Thailand crowns king for first time in 69 years

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida paying their respects before the statue of King Rama V at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok yesterday. The monarch's coronation which takes place from tomorrow to Monday will be the first the coun

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has launched the second day of coronation activities with a ceremony to grant new titles to members of the royal family.

The ceremony, held at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, was mostly water-based and began with the ritual of ablution, known as Song Muratha Bhisek or royal purification, where the king was blessed with holy water taken from five rivers and four ponds in Thailand.

At each temple, the King paid respects to the principal Buddha statues and the cremated remains of previous kings and queens, while at the same time giving the public a chance to greet him.

Spectators all wearing yellow, the colour associated with the king, gathered from early morning along the 7 km (4 mile) route from the Grand Palace to three royal temples.

King Vajiralongkorn ascended to the Thai throne in October 2016, becoming King Rama X. His three-day coronation ceremony started in Bangkok on Saturday.

The king later issued a public command calling her candidacy for an opposition party "inappropriate" and the Election Commission disqualified her candidacy.

While Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932, the king wields enormous power and influence in Thailand and is seen as the spiritual protector of the people. The parade was accompanied by cavalry soldiers, a marching military band and royal guards in a variety of ancient Thai and contemporary Western-style uniforms.

Thailand has crowned its new King Maha Vajiralongkorn, marking the first ascension of a new monarch in seven decades.

But coronation contained a few surprises, such as the investiture of Queen Suthida, whose unexpected marriage to Vajiralongkorn was announced only days before.

But a comparison with his late father shows stark differences between the two rulers - with Maha Vajiralongkorn, as he was known before his official ascension, well known for his playboy lifestyle, string of ex-wives and penchant for bestowing military titles on his pets.

"I shall continue to preserve, and build upon the royal legacy and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever", the King said.

The coronation, which takes place from Saturday to Monday, will be the first the country has seen in 69 years, since his father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was crowned in 1950.

The king's procession involved more than 1,300 personnel. They acquiesced. The powers he acquired centralize royal authority in his hands and make explicit his right to intervene in government affairs, especially in times of political crisis.

The elaborate ceremonies estimated to cost up to $31 million are a blend of Buddhist and Hindu rites, in accordance with Thailand's Buddhist traditions and a belief that Thai kings are reincarnations of Vishnu, a Hindu god. King Vajiralongkorn put the crown on his head himself with the help of court officials, and adjusted it several times during the ceremony.

Born on June 3, 1978, she graduated with a Communication Arts degree in 2000 from the Catholic-run Assumption University of Thailand.

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