With the Southeast Asian nation facing an uncertain future with the death of its revered monarch on Thursday, a new photo has emerged of the throne’s heir apparent looking more court jester than king.
Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, showed up at an airport in Munich recently, strutting around in a rolled-up tank top, sagging jeans and fake tattoos with a poodle in tow.
In contrast to his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose death ends a 70-year reign, the playboy prince has a reputation among his soon-to-be subjects for bizarre behavior, womanizing and cruelty to his many wives.
Taking a page from Caligula, Vajiralongkorn named his favorite pet, a poodle named Foo Foo, as an air marshal.
He even took the pooch to a 2007 reception hosted in his honor by US Ambassador Ralph “Skip” Boyce.
“Foo Foo was . . . dressed in formal evening attire complete with paw mitts, and at one point during the band’s second number, he jumped up onto the head table and began lapping from the guests’ water glasses,” Boyce wrote, according to a WikiLeaks document.
“The Air Chief Marshal’s antics . . . remains the talk of the town to this day.”
But tales of the prince’s behavior exist mostly in the realm of rumor in Thailand. The nation has strict laws banning stories about the royal family.
But in 2007, the depravity of Vajiralongkorn’s court was exposed when a video surfaced of his third wife, Princess Srirasmi, a former bar waitress, walking around topless at her own birthday party while eating cake with Foo Foo.
When the dog died last year, it was given a four-day funeral.
Srirasmi has split from the prince after being booted from the Royal Palace in December. In a show of his cruelty, he recently allowed her parents to be thrown in prison for 2¹/₂ years for “royal defamation.”
His earlier two marriages were equally rocky. During his first — to his cousin — he allegedly fathered five kids with a mistress, then married the mistress. Later he dumped her, forcing her to flee the country.
The new images of him are sensitive, with officials detaining the Thai wife of a British journalist who put them online.
While Vajiralongkorn is the heir apparent, some hope his younger sister, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, might ascend to the throne. But women are banned from the throne.
Vajiralongkorn, meanwhile, has asked for four days to mourn before being installed as king — but some wags think he only wants more time to party.
With Post wire services