanted.

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Several grey-haired Hindu Brahmins were also in attendance at a ceremony that symbolises Rama X's transformation from human to divine figure. The King would grant new royal titles to royal family members, ride in the royal palanquin in the royal procession to receive people's good wishes on Sunday, and meet a public audience including members of global diplomatic corps on Monday.

The coronation, which takes place from Saturday to Monday, will be the first the country has seen in 69 years, since his father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was crowned in 1950.

It was also during King Mongkut's coronation that foreigners were invited to witness coronation ceremonies for the first time, scholars said.

Bhumibol was seen as a figure of unity in the politically chaotic kingdom until his death in October 2016. His son Vajiralongkorn, 66, is less well-known to the Thai public, preferring to spend much of his time overseas and rarely addressing his subjects. Vajiralongkorn has now acquired the right to intervene in government affairs in times of political crisis.

Thailand's newly-crowned monarch began a 7-kilometer km (4-mile) procession through the streets of Bangkok on Sunday which took him along cheering crowds to three Buddhist temples in different parts of the city. Final results of the March 24 vote will be announced after the coronation.

"Likewise the coronation has to be done properly and he doesn't mind the expense, but it has to be done properly", Mr. Sulak said. The king, in a white ritual garment and sitting in a ceremonial pavilion inside the palace, was presented holy "Muratha Bhisek" water collected from five sacred rivers and four ponds. He is also protected from any criticism by some of the strictest lese majeste laws in the world.

Born on July 28, 1952, the British-schooled Vajiralongkorn is known for his love of cycling and piloting jets, but he spends much of his time overseas - mainly in Germany - and remains something of a mystery to many Thais.

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