Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn raised some eyebrows last year when he stripped his mistress and secondary consort Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi of all titles just three months after her appointment.
Reports at the time of her fall from grace in October 2019 said she had tried to usurp the queen.
However, this September he changed his mind, and Sineenat, known as “Koi ”, promptly returned to his court from prison.
But not everyone was apparently cheering for her return, the London Sunday Times suggests, citing an “intense rivalry” between Koi and Vajiralongkorn’s official wife, which prompted an “international campaign to humiliate her” by leaking her “sexually explicit” images to the public.
Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, 35, born Niramon Ounprom, had made an impressive military career before joining the court, according to her official biography. She worked as an army nurse and Royal King’s guard, while also completing military training, royal bodyguarding and piloting.
Now, hundreds of nude photos of her have been leaked to anti-monarchy activists.
The sexually explicit selfies were allegedly leaked earlier this year to prominent critics of the Thai monarchy living abroad.
“There were 1,400 photographs. Some of them were very intimate,” one of the recipients, British commentator Andrew MacGregor Marshall, told the Daily Beast.
Marshall said he received a letter containing an SD card with the photos. The letter bore what he presumed to be “a fake return address” associated with German intelligence headquarters in Berlin.
“I made the decision not to publish them,” said Marshall. “They had obviously been sent to me without her consent, but also I just saw this is as part of a factional palace game.”
Marshall said he received the mysterious letter in August, around the same time that Koi was released from detention following a feud with Thailand’s queen to join the king’s harem of “sex soldiers”.
Marshall also said he received a threat around the time he was sent the SD card.
“Earlier in August my house in Scotland was surveilled and a threat was left on the doorstep, so it was quite a worrying time and the last thing I wanted was to get dragged into Thai palace politics,” he said.
Marshall did not publicly release any of the photos, but he confirmed that another critic of the Thai monarchy, Pavin Chachavalpongpun had released them.
“From the timing of the whole thing it was clearly an attempt to sabotage her return to court,” Marshall said. “In any royal court you get factional fighting. It is a notorious element of palace life.
“When you are a monarch with a wife and queen and you appoint a consort, it is a recipe for vicious infighting.”
Her return to the court back in September was highly criticised and coincided with a wave of anti-monarchy protests in Thailand, with demonstrators calling to curb the king’s powers, citing the arbitrariness of some of his moves.