January 9, 2023
BANGKOK – Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendira Debyavati, the eldest child of Thailand’s King, remains unconscious in hospital due to a bacterial infection, said the royal palace on Sunday.
The 44-year-old princess has been unconscious for more than three weeks, after she collapsed due to a heart issue on Dec 14.
In its third statement on the princess’ condition since she was hospitalised, the palace said doctors have determined that she has severe heart arrhythmia – irregular heartbeat – which was caused by an inflammation after she suffered a mycoplasma infection.
Doctors continue to treat her with medication, including antibiotics. And medical equipment is still being used to support the functioning of her heart, lungs and kidneys, said the statement from the Bureau of the Royal Household.
Princess Bajrakitiyabha, the oldest of King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s seven children, is a senior member of the royal family. She is widely viewed as a plausible heir to the throne, although the palace has not publicly addressed the issue of an heir apparent.
She fell unconscious during a military dog training session in the Pak Chong district of north-eastern Nakhon Ratchasima province on Dec 14. She received initial treatment at a local hospital before being airlifted to Bangkok’s King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.
Her hospitalisation has evoked nationwide concern, with government officials, religious organisations and thousands of citizens taking part in prayer and well-wishing activities in the hope of her recovery.
Several festive celebrations over the New Year were also cancelled or toned down in the light of her condition.
The symbolic power and status of the monarchy have long been crucial elements in Thailand’s political system, with the royal institution deeply revered and upheld as a guiding force in the country. There are also strict lese-majeste laws that forbid the insult of the monarchy.
Princess Bajrakitiyabha, who is also known as Princess “Pa”, has a background in law and international relations. She is also an established diplomat who has taken up international postings to the United Nations and served as Thailand’s ambassador to Austria.
She is a general and chief of staff in the Royal Security Command of Thailand.