Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

From flight attendant to queen: Suthida takes her place ahead of Thai king's coronation

Queen Suthida worked as a Thai Airways flight attendant and then as a commander of the king's security unit

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has appointed his consort as the country's queen ahead of his official coronation on Saturday.

An announcement Wednesday in the Royal Gazette said Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya is legally married to the 66-year-old king, and is now Queen Suthida.

Look through the photo gallery above to see more from the ceremony.

Although she has been in the public eye for about three years, there has been little official information released about her and the news was a surprise to many Thai people.

She is reported to be 40 years old and to have previously worked as a flight attendant for Thai Airways. The two reportedly met on a flight.

Queen Suthida joined the palace guard in 2013 and became commander of the king's security unit, currently holding a general's rank. The new queen also has several top royal decorations.

Vajiralongkorn has had three previous marriages and divorced his previous wife, with whom he has a son, in 2014. He became king after the death in October 2016 of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thai television, which broadcast the royal order Wednesday evening, showed a video of Suthida prostrating herself before the king. According to the announcer, she presented the king with a tray of flowers and joss sticks, and in return was bestowed traditional gifts associated with royal power.

The king is showed in a white uniform and his bride in a pink silk traditional dress formally registering their marriage on Wednesday in his palace residence in Bangkok. The couple was seen writing her name in a marriage certificate book, which was also signed by the king's sister, Princess Sirindhorn, and Privy Council head Prem Tinsulanonda as witnesses. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and other senior officials were also in attendance.

Updated: May 2, 2019 05:15 PM

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