Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, has died at 88. Bhumibol had been suffering from a blood infection and lung inflammation, following years of bad health. He hadn't been seen in public for nearly one year.

The path is now open for Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to take the throne as the country's first new king for 70 years.

Vajiralongkorn was appointed heir to the throne in 1972 but he has not managed to gain the same popularity as his father. On 13 October, analysts predicted possible "political chaos" in the aftermath of the King's death due to the prince's "flamboyant behaviour".

IBTimes UK takes a look at the future king of Thailand.

Who is Maha Vajiralongkorn?

Unlike his father, Vajiralongkorn, 64, is disliked among many in Thailand. However, as the only son of Bhumibol, he was made heir to the throne.

Vajiralongkorn has served as an army officer and fighter pilot. He graduated from the Royal Military College in Canberra, Australia, and holds posts in the Thai army, navy and the air force. However, over recent years the prince's military involvement has become more ceremonial as his father's health deteriorated.

Analysts have predicted the possibility of political chaos following the king's death. While the king had authorised the 2014 military junta to "maintain stability" in Thailand, Vajiralongkorn is not believed to feel the same way about the military, raising questions about what could happen once he is king. The prince is also believed to have close ties with the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by the military junta in 2006.

"It is uncertain whether the crown prince will give his official blessing to the junta once he becomes king," Ryan Aherin, Senior Asia Analyst at global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. "With elections not due until 2017, if the prince were to revoke the royal sanction of the junta, it would trigger political turmoil."

thailand king
Well-wishers wearing pink hold up portraits of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej outside Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters

What are some of the controversies surrounding him?

The law in Thailand does not allow criticism of the royal family. However, Vajiralongkorn has been the centre of much discussion over the years, not least after the death of three of his inner circle in police custody in 2015.

But the main controversies dominating the prince have been around his three failed marriages – particularly with this third wife, Srirasmi Suwadee, after leaked video footage showed her 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. He accused his second wife of adultery and stripped their children of their titles.

Thailand's Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn watches the annual royal ploughing ceremony in Bangkok
Thailand's Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn watches the annual royal ploughing ceremony in Bangkok May 11, 2009. The ancient ploughing ceremony in Buddhist Thailand marks the end of the dry season and is meant to herald an auspicious start for the rice-planting season in a region where many still depend on agriculture. Reuters

Who else could take the throne?

Many Thais had hoped that Princess Sirindhorn, the Crown Prince's younger sister, would be made queen instead. She is commonly known as "Princess Angel" among the general public, indicating her popularity over her brother. She also 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 Aherin. "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."