Asia-Pacific

Thailand's Crown Prince divorces wife

Thailand's Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, right, chats with his royal consort Princess Srirasm as they watch a parade at the historic Merdeka square in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AAP)

Thailand's Princess Srirasmi has relinquished her royal status, a move that ends her 13-year marriage to Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Thailand's Crown Prince has divorced his wife in a dramatic fall from grace for a senior princess that comes at a time of heightened anxiety over the health of Thailand's revered but ailing monarch.

A statement published by the palace overnight in the Royal Gazette said Princess Srirasmi had relinquished her royal status, a move that ends her 13-year marriage to Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The announcement comes after a string of the princess' relatives were arrested in a high-profile corruption scandal that has sent shockwaves through Thailand's elite.

"The king has granted permission to announce that Princess Srirasmi, the wife of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, has informed in a written document that she has resigned from her royal status," the palace said in its short statement.

Analysts said the Crown Prince's split from his wife will deepen fears for the monarchy's future as Thailand's 87-year-old monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej enters the twilight of his reign.

In May, Thailand's military seized power after months of violent street protests saying it needed to do so to protect the monarchy and restore order to the politically divided nation.

The king - who is revered by many Thais as a semi-divine figure - has been largely confined to hospital this year and pulled out of plans to hold a public audience earlier this month during his birthday celebrations.

Srirasmi married the Crown Prince in 2001 and had been expected to become queen.

The couple have a son who was thought to be Prince Vajiralongkorn's most likely heir.

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