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Why is the King of Thailand So Rich

Why is the King of Thailand So Rich?

Members of the Thai monarchy have specific luxuries and activities that show their expensive taste. These include elegant ceremonies, luxurious jewellery, and an impressive fleet of air transport vehicles – which all involves a large sum of money.

The king of Thailand is extremely rich because his wealth is based on three very lucrative sources of capital namely banks, industrial sales, and real estate. The Thai King is so rich that his wealth is fully displayed through his lavish lifestyle.

In this article, we will look at the Thai King’s different sources of wealth and also talk about his lavish lifestyle. We will then check out the impact of his wealth and lifestyle in terms of public governance and people’s opinions.

King Rama X’s Background

To better understand the ascent of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, referred officially to as King Rama X, as the wealthiest monarch in the world, let us look at the personal and professional background of the king:

1. Education


During his childhood, King Rama X went to Bangkok’s palace school. When he turned 13 however, he went to the United Kingdom to attend two different private schools for five years before going to Australia for another year of schooling.

The king was then trained in Canberra’s Royal Military College for four years before going back to Thailand to continue his military training with the Thai army. 

He eventually became an officer for the armed forces of Thailand and is able to pilot a Boeing 737 for overseas trips.

2. Marriage 


The Thai king was married to his first wife in 1977. It was with Princess Soamsawali, the king’s cousin and their marriage lasted for 16 years with the royal couple giving birth to their firstborn, Princess Bajarakitiyabha, in 1978.

King Rama X then married Sujarinee Vivacharawongse, a Thai actor. This marriage was short-lived, however, as the married couple only stayed together for two years.

In 2001, the Thai king married Srirasmi Suwadee, his third wife. In 2005, Prince Dipangkorn was born. 

Their union only lasted for 13 years and in 2014, Suwadee’s royal title was stripped from her based on charges that she and her family abused the Crown Prince’s influence and connections.

In May 2019, King Rama X got married for the fourth time a few days prior to his coronation. The king married Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana who was to be referred to as Queen Suthida based on a declaration by the Thai palace.

Prior to getting married to the king, Queen Suthida worked for Thai Airways as a flight attendant and served in the King’s guard as a member of the special unit.

What is the source of King Rama X’s wealth?

As stated earlier, the king of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn is the richest monarch across the globe. He has an estimated personal worth of around 40 billion US dollars and beat out the Sultan of Brunei who came in second with $28 Billion.

But how did the king of Thailand get so rich? Below are some of the major sources of wealth for the Thai monarch:

1. Siam Commercial Banks

Siam Commercial Banks

The king of Thailand has a major stake in one of Thailand’s largest commercial lending banks, Siam Commercial bank. Reports value the bank to be around $1.7 Billion and King Rama X has a 23% stake in the said amount.

2. Siam Cement Group

Siam Cement Group

King Rama X also has a 33.3% stake in Thailand’s leading industrial conglomerate, Siam Cement Group. 

Combining the King’s total net worth in both the Siam Cement Group and Siam Commercial Banks, it is estimated the King has a total of around $9 Billion lodged in the said corporations.

3. Land Rental

Land Rental

A large part of the King’s wealth is with the Crown Property Bureau of Thailand. The said government bureau has 16,210 acres of land under it with 17,000  rental contracts in the capital, and a total of 40,000 rental contracts across the country.

In 2017, the Thai king transferred direct control of the Crown Property Bureau under him and consequently removed its status for tax exemption. This resulted in the king gaining control of some prime real estate in Thailand estimated to be worth around $33 Billion.

Under the supervision and management of the King, the Crown Property Bureau, it was announced that there will be new rental deals and developments on the lands owned by King Rama X. These new rental deals involve companies such as hotels and malls. 

While this will lead to additional revenue for the King, the move will definitely provide the Thai Monarch with more visible sources of income, specifically the buildings or facilities of the malls and hotels themselves. 

4. Gold and Gems

Gold and Gems

Aside from his conglomerate and land rental contracts, the King has other sources of wealth such as his golds and gems, new deals with million-dollar companies, and rental payments from a number of upmarket malls.  

The 545.67-carat Golden Jubilee Diamond is considered the largest diamond in the world and is among Thailand’s crown jewels. The Diamond Authority, a jewellery website, estimates that the said diamond could be valued at up to $12 Million.

In 1996, it was originally presented to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late father of King Rama X to celebrate the then king’s 50th reign. 

On coronation day, Thai monarchs are offered five royal instruments which include the golden Great Crown of Victory which weighs around 16 lbs (7.3 kg). 

