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Royal Mystery: Who is the heir to the Thai throne?

Royal Household Bureau

While the line of succession and heir to the throne in most countries is clear, in Thailand, it’s a bit murky.

The King, Rama X, only has one son, who he claims – Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti (18). Even though he’s the only son, he does not hold the title Crown Prince of Thailand.

In 1974, a constitutional amendment was passed in Thailand to allow women to ascend the throne, and the heir to the throne is appointed by the monarch. As such, the King can, in theory, appoint any of his children to follow him in the line of succession.

While it’s assumed Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti would be named Crown Prince, it has long been rumoured that he has developmental disorders that could prevent him from ruling. He has been kept primarily out of the limelight his entire life and attended school in Germany. Not much is known about the 18-year-old.

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A popular alternative to Dipangkorn is the King’s eldest daughter, Princess Bajrakitiyabha, who has been groomed as the heir to the throne her entire life. The 44-year-old holds a law degree and has worked at the United Nations. She also has held positions in the Thai government and military – most notably, she was the Thai Ambassador to Austria from 2012-2014. The Princess has worked to help incarcerated women and led efforts at the UN to adopt the Bangkok Rules, which are the first set of international guidelines to address the treatment of women in the justice system.

However, her status is unclear after Princess Bajrakitiyabha collapsed from a heart condition while training with her dogs in December 2022. She has been hospitalised since in a Bangkok hospital with her condition unclear. Rumours have circulated that the Princess is on life support with no chance of awakening, but the Royal Household Bureau has made no announcements to confirm nor deny the claims. The last update from the palace was in early 2023.

By Government of Thailand – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The third option is Princess Sirivannavari, who is unpopular. The Princess spends a significant amount of time outside her country and is a known fashion designer. She has been successful in the Southeast Asian Games as an equestrian and in badminton. Sirivannavari was recently elevated to the title of specialist in the Royal Thai Army, holding the rank of major general by her father in April 2023.

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As of now, the unspoken heir to the throne is Princess Bajrakitiyabha, but as her status is unknown, the position of heir to the Thai throne is also uncertain. Until the Royal Household Bureau makes an announcement or clarification, confusion will remain on who will succeed Rama X to the throne.

With the sudden arrival of Bajrakitiyabha’s exiled brother, Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse, from the United States in August, the successor to Rama X may be changing, but that remains to be seen.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. She's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.