Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn crowned as divine monarch

Thai Royal Regalia

The coronation of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn took place on Saturday, the country's first coronation in seven decades.

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.

Vajiralongkorn is the first monarch to be crowned in almost seven decades as he takes the place of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej who 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.

The surprise announcement was carried in the Royal Gazette, and footage from Wednesday's wedding ceremony was later shown on the nightly Royal News segment aired on all Thai television channels. Members of the royal family and palace advisers were in attendance at the ceremony, BBC reports.

Thailand's newly crowned King Maha Vajiralongkorn made a spectacular public appearance in front of his countrymen Sunday, carried atop a golden palanquin by soldiers in ancient fighting uniforms in a procession through Bangkok's historic quarter.

King Vajiralongkorn, who has reportedly been Queen Suthida's romantic partner for many years, has been married and divorced three times in the past.

The king appeared dressed in white as he underwent a royal purification ritual, sitting under a canopied fountain that poured consecrated waters over his head.

Then the King gave his first royal command in Thai language, "For the people and the kingdom, I shall inherit the tradition, reign in righteousness".

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.

The king's procession involved more than 1,300 personnel. The 86-year-old mother, known as Queen Sirikit, was granted a new official title of Queen Mother. "I invite everyone here and all Thai people to share my determination and work together, each according to his status and duty, with the nation's prosperity and the people's happiness as the ultimate goals", he said.

After 80 Buddhist monks chanted, the king proclaimed himself the Royal Patron of Buddhism: "I will rightfully protect Buddhism forever".

As an only son, he was destined to rule from the moment he entered the world and was born in 1952, a time when Thailand's constitutional monarchy flourished, under his father.

Later on Saturday, Vajiralongkorn held an audience for royal family members, the Privy Council and top government officials, and visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha where he pledged to defend the Buddhist faith.

Hours before polls opened, another palace statement urged the public to vote for "good people" - a phrase most often attached to the arch-royalist political elite.

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

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