King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn is currently self-isolating from the Chinese coronavirus in a luxury hotel in Germany with an entourage of 20 concubines and female servants, local reports claimed this week.
While the majority of hotels in Germany are closed as a result of the nationwide quarantine, the 67-year-old is believed to have booked out the entire Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in the Alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen after local officials gave him “special permission” to do so, according to the German tabloid Bild.
Rather than isolate alone or with close family members, Vajiralongkorn moved in a team of 20 concubines and female servants. His planned entourage of over one hundred people was reportedly scaled down after 119 members were sent back to Thailand amid suspicions they had contracted the virus.
It is unclear if any of the king’s four wives are in the hotel with him. Although the hotel would not provide specific details of the party, a local official told Bild that authorities had approved his stay because “the guests are a single, homogenous group of people with no fluctuation.”
News of Vajiralongkorn’s exploits was poorly received back in his kingdom, with people violating the country’s lèse-majesté laws by criticizing him on social media. Under Thai law, those found guilty of criticizing the monarchy face up to 15 years imprisonment.
However, this threat was not enough to prevent Thais from attacking his exuberant lifestyle. The hashtag #WhyDoWeNeedAKing was shared 1.2 million times across Twitter in 24 hours after the prominent pro-republican activist Somsak Jeamteerasakul claimed that the king flew out of Thailand out of “boredom” as the outbreak was escalating earlier this month. He has also not made a public appearance since February.
“[Vajiralongkorn will] let the Thai people worry about the virus,” wrote Jeamteerasakul, who lives in exile in France. “Even Germany is worried about the virus [but] it’s none of his business.”
Vajiralongkorn’s reign as king began in 2016 following the death of his father, Bhumibol. Although it is impossible to survey his approval among the population, he is believed to be less popular than his father, who ruled the country for more than 70 years. His extravagant lifestyle is funded by his enormous wealth, estimated at around $30 billion, making him one of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as the richest leader.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Thailand has recorded 1,771 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 12 deaths. Germany, where the king has currently resided, has a far greater number of 76,544 confirmed cases and 858 deaths.