Is the King of Thailand’s disowned son trying to be brought back in the royal fold?

Photo: Public Relations Department Thailand

One of the King of Thailand’s disowned sons has been making news by returning to his home country, undertaking what some have considered royal duties and now using the title of prince.

Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse, 42, returned to Thailand for the first time in 27 years last year and undertook what some considered semi-royal duties. They included visiting the Foundation for Slum Child Care to meet with underprivileged children and also paying respects to the Buddha Jinnasi Statue at Bowornniwet Temple.

He travelled to Thailand again in 2024 and obtained his first Thai ID card. He arrived in Thailand carrying a Thai passport after previously visiting the country on his American passport.

According to the Bangkok Post, he said about his return: “I am very happy that I now have an ID card and have officially become a Thai citizen. I felt like something was missing during the last 20 years.”

He added about his trip: “I want to see changes — and travel around and see the country that remains in my memory.”

He plans to move to Thailand and become a permanent resident, further fueling speculation that he may be brought back into the Royal Family. Vacharaesorn, an attorney in the US, has said he hopes to work in the legal field once relocating to Thailand.

He has also begun using a princely title on his Bangkok-based business VVV Group website. Rarely do these things happen without the approval of the Royal Household Bureau, leading to further speculation.

Vacharaesorn is the second son of King Rama X by his second wife, Sujarinee Vivacharawongse. The King, then Crown Prince, exiled Vacharaesorn and his three brothers to the United States in 1996 after divorcing their mother. They also lost their royal status. The only exemption was their only sister, Princess Sirivannavari, who was brought back to Thailand on the King’s orders. She grew up with all the royal privileges with her older half-sister and younger half-brother.

Thailand is in a succession crisis as Princess Bajrakitiyabha, who was long considered to be the heir, was hospitalised in December 2022 in a coma. She has been on life support since her hospitalisation and the Royal Household Bureau, which tightly controls all information on the Thai Royal Family, has not issued an update on her since December 2023.

While Princess Bajrakitiyabha had been prepared for her future role since childhood, the King’s youngest child, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, was primarily raised in Germany and out of the limelight. He has long been rumoured to have a developmental disorder that would hinder his ability to reign as King of Thailand.

It has been suggested that Vacharaesorn may be brought back into the royal fold to succeed his father. However, his life in America could prevent that from happening. He has been married to an American woman and has two children. Thai succession laws bar anyone married to a foreigner from ascending the throne.

Vacharaesorn and his wife have reportedly begun the divorce process to eliminate that barrier to his potential succession. His two daughters have American citizenship and it is not thought they hold dual American-Thai citizenship.

Until the Thai Royal Family and Royal Household Bureau finally decide on the heir issue, there is not likely to be any confirmation of Vacharaesorn’s role, but it appears things are being put into place to allow him to become Crown Prince of Thailand.

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About the Author

Brittani Barger
Brittani is from the United States and has been researching, writing and reporting on the royals for over a decade. Successfully gaining exclusives and interviews with royals across the globe, Brittani left her role as an editor for another news site to help bring you Royal News. She's been seen on BBC World, WION News and other news programs to discuss the royal families.

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