Déjà vu all over again

My review of King Bhumibol Adulyadej: A Life’s Work, the recently published biography of Thailand’s king, has not been unreservedly positive.

However, the book does contain some interesting passages. Here is its account of royal intrigue in the kingdom of Ayutthaya, several hundred years ago. See if you can spot the difference from contemporary Thai politics. Because I can’t.

Internally, competition for the throne, which had accrued enormous wealth, was intense. Succession laws were unclear. Intrigue was rife. When a king died, bloodline was a significant determinant of the heir but so too was clout. Hoping to advance their own status and and gain the spoils of increased manpower for themselves, factions of nobles surrounding the court lobbied in the name of rival heirs. Foreign traders and monks patronised by high princes also exerted influence over the selection. The losers in the succession dramas often lost their lives, and their entire families and allies were violently purged.



One Comment

  1. Bernie Newson (AKA Roger on Mandala) says:

    Congratulations on shaking the building to its foundations. It deserves to be shook.
    I’m sure you’re aware that other people are now doing the same, including academics from America (Bangkok Post). The Thai monarchy will self destruct unless they stop interfering in politics. However, the “pecking order” is so well entrenched through propaganda over the years that unless a complete shake-up of the Crown Property Bureau and all its little fiefdoms is achieved, the monarchy will self destruct on the death of Rama 9 or soon after.
    Please keep up the excellent honest reporting of facts.

    The email address is not mine.