Born on July 28, 1952, Vajiralongkorn was the second child of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, and their only son. After completing his basic education, the prince enrolled at a military academies in Australia, and he later returned to Thailand to take up military career.
Under Thailand’s century-old system of primogeniture, which prioritizes male heir, Vajiralongkorn was appointed a successor to King Bhumibol in 1972, at 20.
Vajiralongkorn was an enthusiast in martial affairs. He personally led a campaign against the Communist insurgency in the Cold War. He trained and eventually qualified to fly military aircrafts. He also currently leads his own infantry corps, the Ratchawallop.
Like other matters related to the royal family, the palace gave little information about Vajiralongkorn’s personality and hobbies, but it is known that he has a residence in southern Germany, that he is a fan of cycling and that he is an able pilot who can fly jetliner across continents. His most high-profile appearance is the mass cycling event in Bangkok that he headed in 2015.
Many analysts of Thai politics also agree that the new monarch has large shoes to fill, in terms of charisma and influence. Vajiralongkorn’s father, the late King Bhumibol, is revered by many Thais as a demi-god, the “Soul of the Nation.”
Note: The content of this article has been been self-censored due to sensitivity of the issue.