Thailand will crown its new king in a $31 million three-day celebration that comes almost 69 years since the last coronation…reports Asian Lite News
The coronation of 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun will kick-off more than two years after he ascended the throne following the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was widely beloved and revered.
During the three-day celebration, King Vajiralongkorn will be be presented with a gold 7.3-kg crown, circle parts of the city on a royal palanquin and will undergo a royal purification ceremony using sacred water gathered from Thailand’s 76 provinces, according to the Thai Government’s public relations department.
The crucial moment, where King Vajiralongkorn becomes a consecrated king, will be on Saturday, when he receives a sacred, nine-tiered umbrella. Only a consecrated king is allowed to sit on a throne under a nine-tiered umbrella which represents the King’s connection with heaven.
For the majority of Thai people, this weekend’s coronation of the 10th Thai King will be the first they have witnessed. The late King Bhumibol was crowned on May 5, 1950.
Bhumibol reigned for 70 years, which made him the world’s longest reigning monarch at the time of his death.
Authorities have confirmed to CNN that one billion Thai baht ($31 million) was set aside for the coronation, about one third of the cost of the late King’s funeral in 2017.
King Vajiralongkorn studied in Australia and the United Kingdom and has fathered two daughters and five sons.
On Wednesday, the King announced he had married his bodyguard, General Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya, who became his fourth wife.
Although Thailand’s monarchy hasn’t held absolute power in 86 years, it remains an influential part of Thai life.
Pictures of the royals are widely displayed around Thailand and the country’s strict lese majeste laws make it illegal to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen, heir-apparent or regent.
The coronation comes amid an ongoing period of political instability in the country, which has had two coups in 13 years.
In March, Thailand held a national election but its results remain unclear, with both major political parties claiming they are able to form a government.