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Just days before his official coronation, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Wednesday married the deputy head of his personal guard force and gave her the title Queen Suthida.
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King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his consort General Suthida Vajiralongkorn, named Queen Suthida, during their wedding ceremony in Bangkok.
The surprise announcement was carried in the Royal Gazette, and footage from Wednesday's wedding ceremony was later shown on the nightly Royal News segment aired on all Thai television channels. Thai TV Pool
In 2014, Vajiralongkorn appointed Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant for Thai Airways, as a deputy commander of his bodyguard unit. Thai TV Pool
Some royal observers and foreign media had linked Suthida romantically with the king, but the palace had previously never acknowledged a relationship between them. Royal Household via REUTERS
The king made Suthida a full general in the Royal Thai Army in December 2016, and the deputy commander of the king's personal guard in 2017. He also made her a Thanpuying, a royal title meaning Lady. Royal Household via REUTERS
Vajiralongkorn has previously been married and divorced three times and has seven children. Royal Household via REUTERS
He is due to be officially crowned in elaborate Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies on Saturday, followed by a procession through Bangkok the next day. Thai TV Pool
King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his consort General Suthida Vajiralongkorn, named Queen Suthida, sign marriage documents during their wedding ceremony in Bangkok. Thai TV Pool
Vajiralongkorn, 66, also known by the title King Rama X, became constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016, after 70 years on the throne. Royal Household via REUTERS
King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his consort General Suthida Vajiralongkorn, named Queen Suthida, during their wedding ceremony in Bangkok. Thai TV Pool