And totally off topic, we currently have martial law and a curfew here in Thailand, it’s very exciting. There are soldiers lolling about at road junctions, the schools are closed (yay!) and the TV is off. I just hope they don’t switch off the net as has been rumoured.
Being next-door neighbours to Thailand and with an ex-pat community whose members are continually crossing the land-border in both directions the Thai coup has got us gripped, in fact my friend Therese was at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok when the coup was officially announced and was quite glad to get out before the commencement of curfew. Not that coups are a new thing in Thailand, this being the twelfth coup since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932.
In all of this the role of the monarchy is a critical lynch pin, due to the reverence with which the Thais hold their king, however the king himself is both elderly (aged 86) and somewhat frail, both adding to the political confusion and providing ammunition for opportunists.
The situation is being exacerbated by the heir to the throne, Prince Vajiralongkorn having secretive financial ties to ousted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, therefore is considered a bit suspect by Shinawatra’s opponents. It is even rumoured that Shinawatra paid off the princes gambling debts.
The behaviour of both the prince and his wife can be described as strange and erratic, as demonstrated by the fact that their pet dog Foo Foo holds the rank of Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force or that at Foo Foo’s recent birthday celebration, the heir’s wife was wandering around wearing nothing but a thong – don’t believe me? The video is on You Tube!
So where is Thailand’s king in waiting in the middle of this coup? Helping to negotiate a settlement? In the royal palace awaiting developments?
No – he’s holed up in a high class hotel in Hampshire where he has been for the past week.
The Crown Prince of Thailand has escaped the political turmoil in his own country and is staying in a five-star hotel in the Hampshire countryside.
Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and his 30-strong royal entourage have taken over a wing of grade-II listed Tylney Hall in the village of Rotherwick, the Evening Standard reported.
Tylney Hall, where room start at £250 a night, rising to £530 for the Duke and Duchess Suites with four-poster beds and whirlpool baths, declined to comment on their royal guest.
After all, where did you expect him to be in the middle of a coup?