Thailand crowns her new King

Pictures from the Nation and the Guardian

On Saturday May 4th Thailand crowned her new King.

For well known reasons this commentary will simply talk about the events of the weekend.

It is the first time most Thais have witnessed the pomp of a coronation – the last one was in 1950 for the king’s revered father Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Perhaps what is most striking is the extent of the organisation across all the different elements of what will be three days of ceremonies, and the number of people involved. These are rituals that the country has not seen for almost seventy years. There is a precision that is required. These are rituals and traditions passed down over centuries steeped in a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

The new King vowed a righteous reign and called for “national security” and “happiness.” As one report stated this was a “remarkable display of royal power.”

Saturday’s sombre ceremony opened with the white-gowned king receiving sacred water and dabbing it gently across his face at a shrine inside the Grand Palace complex.

A cannon salute marked the moment as pipes played and Buddhist monks chanted.

Several grey-haired Hindu Brahmins were also in attendance at a ceremony that symbolises Rama X’s transformation from human to divine figure.

He later took his seat under the umbrella of state and was handed the Great Crown of Victory, a 7.3-kilogram (16-pound) tiered gold headpiece topped by a diamond from India.

Two days before the coronation there was the official announcement of the royal wedding to now Queen Suthida; who has been the King’s companion for the last few years, but who was officially recognised as Queen during yesterday’s ceremonies.

Hundreds of state officials in immaculate white uniforms lined the streets around the Grand Palace, outnumbering the modest number of civilians braving the hot sun for the royal convoy. There will be more people watching the 7 kilometre procession on Sunday.

The Thai media has been generous its support for the new monarch.

His Majesty true guiding light for Thais  The Bangkok Post

With joy and unity, Thais celebrate historic coronation The Nation