Born in 1927, Bhumibol Adulyadej is the current King of Thailand, he’s also referred to as Rama IX which is much snappier. The Thai’s relationship with their royalty is a bit different to ours in Europe. They unconditionally love the royal family, they’re considered to be pretty much semi-gods. So, if Adulyadej did kick the bucket, the country would enter deep mourning.
He plays the saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, guitar, and piano. He’s quite a dude.
Since the Thai government was overturned by the military in 1957, the royal family has had special powers and control over the army. Things are relatively chilled in Thailand at the moment, but who knows what would go on if Adulyadej’s death brought a nutter to the throne.
At the moment, his son- Vajiralongkorn (below) – is next in line and he’s already been in a bit of trouble.
One Asian journal mentioned some dodgy business ties between Vajiralongkorn and the Prime Minister of Thailand… so the Thai royal family shut the journal down. Nice.
An article in The Economist said that Vajiralongkorn is “widely loathed and feared” and “unpredictable to the point of eccentricity”. Another publication – Asia Sentinel – alleged that Vajiralongkorn is “regarded as erratic and virtually incapable of ruling.” *Gulp*.
Bhumibol Adulyadej suffers from lumbar spinal stenosis and has had a number of surgeries, he’s also rumoured to suffer from Parkinson’s, diverticulitis, depression and occasional bouts of pneumonia.
He’s pushing his luck, basically. If he does die this year, things might change significantly for Thailand.