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New Queen of Thailand announced just days ahead of coronation

She's a longtime supporter of King Vajiralongkorn

Diane Shipley

On Wednesday, the woman who is about to be the new Queen of Thailand was revealed. The news comes days ahead of an elaborate ceremony to crown King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who succeeded his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, to the throne. The late king died in October 2016 and it is traditional for a long mourning period before a new king is crowned.

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The new queen, General Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya, now known as Queen Suthida, is a former military general who has been one of the king's bodyguards for years. But the news of their marriage comes as a surprise to the Thai public and not much information about the happy event has been revealed – including when or where it took place. We do know that, according to a statement from the palace, the couple were married "legally and in accordance with Royal tradition".

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Queen Suthida used to be a flight attendant for Thai Airways but will presumably be able to put her feet up while she travels from now on.

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The 66-year-old monarch has been married three times before: first to his cousin, Princess Soamsawali Kitiyakara, who he married in 1977. He then married Yuvadhida Polpraserth, with whom he had five children, in 1994, but their marriage only lasted two years. Although she moved to America with their four sons, their daughter Sirivannavari Nariratana lives in Thailand and is a princess. In 2001, the king remarried again, this time to Srirasmi Suwadee, with whom he has one son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, who was born in 2005. They separated in 2014, at which time she lost her royal titles.

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The king has travelled the world and spent time living in Germany before his father's death

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King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be the 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty and the three-day coronation ceremony – the country's first since 1950 – begins on Saturday. Queen Suthida is certain to be involved, although it has not yet been revealed in what capacity. Thai royal news is often hidden, and local media is forbidden from writing anything critical about the family.

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