Bangkok’s governor : “Everybody worries about the king”

In a SPIEGEL interview, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the governor of Bangkok and a cousin of the king, condemns former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and criticizes the Thai Army. He says he is deeply concerned about the state of Thailand and the future of the monarchy.

A few quotes :

SPIEGEL: At some point, the king will no longer be there. Will Thailand then slip into chaos when he dies? Are you afraid of that?

Sukhumbhand: Of course I am afraid. I was not afraid before. But now, after a few years of political polarization, I think that this political polarization will become even more violent.

SPIEGEL: The king is 81 now. Normally, on his birthday he reads a speech to the nation each year. But last year was the first time he didn’t read it himself. That might indicate that he is ill. Is there reason to worry and are you afraid?

Sukhumbhand: Everybody worries about the king. Even if he goes for a checkup, people panic. Yes, of course we are worried.

SPIEGEL: Is he seriously ill?

Sukhumbhand: Let me formulate it this way: He’s not doing as well as he was 10 years ago.

PIEGEL: You are a cousin of the king. So you know the royal court’s rules very well. How is the successor to the king actually selected?

Sukhumbhand: There are generally two possibilities. The king can pick his own a successor …

SPIEGEL: … which King Bhumibol Adulyadej has not done yet …

Sukhumbhand: As far as we know. If that hasn’t happened, then a successor must be found according to the palace law of 1926. But that is subject to approval by the parliament.

SPIEGEL: So his son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, or one of his daughters would become the successor?

Sukhumbhand: No, the palace law doesn’t permit a female successor to the throne.

SPIEGEL: So the only choice would be Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn?

Sukhumbhand: That we know of, yes.

That’s the proof that not only westerners are thinking about the succession issue… However, I don’t understand when he says “the palace law doesn’t permit a female successor to the throne. I thought Princess Sirindhorn had the status of princess royal. She could take the throne.

If my thai readers could enlight us on this issue.

Her title in Thai is the female equivalent of the title held by her brother, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn

6 Responses to “Bangkok’s governor : “Everybody worries about the king””

  1. 1 trirat petchsingh 21 April 2009 at 8:52 am

    It doesn’t matter what the princess’ title is, unless the Palace Law is amended, no females on the throne, and unless the King chooses someone himself. BTW, where did you get the title Princess Royal; in Thai there obviously is no such concept, only Crown Prince.

  2. 3 chinesethai 21 April 2009 at 11:06 am

    ThaiCrisis, you already know the answer.

    If we read between the lines, MRW Sukhumbhand is not either correct and incorrect. He just avoids giving direct answers, that’s it. The fact that he is a cousin doesn’t earn him any more privilege than a commoner as many people had believed.

    ThaiCrisis, I wish you spoke Thai. Nation Channel reported the story of a Mom Luang (ML), who has lived in poor neighbourhood in Southern Thailand for 40 years. She is frail and very poor. Who would have expected to see a royal cousin to live in such condition?

    Have you come across MRW working as a driver for a billionaire? I have, TC, long ago. My dad got his name card and showed it to me. I was surprised.

    Compare the current number of royal family members to the past one.

    Currently, it is the self-serving cliques like army generals, politicians tycoons, police commanders, and monks that are very usurping and powerful in the Thai Society. You just called the Police ‘mafia’.

    Therefore, the accusation from Thaksin’s Reds that “Aristocrats” enjoy privileges over commoners and should be torn down might sound credible in the first place. But when you consider the reality, that accusation is so overblown and baseless.

  3. 4 trirat petchsingh 21 April 2009 at 11:28 am

    What I meant was, historically there has never been a title Princess Royal. The current princess’ title from the Wiki source you graciously pointed me to, สมเด็จพระเทพรัตนราชสุดา เจ้าฟ้ามหาจักรีสิรินธร รัฐสีมาคุณากรปิยชาติ สยามบรมราชกุมารี, is ad hoc and was invented in this reign. It nowhere implies that she could be an heir. Okay, if princess royal means she’s the king’s eldest royal daughter, obviously she is, so I concede that point.

  4. 5 chinesethai 21 April 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Oh, I was not aware that HRH Princess Sirindhorn has received an additional title in the middle.

    In Thai (actually Bali and Sanskrit), the title is very meaningful.

    Maha Chakri means Of the Great Chakri Dynasty.

    Rathasima Kunakorn Piyachart means she was born for this country and has devoted immensely to the entire country.

    Trirat, HRH Princess Sirindhorn is HM’s second daughter.

  5. 6 trirat petchsingh 22 April 2009 at 9:39 pm


    I said she was the eldest royal daughter; I’m quite aware there is an older daughter, but didn’t she give up her royal status when she married a foreigner?

    BTW, Princess Sirndorn was given her ‘Princess Royal’ title in 1977 when she was 22. It seems implausible that they ever intended her to ever inherit the throne because she could have married, had children, and … well, you get the point.

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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