A New Era
The king of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, has been king for less than a year, inheriting the crown on the death of his father, the much-loved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016. He was educated in the UK and Australia, as well as in Thailand, and after becoming crown prince, had to wait more than 40 years to finally ascend to the throne. During this time, he served in the armed forces, was ordained as a monk, and set up a series of projects in healthcare, education, and agriculture, thus gaining experience outside the palace walls.
What exact political role the new king will have in Thailand is yet to be confirmed. He requested changes to the interim constitution after it was approved in a 2016 referendum, and the follow-up general election is yet to take place.
However, his place as head of state seems assured. Thailand has had no fewer than 19 constitutions and charters since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932, but every single government has accepted the hereditary monarch as the head of state. The Thai regal position gained in both influence and wealth under the late King Bhumibol. left A portrait of the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej right Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall of Dusit Palace in Bangkok
“Why is it that the king can do no wrong? This shows they do not regard the king as being a human. But the king can do wrong” – King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1927–2016) Thailand has had no fewer than 19 constitutions and charters since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932