Thailand’s king grants new titles on second day of coronation activities

Thailand’s newly crowned King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Sunday performed the second day of coronation activities, granting new titles to members of the royal family in front of an audience of dignitaries including top government officials and senior Buddhist monks.

On Saturday, Vajiralongkorn took part in an elaborate set of rituals, a mix of Buddhist and Hindu Brahmanic traditions, which established his status as a full-fledged monarch with complete regal powers.

Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, the 10th king of the Chakri dynasty, had already been serving as king since the October 2016 death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was on the throne for seven decades.

The 66-year-old monarch began Sunday morning’s event in a hall at Bangkok’s Grand Palace by paying respects in front of portraits of his late father and his mother, who has been in hospital for an extended period.

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

The 86-year-old mother, known as Queen Sirikit, was granted a new official title of Queen Mother.

Vajiralongkorn’s son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, was one of the family members granted a fresh name for the new reign.

He turned 14 on April 29 and is the heir presumptive.

While Saturday’s ceremonies were solemn and heavily tinged with age-old rites, including the prominent presence of Brahmin priests, Sunday’s event was slightly more relaxed, though also steeped with traditional royal and Buddhist gestures.

The live television coverage of the event showed some glimpses of informality: the king’s wife, who was granted the title Queen Suthida last week, exchanging a brief aside with Vajiralongkorn; two of his daughters in a warm hug after the second one returned from receiving her new title.

Wellwishers gather outside the Grand Palace (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
Wellwishers gather outside the Grand Palace (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

The king wore his normal modern royal uniform with a white tunic, a strong contrast with the traditional vestments with gold embroidery that he wore the previous day.

During the final portion of Saturday’s coronation, he also wore the Great Crown Of Victory, said to date from 1782.

The crown is 66 centimetres (26 inches) high, weighs 7.3 kilogrammes (16lb) and is ornamented with diamonds set in gold enamel.

Guards in ceremonial attire arrive (Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP)
Guards in ceremonial attire arrive (Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP)

Duangkamol Siriwiwattanakul said she travelled from the northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon, 337 miles northeast of Bangkok, to watch the royal events on a video screen set up outside the palace.

“I am very happy and feeling goosebumps,” she said, gripping a portrait of her monarch.

“Every time I see the king, my tears come out.”

In a 4.3-mile royal procession, the king was to be carried on an elaborate palanquin through nearby city streets to visit four important temples and allow the public to pay homage to him.

Monday will see the king greet the public from the balcony of the Grand Palace in the late afternoon and then hold a reception for the diplomatic corps.

- Press Association

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