Human Interest

Thai king’s 2nd son makes rare visit to country after 27 years in US

Bangkok, Aug 10 (EFE).- The second son of Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn is making an unusual visit to the country this week, the first time in 27 years, since he was sent to live in the United States.

The trip of Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse, 42, comes at a difficult time for the Thai royal family, with the monarch’s eldest daughter, Princess Bajrakitiyabha, admitted to a Bangkok hospital in December following a loss of consciousness due to a sudden heart problem.

“It is a courageous act by my brother, who wants to return to the country. We are proud of the warm and affectionate reception you are giving him,” his older brother, Chakriwat Vivacharawongse, who also resides in the US, posted Thursday on Facebook.

The illness has also opened the debate on the succession of King Vajiralongkorn, 71, who does not have a clear heir to the throne.

Vacharaesorn, the third of King Vajiralongkorn’s seven sons, arrived Sunday and has since been seen visiting temples, children’s organizations and having dinner with acquaintances.

A photo of him sitting in a tuk-tuk (a three-wheeled motorcycle very typical of the country), published Monday night on his own Facebook profile, accumulated more than 43,000 reactions.

Born in 1981 and a lawyer by profession, Vacharaesorn was born from a sentimental relationship between Vajiralongkorn and actress Sujarinee Vivacharawongse, with whom he had five children while married to his cousin Soamsawali, mother of his first daughter.

After his first divorce, Vajiralongkorn – who ascended the throne in 2016 after the death of his revered father – married Sujarinee in 1994, with whom he had four other children (three boys and a girl) before being wedded, although their union only lasted until 1996.

After the abrupt divorce, Sujarinee and her four sons moved to live in the US, while Princess Sirivannavari, the monarch’s sixth daughter, grew up with her father and is the only sibling who participated in the king’s coronation ceremony.

It is unclear whether Vacharaesorn and his male siblings, who do not appear in the current photos posted on the Royal House website, still retain the royal status granted to them as children and as grandsons of the late monarch Bhumibol.

“We do not want to interfere with the institution. We want to be (normal) people who can walk everywhere and with whom the people of Thailand can talk,” said Chakriwat, adding that they had not received any order from the Royal House to return to the country.

King Vajiralongkorn, who divorced for a third time and married Queen Suthida in 2019, has not inherited the popularity of his father, who reigned for seven decades, was revered by many in Thailand as the father of the nation and treated as a semi-divine figure. EFE


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