Suthida Tidjai was born on 3 June 1978 in Hat Yai, Songkla, Thailand, to Kham and Jangheang Tidjai.
Her education was at Somboonkulkanya Middle School and the private Assumption University in Bangkok; she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from the latter in 2000.
She spent time as a flight attendant – first at JALways Airlines for three years after graduation from university before moving on to Thai Airways from 2003 to 2008.
Suthida later joined the Thai military in 2010 where she served in the Royal Thai Army, rising to the rank of general. She also served as part of the Royal Security Command.
By August 2014, she was appointed as commander of then Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s security team called “the Ratchawanlop Guards,” and two years later, on 1 December 2016, she was promoted to the rank of general and Commander of the Special Operations Unit of the King’s Guard. Less than a year later, Suthida received another appointment as acting commander of Royal Thai Aide-de-camp Department.
In October 2017, she received the Dame Grand Cross (First Class) of The Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao once Vajiralongkorn had become King Rama X; she was the first female officer to be presented with the honour since 2004.
After Vajiralongkorn’s divorce from the former Princess Srirasmi, Suthida was linked to the future king romantically. By October 2016, international media had picked up on the rumours and declared her as the future consort. However, the Royal Palace never confirmed their relationship while dating.
The Royal Palace announced in 2019 that the King was to marry Suthida and name her as queen consort. The couple married in the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall on 1 May 2019 with the ceremony broadcast live on television. In the traditional ceremony, Suthida laid on the floor and presented the King with incense and flowers. Then, on 4 May, she was officially crowned consort during her husband’s coronation making her Her Majesty Queen Suthida (Somdet Phra Nang Chao Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana Phra Borommarajini).
The Queen’s birthday is a national holiday in Thailand, and streets are decorated with her photos throughout the month of June to celebrate. The Thai people are encouraged to wear purple (The Queen’s ‘colour’) to honour her and buildings in Bangkok are decorated with yellow (the colour of the King) and purple in celebration.
As Thailand has strict lèse majesté laws, any and all criticism of the Queen and Royal Family in the country is prohibited. A person can be punished for up to 15 years in prison for ‘insults’ toward the Royal Family.