Asia Thailand’s princess relinquishes royal status

Thailand’s princess relinquishes royal status

Princess Srirasmi, the wife of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn
Princess Srirasmi, the wife of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn

(AA) – A request by the wife of Thailand’s crown prince to relinquish her royal title has been approved by the country’s monarch. 

“The King has granted permission to announce that Princess Srirasmi, the wife of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, has informed in a written document that she has resigned from her royal status,” said a statement in the Royal Gazette cited by the Bangkok Post on Saturday.

“Acknowledgement and permission has been granted by His Majesty the King,” added the statement, signed by 87-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej a day before its publication Friday.

According to the Post, the former princess — who has a 9-year-old son with Vajiralongkorn — “will be living her life simply in her hometown studying Buddhism” under the name Than Phu Ying Busaba Suwadee.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the former military chief who took leadership of the country following a coup in May, has acknowledged the announcement officially.

Late last month, the crown prince had ordered that an honorific surname royally granted to Srirasmi’s family be erased from registration following the arrest of some of her relatives in the Thailand’s largest ever corruption scandal.

The suspects, among them the country’s former second most powerful police officer General Pongpat Chayapan, are accused of extortion and collecting bribes.

They also face charges of lese-majeste — offenses against the Thai royal family punishable by jail sentences of three to 15 years – for allegedly having “cited the monarchy to obtain benefits and money from others.”

The developments come amid mounting anxiety over the succession of the King, who has been hospitalized since an operation in October to remove his gall bladder.

Vajiralongkorn, his only son, has legal and traditional rights to the throne but is far less popular than his father, who is revered as a unifying figure and considered almost a semi-god.

Earlier this month, Bhumibol missed a public appearance scheduled as part of celebrations for his 87th birthday on the advice of his medical team.

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