The King of Thailand swapped his royal attire for cycling gear as he took his harem out for a bike ride near a luxury German hotel – where he has converted an entire floor into a ‘pleasure palace’.
For months, 67-year-old Maha Vajiralongkorn has kept himself out of the public eye in the luxury resort of the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl, in a ski town near the Austrian border.
He has been busying himself on the hotel’s fourth floor which has allegedly been converted into a a ‘pleasure palace’ for the monarch and his concubine, Bild reported , decked out with ‘treasures and antiques’ from Thailand.
The King’s ‘sex soldiers’ are said to be assembled as a military unit called the SAS, like Britain’s special forces – with the same motto, ‘who dares wins’, the paper said.
The new photograph shows the King making a rare appearance outside the hotel walls, escorted by some of his 20-strong harem as they cycled through the Bavarian Alpine hills near Unterammergau.
Vajiralongkorn, also known as Rama X, can be seen in a pair of leggings and a cycling jacket while wearing a helmet and sunglasses – a stark contrast to his usual royal attire.
A woman wearing a blue helmet pedals alongside him while two other cyclists trail behind.
They were flanked by several Mercedes buses and a limousine as they made their way to the Pürsching car park in Unterammergau, a bike ride that takes around two hours.
Upon arrival three caravans were already waiting for Vajiralongkorn, one which served as a changing room for the monarch, Bild said.
A kneeling servant adjusted the King’s cycling trousers and positioned the bike ready for ascent, Bild said.
Vajiralongkorn’s prolonged stay in Germany has caused outrage among locals and government officials.
Katharina Schulze, parliamentary group leader of the Greens, asked the Bavarian government to explain why the King has been allowed to stay in the country amid the coronavirus lockdown, especially given that his trip is unrelated to business matters.
Schulze’s office told Bild they had not received an answer to their question.
The Grand Hotel where the king is staying has seen most tourists stay away and the hotel’s website says it is ‘currently unavailable for bookings’ because of the coronavirus pandemic, without mentioning its long-term guests.
One hotel worker said that staff are forbidden from the fourth floor where the king and his entourage have set up camp.
Max Boeddeker, a Bild reporter who investigated the hotel, said the King’s diplomatic immunity meant there was little that Germany could do about it.
Thailand expert Andrew MacGregor Marshall told Bild: ‘The whole floor is full of Thai antiques and treasures from Bangkok.
‘The concubines make a big gamble – with the hope of winning big. Some are happy to join and are hoping for riches and success for themselves and their families.
‘Others give in to the king’s pressure to join over fear of the consequences if they refuse.’
The King’s stay in Germany means he missed Coronation Day in Thailand, marking a year since he was installed as the new monarch last year.
There is no word on how long he intends to stay, but he is known to have flown back to Thailand from Munich Airport at least once, and was seen inspecting protective gear in Bangkok earlier this month.
The King has been criticised before over his jet-set lifestyle and for spending lockdown in Germany instead of with his nation, and is facing increasing resistance within his kingdom.
News of his apparent self-isolation in Germany was met with anger by thousands of Thai people who condemned their leader online under the slogan ‘Why do we need a king?’
Insulting the monarchy is a crime, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.