The Crown Prince of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn has asked the government to delay his appointment as the next king.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who earlier had an audience with the crown prince, told reporters: "He asked for time to prepare for legal processes in order to proclaim him on the throne at the appropriate time."

He said the prince had asked for "time to prepare and expressed regret together with the Thai people" for the loss of his father.

"When the appropriate time comes, the crown prince said he is already aware of his duty as the heir or crown prince. I hope everyone will understand and not cause chaos," Prayut said.

The 64-year old playboy prince has been King Bhumibol Adulyadej's named successor since 1972. The King died earlier on 13 October.

In a nationally televised statement soon after Bhumibol's death was announced, Prayut confirmed that the crown prince was the King's named successor, putting to rest any speculation that the prince, who is not well liked among the Thais, may not take over as King.

AFP said that announcement by Prayut suggests that there will be a delay between Vajiralongkorn being officially made the next king,

Previous succession

It was noted that Bhumibol was proclaimed King the same day his brother died in 1946.

Maha Vajiralongkorn
Thailand's Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn watches the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony in central Bangkok in May, 2015 Chaiwat Subprasom/ Reuters

AFP said Thailand's parliament held a late night special session and many had expected the crown prince to be officially proclaimed the new king by the lawmakers. The special sitting however, ended with a short statement being read out announcing Bhumibol's death.

Vajiralongkorn is the only son of Bhumibol. He has three failed marriages behind him. Both his second and third marriages did raise some eyebrows in Thailand. A leaked video footage shows his third wife Srirasmi Suwadee wearing a thong and posing as if she was eating off the floor at a birthday party for the prince's dog.

In 2014, Suwadee's family was stripped of their royal titles amid accusations of corruption against them. The prince then divorced her and she was exiled to an unknown location.

His second marriage did not end well either. He accused his second wife of adultery and stripped their children of their royal titles.

Any other possible successor to the throne?

Princess Sirindhorn, the Crown Prince's younger sister is more popular with the Thai people. She is commonly known as "Princess Angel" and has close ties to the military and the current leader of the military junta.

In 1974, the Thai constitution was amended to allow for a female to succeed the throne. However, it is unlikely that this will happen, as the king had already declared Vajiralongkorn as the rightful heir.

"Any attempt by the junta to amend the succession process could lead to instability," said Ryan Aherin, Senior Asia Analyst at global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. "The king has already named Prince Vijralongkorn as his heir – meaning that any attempt to replace him with his sister could be interpreted as a violation of the king's will."