The said crown is topped with a huge diamond imported all the way from India as well as being inlaid with gems. The other royal instruments mentioned earlier are also set in gold and adorned with diamonds, each with deep cultural significance and history.

How is King Rama X Using his Wealth?

With such levels of wealth, it’s no longer surprising that the King of Thailand is living a life of luxury. Below are some of the things King Rama is doing with his riches:

1. Private Aircrafts in the King’s Fleet

Private Aircrafts in the King’s Fleet

King Rama X has amassed an impressive number of aviation vehicles and is still adding to his impressive collection of aircrafts. He has 21 helicopters, four, Northrop F5-E fighter jets, three Sukoi Superjet 100s, four Boeing airlines, and three Airbus.

It has also been reported that the royal family of Thailand exclusively uses 38 helicopters and jets for their personal transport. With such a large collection of aviation vehicles,  the King’s fleet costs a whopping $64 Million for maintenance and fuel costs.

2. Impressive Collection of Cars

Impressive Collection of Cars

The Thai King also has an impressive collection of high-end automobiles. In fact, the king owns two Mercedes Benz cars that are considered limited edition units and definitely collector’s items worth keeping.

These include the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W221) and the Mercedes-Maybach 62 Limousine. 

Aside from his Benz’, the King of Thailand also owns a custom-made Rolls-Royce Corniche which was transformed into a convertible and can only be exclusively used by the royal family of Thailand.

3. Royal Family’s Boat

Royal Family’s Boat

Also called the Suphannahong, the royal boat is one of the royal family’s oldest forms of transportation but its cost still remains unknown to this day. However, it remains a majestic piece of naval vessel that inspires awe and respect in locals.

The royal boat also boasts an intricate design with carvings of mythical creatures and swans and 52- gold painted barges. It was most recently used by the royal family after the coronation of King Rama X. 

4. Frequent Royal Parties and Ceremonies

Frequent Royal Parties and Ceremonies

Aside from focusing on his family, King Rama X also loves spending time with his pets. When he was still a Prince in 2007, King Rama X threw a lavish birthday party for  Fufu, his pet dog who he designated as Air Chief Marshal of the Thai military.

Aside from birthdays, the Thai king’s ceremonies and events also cost the king a few million dollars. His coronation and his Brahmin and Buddhist ceremonies are estimated to cost around $30 million.

5. Expensive Weddings

Expensive Weddings

As stated earlier in the article, King Rama X has been married four times. He first got married in 1977 to his cousin, Princess Soamsawali Kitiyakara. His second marriage to the Thai actress Sujarinee Vivacharawongse only lasted for two years.

He then married Srirasmi Suwadee who stayed with the Thai king until 2014. King Rama X’s fourth and current marriage is to Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana and according to reports, the Thai king spent millions on the wedding ceremony.

6. Luxurious Vacations

Luxurious Vacations

While getting an education, the king of Thailand travelled the globe extensively. King Rama X also travels frequently to Germany and even stayed in the said country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this trip, King Rama X sought to self-isolate by booking an expensive hotel in Germany and bringing along with him a few staff members as well. It is safe to say that when the Thai king travels, he wants to travel in comfort and in luxury.

Protesters’ Reaction to the Thai King’s Wealth

Protesters' Reaction to the Thai King’s Wealth

With such immense wealth, protesters in Thailand have increased their calls for accountability. They aren’t really calling for the overthrow or replacement of the monarchy but rather asking for government reforms to reduce poverty and inequality.

To achieve such reforms, protesters are calling for a reversal of the unilateral control of the monarch’s finances. They are also proposing that the Thai constitution be enhanced in terms of accountability mechanisms for the royal family.

From 2015 to 2018, the poverty rate in Thailand increased significantly from 7.2% to 9.9%. This is based on the figures of the World  Bank which also warned of a GDP decline for the country caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts also noted that protesters aren’t targeting the monarchy per se but what the royal family is actually representing, which is social or class hierarchy. This call for change aims to end Thailand’s continued deferment to the established hierarchy.

An Australian-based pro-democracy organiser named Kanyanatt Kalfagiannis also claimed that in Thailand, feudalism still exists. 

Kanyanatt claims that buying a piece of land in Thailand doesn’t mean that the land belongs to the purchaser because the land title or certificate still bears the signature of the monarch. This reminds us that the lot purchased technically still belongs to the King.

Protesters understand that there is still a long way to go before such reforms are heard and supported by the Thai people. They claim that years of royal propaganda may have prevented Thailand from seeing through the inadequacies of the institution.

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