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Thai princess gives up royal title

The woman who was in line to become Thailand's next queen has relinquished her royal title following revelations last month that several members of her family were detained in a high-profile corruption scandal.

A brief statement from the palace's Royal Gazette that was made public late yesterday said Princess Srirasm, the wife of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, had asked permission to give up her royal status.

The statement gave no reason for the move, but said 87-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej had approved the request.

Srirasm has been married to Vajiralongkorn since 2001. The couple have a nine-year-old son who could potentially have become king himself one day since Vajiralongkorn is the current heir to the throne.

Last month, Vajiralongkorn asked the government to strip several members of Srirasm's family of their royally-issued surname after they had been detained along with several police officers in a corruption investigation.

They are facing charges ranging from bribery to extortion and using the monarchy's name for personal benefit.

The probe has drawn national attention in Thailand, but many questions remain unanswered primarily because of strict lese majeste laws that carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for defaming the monarchy.

The news comes at a sensitive time for the monarchy, with King Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch, in poor health.

Thailand celebrated Bhumibol's birthday on December 5, but the monarch failed to make an expected public appearance.

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