Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn (or Rama X) has made a rare public comment regarding the ongoing protests in Thailand against the government and his reign.
The King said of the protestors that he “loves them all the same” and that Thailand is the “land of compromise.” The King was with his wife, Queen Suthida, and daughter, Princess Sirivannavari, on Saturday in Bangkok when CNN and Channel 4 were at a function at the Grand Palace and quizzed him on the pro-democracy demonstrations in his country and what he would say to the demonstrators.
King Rama X first said “no comment” when questioned by the media but then said: “We love them all the same. We love them all the same. We love them all the same.”
He was next asked if there was room for compromise as the protestors want a curb on his increasing power. That is when the 68-year-old monarch responded: “Thailand is the land of compromise.”
Princess Sirivannavari also told CNN, “We love the Thai people, no matter what,” adding that Thailand is a peaceful country.
This was the first time Rama X had spoken to foreign media since 1979 when he was the Crown Prince of Thailand. The Royal Household Bureau had invited the international media to sit alongside the crowds of royal supporters in a rare move as normally only media aligned with the palace are allowed to attend in that capacity.
The move could be seen as damage control as the monarch has been heavily criticised in the international media and in Germany where he primarily resides with his harem in a hotel. The government in the European country recently ruled that the King – who has gathered more power since ascending to the throne upon the death of his father in 2016 – is not allowed to reign from their soil.
Mass protests have taken place across Thailand for months with demonstrators demanding that the junta leader, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, resign, a new constitution be created and the monarchy be reformed. The protests came with a high risk as Thailand has strict lese majeste laws that carry up to a 15-year prison sentence for insulting, defaming or threatening the monarch or member of the Thai Royal Family.