Thailand’s king has reinstated his royal consort to the position, nearly a year after she was stripped of her titles in a dramatic fall from grace.
King Vajiralongkorn returned Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi’s rank and titles on Wednesday, the Royal Gazette announced.
Sineenat was stripped of her rank in October 2019, only months after she was granted the honours.
The palace said that she was punished for trying to elevate herself to “the same state as the queen”.
Sineenat was the first royal consort for almost a century in Thailand, where the term refers to a companion or partner in addition to the king’s wife.
Last year’s announcement also accused her of “misbehaviour and disloyalty against the monarch”.
Born in 1985, she is from northern Thailand and worked as a nurse before entering a relationship with the then-crown prince Vajiralongkorn.
She eventually became a bodyguard, pilot and parachutist, and joined the royal guards. In early 2019, she was appointed a major-general.
She received the official title of first Royal Noble Consort in July that year, shortly after the king married his fourth wife, Queen Suthida.
Just a few months later, in October, Sineenat was unexpectedly stripped of her rank and titles, sparking widespread speculation over what might have prompted the sudden downfall.
Thai kings throughout the centuries took multiple wives – or consorts. But the last time a Thai king had taken an official consort was in the 1920s and the title had not been used since the country became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.
Thailand’s lese-majeste law forbids any criticism of the monarchy, with hefty prison sentences for offenders.
But recent demonstrations against the government have also included unprecedented calls for reforms to the monarchy.