Thailand on Monday (June 3) celebrated Queen Suthida’s birthday for the first time since she married King Maha Vajiralongkorn and became the country’s new queen last month.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha led government officials in giving alms to hundreds of Buddhist monks near the Grand Palace in Bangkok early on Monday, as part of the Thai tradition of alms-giving and making merit – the act of doing good deeds such as freeing captive animals, on one’s birthday.
Local authorities also organised similar activities across Thailand.
The government has urged people to wear purple, the colour of the queen’s birthday, while providing free counsels and services to people on government matters for three days.
Queen Suthida, who turned 41 on Monday, met the 66-year-old king, who was then the crown prince, when she was a Thai Airways flight attendant. She was later made an army general and the commander of the king’s guards.
She was long rumoured to be romantically linked to King Vajiralongkorn but the palace never confirmed their relationship until the announcement of their marriage last month.
The royal couple has no children, but the king has seven children from his three previous marriages.
Her birthday has been declared a public holiday, while the birthday of the king’s mother, 86-year-old Queen Mother Sirikit on Aug 12, remains a public holiday and Thailand’s Mother’s