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On 15 December 2022, the Bureau of the Royal Household published a statement, declaring that Princess Bajrakitiyabha, King Vajiralongkorn's oldest child, had a heart-related condition requiring medical treatment.

The Bureau of the Royal Household statement on the Princess's illness.

The statement says that the Princess travelled to the Military Dog Battalion in Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province on 14 December to practise dogs for the 2022 Thailand Working Dog Championship of the Royal Thai Army. 

During the practice, Princess Bajrakitiyabha collapsed from a heart-related condition. She was admitted to Pak Chong Nana Hospital for treatment and after the sickness subsided, was transferred via helicopter to Chulalongkorn Hospital in Bangkok, where she received a thorough medical examination and treatment.

The statement was made after a long night and day of rumour about her health. The hashtag #โคราช (#Korat) trended on Twitter since late on the night of 14 December after journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall tweeted that palace sources said the Princess had a heart attack while running with her dogs. 

Some netizens were seen using the hashtag to express concerns about her health and the effect on plans for the New Year after the country's reopening if the news of sickness becomes more serious.

Several accounts also shared photos and videos claiming to show a royal motorcade arriving at Chulalongkorn Hospital and police officers gathering there.

Prior to the Palace statement, Danai Ekmahasawat, an anchor on the MCOT’s Inside Thailand morning news show, said that there would be a “news of earthquake proportions” released either today or tomorrow and that since last night all the military’s top brass had gone urgently to Khao Yai .

Access to the programme on YouTube was restricted later the same day. A Twitter user managed to record Danai’s short statement, however. It was followed by an edited recording without Danai's statement.

On 15 December, MC Chulcherm Yugala, a renowned royalist and distant royal family member who was appointed as King’s special royal guard, posted on his Facebook his wishes for the Princess’s good health. The post was made inaccessible on the same day before the official announcement was published.

Princess Bajrakitiyabha is the oldest of King Vajiralongkorn's 7 children and the only child of his first marriage to Princess Soamsawali. She previously worked in the Thai Permanent Mission to the UN and the Office of the Attorney General in Bangkok. In February 2021, she was transferred to the Royal Security Command, the military unit responsible for the security of the King and his family, and given the rank of General.

Note: A language-edited version has been put in place at 12.30 on 16 December 2022.

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