Crown prince for­mally be­comes new monarch

Corona­tion will take place after his late fa­ther’s cre­ma­tion after a one-year mourn­ing pe­riod

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGEN­CIES in Bangkok

Thai­land’s new king on Fri­day made his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since as­cend­ing the throne the pre­vi­ous day, end­ing a pe­riod of un­cer­tainty since the death of King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej on Oct 13.

King Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn, 64, took part in a merit-mak­ing cer­e­mony at Bangkok’s Grand Palace to mark 50 days since his fa­ther’s death plunged the coun­try into grief, a par­tic­u­larly aus­pi­cious fu­ner­ary pe­riod in Thai Bud­dhism.

Palace of­fi­cials have an­nounced that his full ti­tle is Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn Bodin­drade­bayavarangkun. He will also be known as King Rama X.

Civil ser­vants dressed in black and white, the of­fi­cial col­ors of mourn­ing, lined the streets to the palace as the new king’s con­voy passed.

King Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn, who was then the crown prince, sur­prised some when he asked to de­lay his suc­ces­sion fol­low­ing the death of his fa­ther, leav­ing the throne un­oc­cu­pied for seven weeks.

He of­fi­cially took the throne in a brief cer­e­mony tele­vised late on Thursday.

Va­ji­ra­longkorn, 10th in the 234-year-old Chakri dy­nasty, faces the chal­lenges of help­ing heal a na­tion frac­tured by a decade of some­times vi­o­lent po­lit­i­cal strife, and liv­ing up to his fa­ther’s rep­u­ta­tion as a right­eous, hard­work­ing monarch ded­i­cated to his coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment.

The new king, with less in­tense in­ter­est in ad­mi­nis- tra­tion, does not com­mand the same level of re­spect as Bhu­mi­bol. In re­cent years he has spent much of his time re­sid­ing in Ger­many.

In­flu­en­tial in­sti­tu­tion

His corona­tion will take place after Bhu­mi­bol’s cre­ma­tion, which will not oc­cur un­til after a one-year mourn­ing pe­riod has ended.

Thai­land is a con­sti­tu­tional monar­chy but the palace is one of its most in­flu­en­tial in­sti­tu­tions.

On a street near the Grand Palace, shops on Fri­day dis­played gold-framed por­traits of the new king along­side pic­tures of his fa­ther.

“I hope that he will unite Thai hearts,” said Saonut­ta­porn Guachim, a stu­dent at Chu­la­longkorn Univer­sity.

“Thai peo­ple love and re­spect the monar­chy, and, for us, this is a new be­gin­ning,” said of­fice worker Kharon Ne­ung­pirom. “We will love and re­spect (the king) as we al­ways have.”

The new king’s older sis­ter, Princess Ubol­ratana Ra­jakanya, and for­mer prime min­is­ter Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra were among those who posted con­grat­u­la­tory mes­sages on their In­sta­gram ac­counts.

Thai peo­ple love and re­spect the monar­chy, and, for us, this is a new be­gin­ning.” Kharon Ne­ung­pirom, of­fice worker

ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA / REUTERS

Peo­ple hold up pic­tures of Thai­land’s new King Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn and late King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej at the Grand Palace in Bangkok on Thursday.

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