Thai king makes bodyguard his Queen

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida paying their respects before the statue of King Rama V at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok yesterday. The monarch's coronation which takes place from tomorrow to Monday will be the first the coun

The coronation of 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun kicked off on Saturday, more than two years after he ascended the throne following the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was widely beloved and revered.

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.

A sea of people donned in yellow - the colour of His Majesty - lined the roads eager to see the new King with their own eyes.

On Sunday morning, the king granted new ranks and titles to members of the royal family.

King Vajiralongkorn is the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynasty, which has reigned over the kingdom since 1782.

After concluding his visit to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, also known as Wat Pho, the "Royal Procession on Land" travelled 1.5 km back to the Grand Palace, and the king's palanquin passed through a gate at 11:40 p.m., approximately six-and-a-half hours after the journey began.

"I shall continue, preserve, and build upon the royal legacy and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever", the king said in his first royal command.

Although most coronation ceremonies for Thai kings follow Hindu Brahmin traditions, some Buddhist elements were added by the monarch's great-great grandfather King Mongkut, or Rama IV, because he spent 27 years in monkhood before inheriting the throne, scholars said.

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But a comparison with his late father shows stark differences between the two rulers - with Maha Vajiralongkorn, as he was known before his official ascension, well known for his playboy lifestyle, string of ex-wives and penchant for bestowing military titles on his pets. Junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who seized power in a 2014 coup, took part in numerous key rituals, including the procession. The king also received and wore five articles of the royal regalia from the chief Brahmin, signifying full kingship.

Harsh lese-majeste laws mean unguarded discussion about the monarchy inside the country is unsafe and can result in a prison term of up to 15 years per count.

Though Thailand has had a constitutional monarchy since 1932, when a revolution ended absolute rule by kings, the country's monarchs are regarded as nearly divine and have been seen as a unifying presence in a country that has seen regular bouts of political instability as it rotates between elected governments and military rule.

It is the fourth marriage for the king, who has had three divorces.

"When the auspicious time arrived, the royal astrologer hit the Gong of Victory, the scribe and the royal augur began inscribing on the Royal Golden Plaques the official title of the King and the King's Horoscope".

In ancient times, the most important part of the whole coronation ceremony was considered to be the holy water anointment ritual, and the crown was only seen as one of the royal objects, which was just placed next to the king at the coronation ceremony.

Carrying the ornate palanquin were 16 men, with others ready to replace in shifts them during the long, hot march.

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

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