Thai King coronated after 2 years



Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun was finally coronated on Saturday after ascending the throne two years ago, in a $31 million three-day celebration that comes almost 69 years since the last coronation.

The coronation took place at the Chakrabat Biman Royal Residence at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, CNN reported.

The celebrations started with the water purification ceremony, where holy water from Thailand's 76 provinces was poured over the 66-year-old's head, back and hands.

Following this, the King, wearing a glitzy gold robe and embroidered pants, participated in an anointment ritual at the Grand Palace's Baisal Daksin Throne Hall, which draws on a blend of Buddhism and Brahmanism.

Eight different key Thai leaders, including Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, handed him blessed water.

The ceremonies ended with the King sitting beneath a nine-tiered umbrella which means that he has now officially succeeded his late father Bhumibol Adulyadej also known as Rama IX as the King of Thailand.

He's the only person in Thailand permitted to sit under the umbrella, which represents the King's connection with heaven.

He was also made to wear an elaborate gold crown that weighs 7.3 kg. 

For the majority of Thai people, this coronation was the first they have witnessed. Bhumibol was crowned on May 5, 1950, CNN reported.

Bhumibol reigned for 70 years, which made him the world's longest reigning monarch at the time of his death.

Meanwhile, members of the public, majority of them dressed in yellow, watched the ceremony on large screens around the Grand Palace.

Since yellow is associated with the day of the King's birth (Monday), the Thai government has encouraged the public to wear this colour over the coronation period. 

King Vajiralongkorn studied in Australia and the UK 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.