Thai king's sons wind up surprise first visit home in 27 years

By Reuters   August 14, 2023 | 03:25 pm PT
Thai king's sons wind up surprise first visit home in 27 years
Vacharaesorn and Chakriwat Vivacharawongse, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn's sons, greet members of the media at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international airport as they head back to the United States after a surprise visit to the kingdom after living abroad for 27 years, Thailand, August 14, 2023. Photo by Reuters
The two sons of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn ended their first visit to Thailand in 27 years on Monday, without any comment on their surprise arrival from the palace.

Vacharaeson Vivacharawongse, 42, arrived in Thailand last week and visited a child care center and took part in religious ceremonies at a Bangkok temple.

Photos in local media at the weekend showed that his younger brother, Chakriwat, had also arrived and they visited a hospital and paid homage to their ancestors.

Their visits come at a fraught time for the royal family, with the monarch's eldest daughter in a coma since December.

"This was a fast week. There were many things we wanted to do and see in Thailand but there wasn't a lot of time," Vacharaeson told reporters on Monday before leaving from the country's main Suvarnabhumi airport.

"We received love and warmth from every one we met," he said.

Vacharaesorn and Chakriwat are the second and third of four sons of King Vajiralongkorn's second wife, Sujarinee Vivacharawongse, a former actress whom the then-crown prince divorced in 1996.

He, his mother, three brothers and one sister were estranged after the 1996 divorce, in which his mother was publicly accused of adultery, and they moved abroad.

Vacharaesorn's younger sister was later re-embraced by the royal family and given the royal title Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana.

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