Thailand Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has been groomed to ascend the throne from day one since being designated as the next in line on Dec 28, 1972 at the age of 20.
The 64-year old prince, the only son of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and Queen Sirikit was born on July 28, 1952 at Ambara Villa, Dusit Palace, Bangkok.
He is the second of the royal couple’s four children.
The future King of Thailand received his early education in Chitlada School before his parents sent him to the United Kingdom and Australia to further his studies.
He also underwent military training at Australia’s prestigious Royal Military College in Duntroon.
He has been a military officer with the Royal Thai Army since 1975 and served as a staff officer with the Directorate of Army Intelligence before heading the king’s own bodyguard battalion in 1978.
The crown prince has also trained with foreign armies among them, United States, British and Australian in special forces as well as unconventional tactics.
He has been described by the media as unique among the modern princes, as he had taken an active part in military operations.
The media reported that the prince had led counter-insurgency operations against Thailand’s communist insurgents in the north and northeast of the country, besides operations along the Cambodian border during the Khmer Rouge regime.
He is also a qualified fighter and commercial jet pilot and has been cited as a Royal Thai Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot.
Besides his military career, the crown prince was also involved in social causes and had initiated the establishment of the Crown Prince Hospital for Thailand’s citizens living in remote areas.
The crown prince also has an interest in agricultural development and taken the ‘Mobile Agricultural Clinic’ under his patronage.
He represented his father on many occasions in various other social causes.
Late last night, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-chan told the media that the crown prince had requested to be given appopriate time to mourn the passing of his father, King Bhumibol before his succession.
Prayut confirmed that the Crown Prince would succeed his late father as King.