Thailand King Maha Vajiralongkorn has married a former flight attendant turned royal guard in a surprise ceremony and designated her Queen Suthida, just days before his own coronation.
The king’s new bride was formerly the deputy head of his personal security detail, the Guardian reported.
The surprise announcement came just ahead of Vajiralongkorn’s coronation was announced in the royal gazette. The report also carried footage from Wednesday’s wedding ceremony.
The news of the royal wedding was later also shown in the royal news segment aired on all Thai television channels late Wednesday.
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. Bhumibol had ruled for 70 years.
Vajiralongkorn is scheduled to be officially crowned in elaborate Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies on Saturday, followed by a procession through the capital.
In 2014, Vajiralongkorn appointed Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant for Thai Airways, as a deputy commander of his bodyguard unit.
Some royal observers and foreign media had linked Suthida romantically with the king, but the palace had previously never acknowledged any relationship, the Guardian report said.
The king made Suthida a full general in the army in December 2016 and she has also been made a ‘thanpuying’, a royal title meaning lady.
Vajiralongkorn has previously been married and divorced three times and has seven children.
While the king took the throne after the death of his father, his formal coronation follows a mourning period for King Bhumibol, whose royal cremation was held a year after his death.
Among the dignitaries at the wedding were Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of the military junta that has run Thailand since a 2014 army coup, as well as other members of the royal family and palace advisers, the wedding footage showed.