Thais brave heat for royal procession of new king



A sea of yellow-clad well-wishers endured the scorching weather and lined Bangkok’s Ratchadamnoen Avenue to watch the royal procession of Thailand’s newly-crowned King Maha Vajiralongkorn today.

The 37-degree Celsius temperature in Bangkok failed to dampen the mood of the Thais, many of whom had gathered since morning for a glimpse of King Vajiralongkorn.

Multi-coloured umbrellas added to the festive atmosphere along the 7km route from the Grand Palace to three temples where the king went to pay homage to the main Buddha.

Wearing yellow, an auspicious colour associated with the king, the crowd carried portraits of King Vajiralongkorn, the national flag and the monarch flag as they knelt down in traditional Thai way.

They chanted “Song Phra Cha-roen” (Long Live the King) as King Vajiralongkorn rode by in the royal palanquin.

It is the first time King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida have appeared in public since his coronation in the Grand Palace complex yesterday.

Supit Boonmart, 51, travelled seven hours from his hometown Phetchabun in north-central Thailand by bus to Bangkok to witness the historic coronation parade.

“I arrived early to make sure I could get a good spot along the procession route.

“I am delighted as this will be the first time King Vajiralongkorn has appeared in public after the coronation ceremony... it is a lifetime memory. I can share this story with my children and grandchildren in the village,” she told Bernama.

The parade started at 4.50 pm (local time) and wound its way to three royal temples – Wat Bovoranives, Wat Rajabopidh and Wat Phra Chetuphon.

The king entered the temples to pay homage to the main Buddha images.

More than 1,300 personnel took part in the 7km procession.

Queen Suthida and Princess Bajrakitiyabha flanked the palanquin. Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and several other cabinet members also joined the procession.

The royal procession and visit to the Buddhist temples were part of the elaborate three-day coronation ceremonies that will complete his kingship.

Yesterday, King Vajiralongkorn was officially crowned as the 10th king of the Chakri dynasty in a mix of Hindu and Buddhist rituals.

King Vajiralongkorn, 66, also known by the title of King Rama X, became a constitutional monarch after his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej - who reigned for 70 years - passed away in October 2016. It is the kingdom’s 12th Royal Coronation, held after a year of mourning.

Earlier today, King Vajiralongkorn granted new ranks and titles to members of the royal family.

For volunteer Suporn Aphibal from Nonthaburi, Bangkok, it was a great experience to watch the newly- crowned King Vajiralongkorn in public for the first time today.

The 74-year-old Suporn said it was worth the wait to witness the historic parade.

“I always see the king at royal ceremonies while I work as a volunteer, but it is a special moment to see the king at a coronation parade and pay respect to the king,” she said.

- Bernama 

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