Meet Thailand's controversial new king, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn

Concerns have been raised over his future reign

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn looks set to inherit the throne in Thailand following the death of his father Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The 88-year-old king was widely revered but had been in poor health in recent years, making few public appearances. He died after 70 years as head of state.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn inherits the throne of one of the world’s richest monarchies, during a time when the country is split by political schisms. 

However, concerns have been expressed by Thai elites in leaked U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikilLeaks over his future reign because of his reputation globally.

The 64-year-old divorced his former consort and third wife Princess Srirasmi in 2014, after several of her relatives were arrested for abusing their royal-family status for money. Following this, he allowed her parents to be imprisoned for 2 and a half years for "royal defamation".

His two previous marriages were no smoother - allegedly fathering five children with a mistress, before marrying the mistress. He and the mistress then divorced, forcing her to flee the country.

His friendship with ousted former Prime Minister and telecommunications billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra is also a concern. There is speculation that two coups that removed the now exiled tycoon were over fears that the Crown Prince would find a base among Thaksin's populist supporters.

Images published by a German tabloid surfaced in July, showing the crown prince wearing a crop top and temporary tattoos. The junta attempted to stop the photographs spreading, including detaining the Thai wife of Scottish journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall who had published them on social media.

Vajiralongkorn is also a massive dog lover, naming his poodle Foo Foo as an air marshall and holding a four day funeral for the animal following his death last year.

Much of the Crown prince's exploits have been kept out of local news, with Thailand enforcing strict laws banning stories about the royal family.