Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn is set to divorce his wife Princess Srirasmi Akrapongpreecha ( Photos)
Bangkok ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has asked the government to strip his wife’s family of their royally bestowed name.
It comes after seven of her close relatives were arrested in a purge of officials allegedly involved in corruption.
Princess Srirasmi Akrapongpreecha is Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s third wife, and the pair married in 2001.
The move is widely expected to be a first step to divorce.
He was already known to be estranged from the princess, although they continued to attend official functions together.
The purge of Princess Srirasmi’s family over the past 10 days has been widely reported in Thailand.
However, until now the severity of the lese majeste law criminalising any critical comment about the monarchy meant that no Thai media had pointed out the family connection.
The princess’s uncle, a senior police general, was arrested over accusations of amassing vast wealth through smuggling and gambling rackets.
Four of her siblings and two other relatives have also been held.
The office of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has now sent a letter to the interior ministry ordering her family to be stripped of the royal name he bestowed on them when he married her.
The dramatic downfall of Princess Srirasmi comes at a very sensitive time, analysts say, with the 86 year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej in poor health.
As the Crown Prince’s wife, she would have been expected to become Queen when he succeeds his father, a potentially very powerful position given the exalted status of the monarchy in Thailand.
The prince and princess were known to be estranged, although they continued to attend official events together and previously met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in May 2012 at a lunch held as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
In April 2013, Prince Vajiralongkorn attended King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands’ inauguartion with his sister, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
This is Prince Vajiralongkorn’s third marriage. In January 1977 he married Princess Soamsavali Kitiyakara and they had a daughter, Princess Bajrakitiyabha, in 1978.
The couple divorced 15 years later although the former princess and her daughter continue to take part in official ceremonies.
Vajiralongkorn then married aspiring actress Yuvadhida Polpraserth, with whom he has four sons and a daugther, in February 1994.
The pivotal position of the monarchy in Thailand’s political order makes the succession an extremely sensitive issue, many aspects of which still cannot be reported from inside the country.
The world’s longest-reigning monarch, King Bhumibol has been on the throne in Thailand since 1946.For more news and stories, join us on Facebook,Twitter , or contact us through our Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org