The contributors direct an unillusioned gaze at the mystique of the Thai monarchy. The country’s pliant news media have fostered an image of the king as a loving national father and a Buddhist quasi deity while building a cult of personality around members of the royal family. A network of conservative elites enforces a “magic circle of silence” around the court with a lese-majesty law that punishes offenders with prison sentences of up to 15 years. While popular religion venerates the king’s image as a source of prosperity, the monarch’s policy of village self-sufficiency and his sponsored development programs have only served to legitimate growing economic inequality. The monarchy positions itself as a defender of democracy, but the king allowed himself to be used as an alternative source of legitimacy by those who opposed a freely elected leader during the 2006 coup. Instead of helping consolidate national unity, the contributors argue, the royal cult increasingly polarizes Thai politics.