Military education

In 1956, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn entered kindergarten at age four at Chitralada School in Dusit Palace. The school was established in 1955 by his father to provide education for the prince and princesses as well as children of officials at the palace.

After graduating Mathayom 1 (Grade 7) from the school, the Crown Prince pursued further study in the United Kingdom. From January to September, 1966, he received an elementary education at King's Mead School in Seaford, Sussex, and later completed secondary education at Millfield School in Somerset in July, 1970.

The Crown Prince expressed his fondness for military affairs so His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej let him attend a five-week military course at the King's School in Sydney, Australia in August, 1970.

In 1972, he entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra, Australia. The college's curriculum was divided into two parts: a military training course, designed by the Australian Army, and a bachelor's degree under supervision of the University of New South Wales.

He graduated from the college in 1976 with the rank of lieutenant and his degree in liberal arts. The Crown Prince's military background was later enhanced with training programmes in unconventional warfare and advanced navigation training in the United States, UK and Australia. He is also a qualified military pilot and a helicopter pilot.

Since returning to his homeland, he has served as a career officer in the Royal Thai Army (RTA) and attended the Command and General Staff College in 1977. He also served as a staff officer in the Directorate of Army Intelligence, and later became head of the King's Bodyguard Battalion in 1978. The Crown Prince also pursued another bachelor's degree in law and graduated with second-class honours from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University in 1982.

He later enrolled in a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) course at the Civil Aviation Training Centre and received his commercial pilot licence. In 2004, he passed an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) course at Thai Airways International Plc (THAI). In 2005, the Crown Prince earned his wings as a pilot for the Boeing 737-400. According to a Public Relations Department report, the Crown Prince received the pilot certificate from the Department of Civil Aviation.

The report reads: "His Royal Highness is now a 'borrowed' pilot from Royal Thai Airways International, in accordance with the agreement between the Royal Thai Air Force and Thai Airways International on Aug 9, 2004."

In May 2009, he celebrated 3,000 hours of commercial flight time on the Boeing 737-400. Currently, he holds the ranks of general in the RTA, admiral in the Royal Thai Navy and air chief marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force.

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