King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, whose official title is Rama X, has gone into self-isolation in Germany with his harem of 20 concubines, technically making it a not so self-isolation. The 67-year-old King has booked out the entire Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Bavaria, with permission from the local council, in order to isolate himself. It’s not clear if King Vajiralongkorn’s wife is with him. Earlier, a royal entourage of 119 members had been sent back to Thailand amid fears that they had contracted the Wuhan Coronavirus.
Guesthouses and hotels had earlier been closed in Germany due to the pandemic but local authorities said that an exception had been made in the case of the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl because “the guests are a single, homogenous group of people with no fluctuation”. However, the King’s actions have not gone down well with the people of Thailand. Some of them risked breaking the country’s lèse-majesté laws by criticizing him online. As per the law, anyone criticizing the King can be jailed for a period of up to 15 years.
As per reports, a hashtag translating to ‘Why do we need a king’ was trending on Twitter after the news broke out. Activist Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a vocal critic of Thailand’s monarchy, said, “[Vajiralongkorn will] let the Thai people worry about the virus. Even Germany is worried about the virus [but] it’s none of his business.”
King Maha Vajiralongkorn had ascended the throne of Thailand in May 2019, following the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Although his father had died in 2016, his coronation was delayed as he had asked for time to mourn before taking the throne. Later the Thai government retroactively declared his reign to have begun on 13 October 2016, the date of his father’s death.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn married his long-time consort in 2019, making her his fourth wife. He has divorced his first three wives. Last year the King had created a sensation by striping his consort of all royal titles accusing her of ‘disloyalty’, who was given the title just a few months ago after he had married his earlier consort.
The Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is located at the foothills of the Alps. The luxury hotel, just minutes from the centre of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, boasts of a history of over a hundred years.