Thailand ushers in new king with elaborate coronation

Thailand ushers in new king with elaborate coronation

King Maha Vajiralongkorn is to pay his respects on Friday to one of Thai Buddhism's most sacred relics, the Emerald Buddha, and later light an auspicious candle as he conducts the final rituals before his three days of coronation events.

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn enters the Grand Palace at the end of his coronation procession in Bangkok.

Vajiralongkorn's four-mile procession was meant to pay homage at three Buddhist temples and gave him an opportunity see his subjects, who came out in yellow, the color associated with the king.

Tens of thousands of well-wishers brandishing both Thai and royal flags and wearing yellow - a color associated with the monarch - lined the route for the rare spectacle.

The coronation of King Vajiralongkorn, 66, took place inside the Grand Palace throne hall in Bangkok after a period of official mourning for his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October 2016 having reigned for 70 years.

In his message, Xi said he extends honest congratulations and good wishes to the king and the Thai people on behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people and in his own name.

Also taking part in the slow parade were the prime minister and other senior officials in the military government as well as the king's wife, Queen Suthida, and one of his daughters, Princess Bajrakitiyabha.

The new king, who is now Rama X, the 10th king of the Chakri dynasty, was educated in Britain and Australia.

Early Sunday, the king bestowed royal titles on family members who crawled to his throne in a striking show of deference to the monarch, who was joined by his new Queen Suthida.

"I shall reign in righteousness for the benefits of the kingdom and the people forever", he said in his traditional first royal command.

The king's procession involved more than 1,300 personnel.

The Thai coronation that started Saturday was the first in 69 years, a once-in-a-lifetime ceremony where Vajiralongkorn was anointed with holy water and placed the tiered golden Great Crown of Victory on his head. The 86-year-old mother, known as Queen Sirikit, was granted a new official title of Queen Mother.

The king donned a white robe for the Royal Purification Ceremony, which saw him showered with water from old royal water vessels. The king's carriage was also surrounded by soldiers carrying swords and others playing music. The 109-member marching band played tunes composed by the king's father, who was an enthusiastic musician, and a single musician played haunting sounds on a conch shell.

The ritual is a highlight in the elaborate coronation ceremony, which is steeped in both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. 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.

It was also during King Mongkut's coronation that foreigners were invited to witness coronation ceremonies for the first time, scholars said.

Election results from the disputed March poll are expected to be announced this week.

Thailand has been run by an arch-royalist junta since 2014.

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