King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand has been living a life that many of us cannot even imagine living. The king, who acceded to the throne more than two years after the death of his father King Bhumibol in 2016, is famous for his lavish lifestyle and outlandish taste.

He is seen as an absentee monarch who spends most of his time in Europe. He lives predominantly in Bavaria, Germany, and is fond of all the finer things in life.

He is also one of the world's wealthiest rulers. He has a staggering £24 billion fortune and is a qualified pilot as well. He also owns the largest faceted diamond in the world, a 546.67-carat brown diamond. The Golden Jubilee Diamond remains at the Royal Thai Palace under heavy security.

His coronation took place in May 2019 in a huge ceremony that saw 1,300 people in attendance. According to a report in DW, the Thai king also owns a €10 million house in the lakeside town of Tutzing in Bavaria.

He also owns an impressive fleet of aircraft and keeps adding more to his collection.

King Vajiralongkorn has also been at the centre of controversy since he took over the throne. His absence from the country has been a subject of dissatisfaction amongst his countrymen. He has often been photographed scantily clad at airports in Europe and elsewhere.

In 2015, the then-prince was photographed at Munich airport wearing faded jeans and a tight white crop top. A video, captured by a Thai citizen in 2016, showed the monarch walking through a shopping mall in Munich with a woman believed to be one of his mistresses, Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, also known as Koi.

Facebook users in Thailand were blocked from viewing the video of their new King, since the monarchy is revered in the country. In Thai culture, the monarch is portrayed as above reproach, and any criticism of the ruler is considered taboo as well as illegal. Any criticism of Thailand's monarchy can land you in jail for decades.

Thailand has had about a dozen coups in the last century, with protestors demanding that the military and monarchy become more accountable to the country's 70 million citizens.

However, the royal family continues to hold power even after the absolute monarchy was transformed into a constitutional monarchy in 1932. In 2021, a court in Thailand sentenced a former civil servant to a record prison term of 43 years and six months for breaching the country's strict law against insulting or defaming the monarchy.

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida
Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida greet supporters as they leave the palace Photo: AFP / Jack TAYLOR