King Maha Vajiralongkorn or Rama X of Thailand, who inherited the throne following the death of his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016, was crowned on the first of his three day lavish coronation ceremony on Saturday, May 4. Late King Adulyadej, who was crowned in 1950, reigned for quite a long period of almost 7 decades.
King Vajiralongkorn, who is now 66 years old was handed the 7.3kg (16lbs) Great Crown of Victory, which he placed on his head, before issuing his first royal command. It weighs almost seven times heavier than Queen Elizabeth II’s Imperial State Crown. The King took an oath to reign with righteousness, similar to what his father had done at his coronation 69 years ago. He had to go through a purification ceremony as per their tradition, “The sacred water that makes a king”. Buddhist and Hindu Brahmin rituals are to be followed during the ceremony.
The coronation, which will continue from Saturday till Monday, is estimated to cost more than £23 m. The official ceremonies were delayed due to a period of mourning for the late king. At times of political disturbance, such as an unsettled election conflict, and moreover, corruption, such a ceremony takes place.
Since the army took control in a revolution in 2014, a general election was held on 24 March, but a new government has not yet been declared. Lese majeste, or stringent laws in Thailand, outlaw criticism of the royal family. The laws have secured the monarchy from public observation and inspection. There was a surprise announcement made a couple of days ago in the palace. The news was of the king getting married to his long-term partner and royal consort, who is now referred to as Queen Suthida.