A Thai princess who appeared to upend political norms in her country by declaring her candidacy for prime minister said on Saturday that she wants the country to "move forward" - a comment made after a late Friday statement from her brother, King Vajiralongkorn, that appeared to quash her political aspirations.
The royal order from Vajiralongkorn, read on national television late Friday night, caught by surprise newspapers that had already started their press runs with stories focusing on ramifications of Ubolratana's candidacy.
A former general, Mr Prayuth also announced on Friday that he would be running for prime minister in the forthcoming election as a candidate for the pro-military Palang Pracharat party.
Thai Raksa Chart was created previous year as part of a strategy to diversify the clan's political assets in case its main vehicle, the Puea Thai party, was dissolved by the junta that deposed the government Yingluck helmed from 2011 to 2014.
But the couple eventually divorced and she moved back to Thailand where she is still considered part of the royal family.
The selection of the elder sister of Thailand's king as a political party nominee for prime minister has upended a tradition of the palace playing no public role in politics.
Despite his grim record, Prayut had been widely expected to win next month's election, if only due to the lack of a credible challenger. "In the event Thaksin-aligned parties win the election, it makes it very hard for the military and royalists to contest, protest, or seek to overturn the result".
The princess accepted the nomination of the Thai Raksa Chart party - one of several parties linked to Thaksin and his sister Yingluck - meaning, the candidacy would at least have needed his endorsement.
He agreed to be a candidate for premier shortly after her, in a move putting him in direct rivalry with a member of the institution he seized power vowing to defend.
"The board agrees that the name of Princess Ubolratana, an educated and skilled person, is the most suitable choice", Thai Raksa Chart party leader Preechapol Pongpanich told reporters.
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Ubolratana relinquished her royal title in 1972, when she married American Peter Jensen; the two had met as students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Thai politics for more than a decade has been shaken by violent street protests, coups and comebacks, but those are familiar events in Thai history.
The conflict between the Bangkok-centered, royalist elites and Thaksin and his more rural-based supporters has resulted in street protests, military coups, and violent clashes over nearly 15 years.
Since ascending the throne in 2016, King Maha Vajiralongkorn has reorganised palace affairs.
Thai Raksa Chart responded swiftly, cancelling a campaign event Saturday and issuing a statement saying it "complies with the royal command". She said she "sincerely wished" to see the kingdom progress and for people to enjoy unfettered rights, opportunities and happiness.
1975: She receives a master's degree in public health at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In this March 24, 2010, photo, Thai Princess Ubolratana poses for a photo during her visit to promote Thailand's film industry at the Entertainment Expo Hong Kong Filmart.
For the princess, coming out on the side of the Shinawatras will further complicate Thailand's troubled politics, said Pavin Chachavalpongpun, associate professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the preferred candidate of the military, is considered to be indelibly loyal to the monarchy.
Ubolratana was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, while her father was attending college there.
She returned permanently to Thailand in 2001, performing royal duties but never regaining her full royal titles. "The provisions also cover the queen, heir-apparent and royal family members close to the king".