A HAREM of 20 "sex soldiers", his own pleasure room, a poodle he named Air Chief Marshal and a mistress he had locked up in jail.
These may all sound like the makings of a Hollywood movie, but they're just some of the demands it is claimed were made bythe eccentric and ruthless king of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, 68.
The monarch – also known as Rama X – recently welcomed his mistress, Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, back into the royal harem, after she was expelled and imprisoned in 2019 following a dramatic fall-out.
But now Sinennat has been caught up in a fresh scandal as more than 1,400 snaps of her – many of them naked or semi-naked – have been sent to anti-monarchy activists in a bid to “sabotage” the Royal consort.
The leak of the “very explicit” photos is thought to be connected to a bitter rivalry between the King’s mistress and his wife, reported The Times.
And it comes as the king remains holed up in a fancy German hotel with a reported 20 concubines – that have even been dubbed his "sex soldiers".
Here we look at what we know about the eccentric king, and the scandalous claims surrounding his reign…
Pampered upbringing & school in UK
Born in 1952, Maha was the only boy among King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit's four children.
He attended primary school in Bangkok, but then spent many of his younger years in Britain – attending King's Mead School in Seaford, Sussex, and Millfield School in Somerset.
According to the BBC, the prince struggled to keep up at school at the time and blamed his pampered upbringing as a royal.
Indeed, he was so spoiled as a child that he once admitted that by the age of 12 he could not tie his own shoelaces because courtiers had always done it for him.
Maha went on to enroll at the Royal Military College in Canberra, Australia, and was proclaimed crown prince of the Chakri Dynasty in December 1972.
He also served in the Royal Thai Army and is a qualified helicopter and fighter pilot – even flying his own Boeing 737 when he travels overseas – while also enjoying cycling as a hobby.
Chequered past love life with 3 ex wives & 7 kids
In 1977, Maha married his first wife – his cousin, Princess Soamsawali Kitiyakara, now 63 – and they had a daughter, Bajrakitiyabha.
However, during the marriage Maha fathered four sons and a daughter with a mistress, actress Yuvadhida Polpraserth, now 58. They began living together but his wife reportedly initially refused to divorce him.
Finally, in 1993, the divorce was granted and he married Yuvadhida the following year.
After a mysterious bust-up two years later, however, she fled to the UK and a livid Maha accused her of cheating on him with a 60-year-old Thai air marshal.
The then-prince had his daughter brought back to Thailand, but his four sons have claimed they were banned from returning.
According to The Times, they said in a letter written in 2011: “We were ordered by our father not to return home to Thailand."
They added: "We were afraid to risk even demonstrating the slightest inference of disrespect toward the Royal Family.”
In 2001 Maha married his third wife – former waitress Srirasmi Suwadee, 49, who had been in his service since 1992.
He kept the marriage secret from the public until 2005, when Srirasmi gave birth to their son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, now 15.
However, it once again wasn't to be and he divorced Srirasmi in 2014, stripped her of her royal titles and exiled her to an undisclosed location in Thailand.
He then jailed her parents for two-and-a-half years for “royal defamation”.
Wife 'dancing in G-string' and poodle made Air Force chief
Maha's marriage to his third wife sparked major shock while they were together.
The pair bought a poodle, Foo Foo, which the then-prince is said to have become incredibly devoted to.
He made it an Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force and the dog appeared at official functions dressed in a dinner jacket.
A video from a party, thought to have been in honour of the dog, was previously leaked online and appeared to show topless Srirasmi lying on the floor in just a G-string, feeding cake to the pet.
She sang Happy Birthday to it before appearing to get on her hands and knees and eat from the same bowl as Foo Foo.
And in 2007, the pooch was a guest at a reception held by the US Ambassador Ralph Boyce.
In a leaked document, Mr Boyce said: “Foo Foo was present at the event, dressed in formal evening attire complete with paw mitts.
“At one point during the band’s second number, he jumped up on to the head table and began lapping from the guests’ water glasses, including my own.
“The Air Chief Marshal’s antics drew the full attention of the 600-plus audience members, and remains the talk of the town to this day.”
When the dog died in 2015, Maha gave it a four-day funeral complete with Buddhist rites before it was cremated in a lavish ceremony.
'Fake tattoos and crop tops'
The then-prince was known for his extravagant taste, particularly at public events.
But his pristine ceremonial outfits are a far cry from the outrageous crop top and low-slung jeans he was allegedly once spotted wearing while wandering around a German shopping centre.
The monarch even threatened to sue Facebook over the startling shots, taken in 2016 by a passer-by.
The images, which appeared to show Maha out for a stroll while wearing fake tattoo “sleeves”, fell foul of Thailand’s extremely strict law of “lese-majeste” – or insulting royalty.
Fourth marriage days before extravagant coronation
When Maha's father died following 70 years on the throne in 2016, the new king asked for around 50 days for the country to mourn him before he ascended to the throne.
Just days before his coronation, in May last year, Maha married his fourth wife Queen Suthida, 42, a former Thai Airways flight attendant.
Official photos showed Suthida laying on the floor as she was given a gift by the king during the wedding ceremony.
His coronation took place just days later – and it did not disappoint, with a parade complete with 1,300 people and elephants, according to The South China Morning Post.
The king is said to have worn a 7.3-kg crown for the day, while the whole thing reportedly cost up to US$31million (£23million).
How mistress went from laying at his feet to being jailed
While he may have seemed happier than ever with his fourth wife, it didn't take long for Maha's eye to wander.
In fact, his own mother has previously branded him a womaniser and compared him to philandering libertine Don Juan.
During a 1982 trip to the US, she said: “My son, the Crown Prince, is a little bit of a Don Juan.
"He is a good student, a good boy, but women find him interesting and he finds women even more interesting.”
In August last year, the king made his mistress, Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, 35, a royal consort in an awkward ceremony attended by his new wife – the first time in the country's modern history that a monarch publicly admitted to having more than one partner.
He used ceremonial water to anoint his long-term girlfriend while she lay at his feet.
Sineenat also received four medals, including the "most noble order of the crown of Thailand" and the "most exalted order of the white elephant, special class".
But last October – less than three months after making her his royal consort – the king issued a command rescinding the appointment and sending her to prison.
The official statement accused his mistress of being “dishonourable, lacking gratitude [and of] disobedience against the king and the queen”.
In a dramatic twist several months later, German newspaper Bild reported the Thai royal released her from Bang Kwang maximum-security prison in August 2020, before she is said to have joined him and his harem once again.
His luxury lockdown hotel with 'pleasure room' & 'sex soldiers'
The king is said to have spent lockdown and the last few months of the pandemic holed up in a luxury hotel with an entourage of 20 concubines.
The posh Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in the resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany reportedly even has a specially built "pleasure room" for him and his harem.
The king and his entourage occupy the hotel’s entire fourth floor, reported Bild.
The concubines have been dubbed his "sex soldiers" as they're allegedly set up in a sort of military unit.
The king is also said to have decked out his private floor at the resort with treasures and antiques from Bangkok.
News of the monarch's self-isolation was met with anger by tens of thousands of people in his homeland earlier this year, who risked breaking the country’s laws by slamming him online.
Under the archaic laws, anyone who insults or criticises the monarchy faces up to 35 years behind bars.
But a hashtag which translated to "Why do we need a king?" appeared 1.2 million times on Twitter within 24 hours of news breaking he was in Germany, reports The Times.
Posting such sentiment in Thailand remains a dangerous game. According to The Guardian, a man was jailed for 35 years for Facebook posts deemed insulting to the royal family in 2017.
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