Thailand's King has made his mistress a royal consort in a ceremony attended by his new wife, marking the first time the country's modern monarchy has publicly admitted to polygamy.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn made his former bodyguard, 34-year-old Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, his chao khun phra (royal noble consort) in a ceremony on his 67th birthday.
Queen Suthida was sitting next to him throughout the unusual ceremony and showed no emotion despite the fact she now has an official rival for the King's attention.
He poured ceremonial water over Ms Sineenat's head to officially anoint her a concubine during a televised service on Sunday.
During the service she lay on the floor to remain lower than the King's feet, in accordance Thai royal tradition.
He poured ceremonial water over Ms Sineenat's head (pictured) to officially anoint her a concubine during a televised service on Sunday
The move marks the first time a Thai king has publicly had more than one partner since an absolute monarch ruled the country in 1932, with the King's recently made wife (right) sitting through the ceremony
The move marks the first time a Thai king has publicly had more than one partner since an absolute monarch ruled the country in 1932.
Major General Sineenat was also given four medals, such as 'most noble order of the crown of Thailand' and 'most exalted order of the white elephant, special class', as well as being lauded for her time as a senior officer in the King's bodyguard team the Ratchawallop Police Retainers.
Ms Sineenat, who is known as Koi but used to be called Niramon Ounprom, was formerly a nurse at the Ananda Mahidol army hospital.
Ms Sineenat (pictured in 2017), who is known as Koi but used to be called Niramon Ounprom, was formerly a nurse at the Ananda Mahidol army hospital
The announcement of her as royal consort has faced no public criticism in Thailand as under lèse-majesté laws those who offend the crown can get up to 15 years in prison.
Yet in private it is understood many Thais see the King as eccentric and possibly immoral.
The news comes less than three months after the King married another former consort, Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya, who had been a Thai Airways flight attendant.
The marriage took place ahead of a coronation, which was the first since Vajiralongkorn's late father's nearly 70 years ago
Photos from their wedding at the start of May showed Ms Suthida lying on the floor as she was given a gift by the King.
She 'legally married' the King in accordance with royal traditions, an announcement in the Royal Gazette said on May 1, with a statement from the royal family explaining the King had decided to promote General Suthida to become Queen Suthida.
The statement added at the time that 'she will hold royal title and status as part of the royal family'.
Long seen trailing the King in public events as part of his personal security retinue, Suthida (pictured in April) was given the rank of 'general' in 2017
It was also explained that the monarch had 'performed a royal wedding ceremony with General Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Aydhaya in accordance to law and royal traditions in a full and righteous manner', which explains why the bride had to lay at her husband's feet.
Thai royal traditions dictate that the ruling King is to be regarded as god-like and semi-divine, and as a result, he must sit higher than everyone else.
This is to the point that during official ceremonies and speeches his feet should be elevated above everyone else's heads.
According to royal tradition in Thailand, the ruling monarch is seen as god-like and semi-divine, and is revered as such among his subjects.
As a result, the King must always be seated higher than everyone else, and during official ceremonies, events, and speeches, the monarch's feet are supposed to be above the heads of those around him.
Tradition also dictates that guests at the Thai Royal Palace are required to approach the King and Queen crawling on their hands and knees; this custom was even observed while King Maha Vajiralongkorn's father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, sat on the throne, despite the fact that he was known to his people as a kind and humble ruler.
It is therefore viewed as a sign of great respect for the bride to lie at the feet of the King, before being invited to sit by his side during the marriage ceremony, when she was given the official title of Queen Suthida.
Moving forward, it will likely be expected that other members of the royal court, as well as visiting guests, will approach the royal couple in a similar manner, as one aide was seen doing during the wedding ceremony, lying before the King and his Queen while the bride signed the marriage license.
Thailand's lese majeste laws also make it illegal to defame, threaten, or even insult 'the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent'. Article 112 of the country's criminal code dictates that anyone found guilty of this crime can be punished with between three and 15 years of jail time.
Vajiralongkorn, who has been married three times, spends much of his time with his wife and mistress at the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in the German resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Yet Queen Suthida reportedly spends most of her time at Hotel Waldegg in Engelberg, Switzerland, without her husband.
The King was educated at Millfield boarding school in Somerset and was described by his roommate the journalist Rupert Christiansen as a 'vile bully', according to the Times.
Harsh lese-majeste laws have shielded public scrutiny of his colourful private life, and all media in Thailand must self-censor.
But he is well known for his eccentricity.
In 2016, he was spotted wearing a tight, white crop top,