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Thai King’s exiled son returns – is he back in the royal fold?

Photo: Public Relations Office Thailand

The King of Thailand’s exiled son has returned to his birth country after 27 years.

Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse, 42, has been seen undertaking what could be construed as royal engagements since his arrival in Bangkok.

Vacharaesorn visited the Foundation for Slum Child Care to meet with underprivileged children and paid respect to the Buddha Jinnasi Statue at Bowornniwet Temple. The second son of King Rama X also travelled to the Promvajirayan Buddhist School and offered lunch to 130 Buddhist novices before paying tribute to his ancestor, King Rama III, by visiting a statue of the former monarch.

King Vajiralongkorn’s son was seen wearing special pins to honour his father at each of the engagements, and the media was there to photograph each event.

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He told the media at the Slum Child Care Foundation about his return, “I am delighted to return to Thailand; I have been warmly welcomed. I have been away for a long time, 27 years.”

Vacharaesorn is the King’s second son by his second wife, Sujarinee Vivacharawongse. He and his three brothers were exiled to the United States in 1996 after their parents divorced and lost their royal status. Only their sister, Princess Sirivannavari, remained in the royal fold. She was taken from her mother and brought back to Thailand on orders of the now King, where she grew up with many royal privileges alongside her older half-sister and younger half-brother.

The return of the 42-year-old former royal, an attorney, has raised questions regarding why he is now back in Thailand, with many wondering if he’s back in the royal fold, as he appeared to undertake some quasi-royal duties since arriving in Bangkok on 6 August.

It had been suggested that one of the King’s banished sons could be brought back to Thailand after the hospitalisation of Princess Bajrakitiyabha in December 2022. The Princess had long been considered the unspoken heir to the throne and had been prepared for the royal since childhood. However, the 44-year-old collapsed from a heart condition while training her dogs. She has been hospitalised in a coma on life support ever since with little hope for recovery.

The King’s youngest child, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, 18, has been raised primarily in Germany with a reported developmental disorder that could hinder his ability to take the throne.

With Vacharaesorn back in Bangkok, it remains to be seen if the Royal Household Bureau, which tightly controls anything to do with the Royal Family, will comment or if the King will once again claim his son. If the latter, the re-established prince would likely take on the heir to the throne duties and be expected to succeed his father.

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.