King Maha was born on July 24, 1952 in
Bangkok's Royal Dusit Palace, the 64-year-old is the only son and
male heir of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit.
As an adolescent he studied at two
public schools in Britain, including King's Mead School, Seaford,
Sussex, and then at Millfield School, Somerset. After, he embarked
on a military career, training in Australia.
In 1976, he graduated as a newly
commissioned lieutenant with a liberal arts bachelors degree from
the University of New South Wales.
Pictured: Queen Sirikit of Thailand with
Prince Maha (left) and Princess Rajakanya in 1953
King Maha was born on July 24, 1952 in
Bangkok's Royal Dusit Palace. As an adolescent he studied at two
public schools in Britain
After graduating he started a career in
the military training with US, British and Australian armed forces.
He also qualified as a a fixed wing helicopter pilot in the late
1970s in the Royal Thai Army.
His military career was interrupted in
1978 so he could be ordained for a season as a Buddhist monk, as is
customary for all Thai Buddhist men.
He married his first wife in 1977, a
cousin, Princess Soamsavali Kitiyakara, with whom he has a daughter,
Princess Bajrakitiyabha in 1978. They divorced in 1993.
The King, a licensed pilot, in the cockpit
of a fighter jet with one of his five children
Nine months after his daughter was born,
the prince had a son with actress Yuvadhida Polpraserth, with whom
he went on to have a total of five children and a tumultuous
Three years later his relationship broke
down with Ms Polpraserth as she fled to the UK in 1996, after a
spectacular bust up.
In 2001 he wed his third wife Srirasmi
Suwadee, describing her as a 'modest and patient' woman who 'never
says bad things towards anyone' and like his previous relationships
there were to be a number of controversies in their time
In 2007, footage published online showed
the couple throwing a party for his pet poodle - who held the rank
of Air Chief Marshall - at the Royal Palace in Bangkok. Princess
Srirasmi, a former waitress, who sang happy birthday to the dog
topless, also got on her knees and ate from a dog bowl in the same
Footage from 2007 shows Prince Maha throwing
a birthday party for his pet poodle Fufu - who held the rank of
Air Chief Marshall - at the Royal Palace in Bangkok. Pictured: His
third wife dressed in nothing more than a G-string to celebrate
In late 2014, Srirasmi suffered a very
public fall from grace when several members of her family were
arrested as part of a police corruption probe and charged with lese
Vajiralongkorn later divorced her and
she lost her royal titles . The crown prince has spent much of his
time away from the public eye, but in recent years he has stepped in
at some official ceremonies as his father's health declined.
Despite holding a number of military
titles, including Knight of the Ancient and Auspicious Order of the
Nine Gems, the prince admitted to an interviewer he was unable to
tie his own shoe laces aged 12 because courtiers had always done it
The crown prince has spent much of his
time away from the public eye, living overseas in Germany, but in
recent years he has stepped in at some official ceremonies as his
father's health declined.
In August 2015 he led key figures of the
current junta and thousands of others in a mass bike ride through
Bangkok, a rare high-profile appearance.
He was drafted in as King in October
2016, 50 days after the death of his father, the highly revered
Bhumibol Adulyadej. He had to fly back from Germany after learning
of his father's deteriorating health in the days before.
Thai junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha
announced that the Crown Prince would ascend the throne with tthe
statement: 'The government will inform the National Legislative
Assembly that His Majesty the King appointed his heir on Dec. 28,
However, in a shock move he requested to
delay his coronation and ascension to the throne for a year to mourn
the passing of his father.