Asia

Thai palace shares unusually candid images of king’s consort

Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, pictured here piloting a fighter jet, was appointed the king's royal consort in July Image copyright EPA
Image caption Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, pictured here piloting a fighter jet, was appointed the king's royal consort in July

Rare photographs of the king of Thailand's newly-anointed consort have been released by the palace, reportedly causing its website to crash.

Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, 34, is shown piloting a fighter jet, wearing combat fatigues, and firing a gun.

A consort is a title given by a monarch to his or her spouse or companion.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 67, bestowed the title on Sineenat in July, two months after his marriage to Queen Suthida, his fourth wife.

Sineenat, a major-general, was the first person to have been awarded the title of Royal Noble Consort in nearly a century.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi taking part in the Royal Cremation ceremony of Thailand's late King Bhumibol Adulyadej

The website hosting the photos went down after receiving high volumes of traffic, according to Reuters news agency.

Her biography has been published alongside the images.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn holding a poodle next to royal consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi

In a statement, Thailand's palace said the king had "ordered the creation of a royal biography" for Sineenat, who is a trained pilot, nurse and bodyguard.

Queen Suthida - a 41-year-old former flight attendant and deputy head of his bodyguard unit - is King Vajiralongkorn's long-term partner and has been seen with him in public for many years.

He ascended to the throne after the death of his father in 2016.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi (C) pictured with the king (L)
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi aims a weapon at a firing range
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Media captionThe king is seen pouring sacred water on the head of Queen Suthida when they were married in May

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