2019 saw a new Empress in Japan, unexpectedly a new Queen in Thailand and in the same country also for a short while a royal concubine. Who are these three women?
Empress Masako of Japan
Born: Toranomon Hospital, Tokyo, Japan, on 9 December 1963 as the eldest daughter of Hisashi Owada and Yumiko Egashira.
Siblings: Setsuko and Reiko (twins, born 1966).
Education: kindergartens in Moscow, Russia, and New York, USA; elementery school, junior and senior high school, Roman Catholic girl’s school Denenchofu Futaba in Tokyo; Belmont High School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; international economics, Economics Department, Harvard University/Radcliffe College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; politics, Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo; International Relations, Balliol College, Oxford, UK.
Profession: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo, Japan; probationary diplomat, Japanese Embassy, London, UK.
Languages: Japanese, English, French, German.
Marriage: Tokyo, Japan, 9 June 1993, Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan. The engagement became known on 19 January 1993, the official engagement ceremony took place on 12 April 1993.
Children: miscarriage (1999), Princess Aiko (2001).
Residence: Akasaka Estate. Tokyo.
Her husband became Emperor of Japan in Tokyo, Japan, 1 May 2019. Masako became therefore Her Majesty, The Empress of Japan.
Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana of Thailand
Born: Suthida Tidjai was born on 3 June 1978 in Bangkok, Thailand. She is a Thai of Chinese origin from Hat Yai.
Education: Hatyaiwittayalai Somboonkulkanya Middle School; Bachelor’s degree in communication arts, Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Profession: Flight Attendant, JALways Airlines and Thai Airways; Commander, Commander of the Special Operations Unit (general)of the Household Guard of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn of Thailand; acting commander, Royal Thai Aide-de-Champ Department.
Marriage: Amphornsathan Throne Hall, Dusit Palace, Bangkok, Thailand, 1 May 2019 to King Vajiralongkorn of Thailand.
Known in the years before her marriage as Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya, she became Her Majesty, The Queen of Thailand upon her marriage.
Born: Niramon Unphrom was born on 26 January 1985 in Tha Wang Pha District, Nan Province, Thailand, as daughter of Wirat and Pranee. Her name was changed around 2014 to Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi.
Education: Rajapiyorasa Yupparachanusorn School, Tha Wang Pha District, Nan Province, Thailand; Tha Wang Pha Pittayakhom (Witthayakhom) School, Tha Wang Pha District, Nan Province, Thailand; nursing, Royal Thai Army Nursing College, Bangkok; military training; private pilot’s license, Germany & Thailand.
Profession: nurse, Phra Mongkutklao Hospital, Thailand; nurse, Ananda Mahidol Hospital, Thailand; handicraft store, Royal Household Bureau, Bangkok; Ratchawallop Corps, Special Operations Unit, Royal King’s Guards, Thailand.
On 28 July 2019 she was granted the title of Royal Noble Consort, the first time the title was used in almost a century, and became known as Sineenat Bilaskalayani. Already on 21 October 2019 she was stripped of her royal and military ranks and decorations. She was accused of abusing her royal status and attempting to prevent Queen Suthida from being crowned.
It is not quite clear what happened to her afterwards. Rumours are that she was imprisoned, and in January 2020 it was even rumoured she had died. Nothing was confirmed tough.