Thailand’s Princess Ubolratana has apologised for causing “problems” for the Thai people after her attempt to run for office in next month’s election was abruptly blocked by her brother, the king.
The princess’ unprecedented prime ministerial nomination on Friday by a party allied with populist ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra rattled the Southeast Asian nation and was swiftly torpedoed by King Maha Vajiralongkorn who said it was “highly inappropriate” for royalty to enter politics.
“I am sorry my genuine intention to work for the country and Thai people has caused such problems that shouldn’t have happened in this era,” she said in an Instagram post on Tuesday.
However, she qualified her first comments on the controversy by adding the hashtag #howcomeitsthewayitis.
The princess gave up her royal titles when she married an American decades ago, but they divorced and she moved back to Thailand.
The March 24 election is set to be a showdown between supporters of the exiled former prime minister and royalist incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, 64, who has led the ruling military junta for the past five years. He is now running for the Phalang Pracharat party, a group aligned with the regime.
In a country where the royal family is revered and strictly enforced lese-majeste laws make it a criminal offence to insult the monarchy, Princess Ubolratana’s bid for the premiership could have caused a political headache for the military-backed regime’s attempts to retain power.