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Thai royal ‘heir’ could be banned from ascending over marriage to American

By Jimmy Turner
|
March 3, 2024

Thailand's estranged heir to the throne, Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse, who has married an American citizen, Elisa Garafano, risks embroiling in a potential succession crisis.

The marriage, blessed with two children, introduces a complex dilemma due to Thailand's stringent regulations prohibiting royals who marry foreigners from ascending to the throne.

This rule has jeopardized Vivacharawongse's eligibility for kingship, sparking debates and speculation about the nation's future leadership, as Daily Mail reported.

Family Dynamics and Divorce Speculations

The relationship between Vivacharawongse and Garafano has been intensely scrutinized, particularly given the implications for the Thai monarchy.

Reports suggest that Vivacharawongse, in a bid to secure his path to the throne, intends to dissolve his marriage to Garafano, a civil servant based in White Plains.

Despite Garafano initiating divorce proceedings, which are presently under seal, there are claims that she has halted the divorce process, voicing a desire for recognition alongside their children.

Insiders have revealed that although the couple remains married and cohabitates, Vivacharawongse prefers to keep this aspect of his life under wraps to safeguard his royal ambitions.

Succession and Legal Challenges

The intricacies of Vivacharawongse's personal life have unfolded against a backdrop of succession uncertainties within the Thai royal family.

Following his exile, Princess Bajrakitiyabha emerged as the heir apparent, only to later suffer a severe health setback, leaving her in a critical condition.

Amidst these developments, Vivacharawongse's return to Thailand and his discreet efforts to position himself as a viable successor has reignited discussions about the monarchy's future.

Moreover, Vivacharawongse faces additional hurdles beyond the realm of royal protocols.

Financial disputes, including a significant sum in unpaid credit charges and a lawsuit involving a Canadian law firm, compound his challenges.

Yet, the prospect of inheriting an immense fortune upon ascending the throne remains a powerful motivator.

Royal Traditions and Precedents

The saga of Vivacharawongse and Garafano is not an isolated incident in the history of the Thai monarchy.

The kingdom has previously witnessed the stripping of royal titles following marriages to foreigners, highlighting the enduring influence of traditional customs on the royal family's dynamics.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn's own marriage to Queen Suthida just before his coronation underscores the monarchy's complex interplay of personal choices and public expectations.