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The king's daughter with a popular touch

Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol looks set to play a big role in Thailand's royal family

Princess Bajrakitiyabha addresses a U.N. General Assembly high-level meeting on the rule of law at U.N. headquarters in New York on Sept. 24, 2012. (Courtesy of United Nations.)

BANGKOK Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol has a unique position in Thailand, both by birth and from her life experience. She is the oldest child of the country's new king, Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, and was the first grandchild of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.

Princess "Pa," as she is often known, combines a lively social life among high society friends with a more serious side that sees her mixing with soldiers, officials, academics and diplomats. A senior diplomat described the princess in 2009 as enjoying "an increasingly high profile and a reputation for being perhaps the sharpest of the royal family members."

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