Thailand has a new king. At 12:10pm on Saturday May 6, 2019 King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun placed the Great Crown of Victory on his head symbolising he ascension to the throne and title of Phra Vajira Klao Chao Yu Hua, or King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Rama X, heralding a new era for Thailand.
King Vajiralongkorn is the tenth king of the Chakri dynasty, whose reign over the Kingdom of Thailand began in 1782. At the time of his death in 2016 King Vajiralongkorn’s father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was the worlds longest reigning monarch (See: Obituary: King Bhumibol Adulyadej – the world’s longest reigning monarch – dead at 88 )
In an elaborate ceremony over three-days comprising Brahman and Hindu rituals, numerous mass processions involving hundreds of military and civil personnel, and precision timing, the new King of Thailand went through a series of lavish ceremony the likes of which has not been seen for 70 years.
Perambulated from place to place atop the glittering gold-embelished Bhudtan Thong Royal Palanquin carried by ornately liveried palace porters, on Saturday (May 6) 66-year-old King Vajiralongkorn went through a gruelling day-long series of centuries-old ceremonies, in heat hovering around 40C (104F) in the sun.
Dressed in a pure white saffron ‘toga’ with gold trim the king first went through a purification ceremony (Song Muratha Bhisek) in which water was poured over him.
Following this came the lengthy and complicated anointment ceremony during which the gates to the mythical Mount Meru, the heavenly centre of the universe in both Buddhism and Hinduism were opened, using a chant in language so secret that it was muted from the live television broadcast.
While the crown, relics, jewels, regalia, and weapons of office came later, it was this second ritual, the Royal Anointment Ceremony, that marked King Vajiralongkorn’s formal ascension to the throne.
|Following his coronation King Vajiralongkorn was carried through the streets of the old city, and became the patron of Buddhism in Thailand. Video Global News|
Sitting under a nine-tiered white umbrella of state symbolising his full ascension, King Vajiralongkorn’s first act as King of Thailand was to bestow the symbols and tokens accompany the title of queen on his newly wed wife, Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya. Later in the afternoon a further ceremony saw King Vajiralongkorn proclaim himself the Patron of Buddhism in Thailand.
As the ceremony was taking place inside the royal palace and its grounds the Royal Thai Army, Navy and Air Force fired a total of 223 artillery charges, with the total budget set officially at Bt
At an audience for members of the royal family, the Privy Council and the Cabinet later in the day King Vajiralongkorn issued his post-coronation royal command. Seen as setting the tone for his reign, King Vajiralongkorn said he shall “continue, preserve, and build upon the royal legacy and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever; similar to words used by his father following his coronation on May 5, 1950.
Congratulations have been received from foreign embassies in Bangkok and heads of state around the world, including the the Restoration Council of the Shan State and its armed wing the Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA).
In a written joint statement the two groups offered their congratulations, adding that Thailand is the only nation state of the Tai people that still has king (sic) as the head of state. We shall admire this fact highly’.
See below, courtesy of the Royal Household Bureau, the Thailand Government Public Relations Department, and the Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs photos of the coronation of King Vajiralongkorn. Long live the King.
Update: This story was last updated at 1020 local time on May 15, 2019 to include the Global News video.
A new era: the coronation of King Vajiralongkorn photo slide gallery
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Prior to AEC News Today he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.