Thailand's much-loved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, has died aged 88. The path is now open for Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to take the throne as the country's first new king for 70 years – however years of scandal could disrupt his smooth ascension.

Vajiralongkorn was appointed heir to the throne in 1972, but has failed 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 playboy prince's "flamboyant behaviour".

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

Who is Maha Vajiralongkorn?

Unlike his venerated father, Vajiralongkorn, 64, is disliked by 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 air force. However, over recent years the prince's military involvement has become more ceremonial as his father's health deteriorated.

While the king had authorised the 2014 military junta to "maintain stability" in Thailand, Vajiralongkorn is believed to be less enthusiastic about military power, 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.

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 and palace intrigue over the years, not least after the death of three of his inner circle in police custody in 2015.

But the main scandal swirling the prince have been around his three failed marriages – particularly with this third wife, Srirasmi Suwadee, after leaked video footage showed her wearing nothing but a thong and eating off the floor at a birthday party for the prince's dog in 2005.

In 2014, Suwadee's family was stripped of their royal titles amid accusations of corruption .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.

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. She also has close ties to the military and the current leader of the 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."