Excerpts from story dating to May-2, 2019 from Jonathan Gatehouse, CBC News
My Sources: Jonathon Gatehouse · CBC News · Posted: May 02, 2019 & Wikipedia.
(pic) Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, centre, Queen Suthida, right, and his daughter Princess Bajrakitiyabhaarrive arrive at Royal Plaza to pay homage to the Equestrian Statue of King Chulalongkorn in Bangkok on Thursday.
The coronation ceremonies for the 66-year-old king, known as King Rama X, were held from May 4 to 6 in the year 2019.
Maha Vajiralongkorn, officially crowned Thailand’s King, remains something of a mystery man.
CROWNING CEREMONY OF THAILAND’S KING
People of Thailand knew that they were going to be crowning a new King, but the Queen comes as a bit of a surprise. The announcement of the wedding of King Maha Vajiralongkorn and the woman long-suspected, but never officially confirmed, to be his girlfriend, Suthida Tidjai, came via a proclamation in the royal gazette.
Footage of the ceremony, which has been broadcast on Thai television, shows her dressed in pink and lying prone at the feet of Vajiralongkorn, who sported a white military uniform.
Tradition dictates that the king, a semi-divine figure, must sit elevated above his subjects during official functions.
(pic) In this photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn (at right,) presents a gift to Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya, at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok on Wednesday.
Suthida, a 40-year-old former Thai Airways flight attendant, was throwned alongside her 66-year-old husband during the three days of coronation rituals that began on a Saturday.
She was known in palace circles since 2014, when Vajiralongkorn appointed her deputy commander of his bodyguard unit, later elevated her rank to General and gave her a royal title.
Queen Suthida become the fourth wife of the thrice-divorced Vajiralongkorn, who also has seven children from prior relationships.
Vajiralongkorn became the country’s constitutional monarch in the fall of 2016, following the death of his revered father King Bhumibol Adulyadej at age 88, ending a 70-year reign.
The ceremonies during the weekend officially enthroned Vajiralongkorn as Rama X, the tenth king of the ruling Chakri dynasty. The elaborate festivities that blended Hindu and Buddhist traditions, included a ritual bath and the new king’s anointment with waters collected from more than 100 sources across the country.
Vajiralongkorn wore the 7 kilogram gold-and-diamond crown and paraded through the streets of Bangkok in a formal 6.5 km-long procession before his subjects.
(pic) Participants of King’s Coronation Pageantry rehearsed the water procession for the coronation as they navigated the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok on April 30 before the official ceremonies commenced. (photo )(Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images) —-
The cost of the Royal Wedding & Coronation pageantry, which were broadcast live on all the country’s television stations, is estimated to be in excess of 30 million USD.
Vajiralongkorn, the second of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit’s four kids and their only son, remains something of a mystery man. He was educated at private schools in the U.K., before attending military college in Australia. He later served as an officer in the Thai military, training as a fighter pilot, and he continues to fly his own 737 jet on his travels.
But his mother once described him as “a bit of a Don Juan.” His former wives were his royal cousin, followed by a young actress, and then one of her ladies-in-waiting; he has been romantically linked to several other women. There have been questions about his gambling and business links to underworld figures. In recent years, he has spent much of his time living in a posh lakeside mansion near Munich, Germany.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn (also known as Rama X) images were everywhere ahead of the coronation- on stamps and currency; his portrait hangs from the side of buildings and decorates every state office, and a short film about his life is screened before every movie shown in theatres.
(pic) A portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn displayed near the Thai Royal Palace on Thursday. (Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)
Under Thailand’s incredibly strict lèse majesté laws, even the mildest criticism of the royal family, can result in a 15-year jail sentence. This has kept his new subjects in the dark about the quirkier aspects of their new king’s personality. Like the time he elevated his now deceased poodle Foo Foo to the rank of Air Marshal.
A royal “Volunteer Spirit” program reportedly boasts four million members — almost six per cent of the country’s population — who dress in imperial yellow and preface their acts of public service, like directing traffic or cleaning streets, by saluting his picture.
Hundreds of thousand people attended the ceremonies on the weekend wearing yellow to show support as Thailand holds its first coronation in nearly seven decades following a mourning period for King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
THE KING OF THAILAND IS A BALANCING POWER BETWEEN THE MILITARY AND ELECTED OFFICIALS
His personal security unit is being quadrupled to a force of 1,600 hand-picked police. And since the summer of 2018, Vajiralongkorn has had full personal ownership and control of as much as $40 billion USD in crown assets, including major stakes in Thai banks and construction firms. In exchange, the new king has promised to make his business dealings transparent and pay taxes for the first time.
Thai Kings have been officially & constitutionally politically neutral since the end of the country’s absolute monarchy in 1932. But Vajiralongkorn has also shown signs that he might be willing to alter that stance. Last winter, he moved decisively to quash his elder sister’s bid to run as the prime ministerial candidate for a new party linked to Thaksin Shinawatra, the country’s now-exiled former civilian leader.
Thai Princess Ubolratana (Rajakanya) renounced her royal status in 1972 when she married an American she met while studying at M.I.T., but her brother ruled her candidacy “extremely inappropriate,” saying it defied the nation’s traditions and culture.
(pic) Thai Princess Ubolratana visits the International Tourism Trade Fair (ITB) in Berlin on March 7. (Soeren Stache/AFP/Getty Images)
Vajiralongkorn has also been forging ties to the military junta that has ruled Thailand since a 2014 coup.
The current prime minister of Thailand, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, was one of the select few guests during the King’s wedding week.
The official results of the late March election, the first since the military takeover, were delayed until after the Coronation ceremonies. And, it is believed that Vajiralongkorn has been playing a role in diffusing tensions between the impatient opposition and the Military Generals.
Most Thais trust their royal family to guard the national interest.
KINGDOM OF THAILAND HAS LINKS TO HISTORICAL MONUMENTS REPLICATED IN ANCIENT CITY OF SIAM
Ancient Siam (also known as Ancient City, Thai: เมืองโบราณ, Mueang Boran) is a museum park constructed by Lek Viriyaphant and occupying over 200 acres (0.81 km2) in the shape of Thailand.
Ancient Siam is dubbed as the world’s largest outdoor museum. Close to the Crocodile Farm in Samut Prakan Province, the 320-hectare “city” features 116 structures of Thailand’s famous monuments and architectural attractions.
The grounds of Ancient Siam correspond roughly to the shape of the kingdom, with the monuments lying at their correct places geographically.
Some of the buildings are life-size replicas of existing or former sites, while others are scaled down.
ALL TIME HIT HOLLYWOOD MOVIE, THE KING AND I, HAS FACINATING STORIES OF A SIAMESE KING
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