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Datum objave: 02.05.2019

Thai king to be crowned in ceremonies May 4-6

Thai King announces consort to be Queen ahead of coronation

Thai king to be crowned in ceremonies May 4-6

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s king will be officially crowned in elaborate ceremonies on May 4-6 as the latest ruler in the centuries-old monarchy, the royal palace said on Tuesday.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 66, has been serving since shortly after his father died in 2016 following a 70-year reign.

“His Majesty deems it fit to hold the coronation ceremony per royal traditions for the good fortune of the nation and the kingdom, to be enjoyed by the hopeful people,” a palace statement said.

In the three-day coronation, the king will be officially crowned on May 4 and a celebration procession will be held on May 5. The king will meet the public and foreign dignitaries on May 6, the palace said.

Vajiralongkorn, also known by the title King Rama X, became Thailand’s constitutional monarch two years ago following the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, on Oct. 13, 2016.

His official coronation has been delayed until after a year-long mourning period for Bhumibol, who was cremated in October 2017 in a grand royal funeral in Bangkok.

King Bhumibol was revered by Thais during his seven decades on the throne and the deep relationship between the monarchy and the military helped facilitate a smooth royal transition following his death.

Since then, Vajiralongkorn has overseen sweeping changes to royal affairs, including the running of palace finances, which were formerly managed by the government.

Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932, but the king remains supremely regarded as the spiritual protector of its people and culture.

The kingdom is due to hold elections on Feb. 24, and the current election timeline means the coronation will likely take place before a new government is formed.

The elections are meant to restore democracy after a 2014 military coup ousted an elected prime minister, though changes to the constitution in the interim ensure the military will retain a great deal of control.

Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um, Patpicha Tanakasempipat, Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Stephen Coates, Kim Coghill and Neil Fullick

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Thai king surprises with royal wedding ahead of coronation

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Just days before his official coronation, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Wednesday married the deputy head of his personal guard force and gave her the title Queen Suthida.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his consort, General Suthida Vajiralongkorn named Queen Suthida sign marriage documents during their wedding ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand May 1, 2019, in this screen grab taken from a video. Thai TV Pool

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.

Vajiralongkorn, 66, also known by the title King Rama X, became constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016, after 70 years on the throne.

He is due to be officially crowned in elaborate Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies on Saturday, followed by a procession through Bangkok the next day.

In 2014, Vajiralongkorn appointed Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant for Thai Airways, as a deputy commander of his bodyguard unit.

Some royal observers and foreign media had linked Suthida romantically with the king, but the palace had previously never acknowledged a relationship between them.

The king made Suthida a full general in the Royal Thai Army in December 2016, and the deputy commander of the king’s personal guard in 2017. He also made her a Thanpuying, a royal title meaning Lady.

Among the dignitaries at the wedding were Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of the military junta that has run Thailand since a 2014 army coup, as well as other members of the royal family and palace advisers, the wedding footage showed.

Vajiralongkorn has previously been married and divorced three times and has seven children. While the king took the throne after the death of his father, his formal coronation follows a mourning period for King Bhumibol, whose royal cremation was held a year after his death.

Reporting by Orathai Sriring, Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Robert Birsel and Toby Chopra

Thai King announces consort to be Queen ahead of coronation

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has named his long-time consort Suthida as Queen ahead of his coronation (AFP Photo/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA)

Thailand announced Wednesday that King Maha Vajiralongkorn's long-time consort had become his fourth wife, bestowed with the title Queen Suthida -- a surprise move just days before his coronation.

The Royal Gazette published an announcement saying Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya, a former flight attendant, had "legally married" the king in accordance with royal traditions.

"Therefore, he bestows (the title) on General Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya from Queen Consort to Queen Suthida as of now," the announcement said.

The ceremony was overseen by Vajiralongkorn wearing a white uniform in Bangkok's Dusit Palace Wednesday, according to a broadcast of the announcement, which showed Queen Suthida in a traditional Thai silk dress.

The unpredictable king is due to be crowned the 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty in an elaborate three-day ceremony starting Saturday.

Long seen trailing the king in public events as part of his personal security retinue, Suthida, a former Thai Airways flight attendant, was given the rank of "general" in 2016.

Vajiralongkorn, who has been married three times, is frequently abroad in Germany.

Harsh lese-majeste laws have shielded public scrutiny of his colourful private life, and all media in Thailand must self-censor.

This weekend's coronation will be the first since Vajiralongkorn's late father's nearly 70 years ago.

It was not immediately clear what role Queen Suthida will play in the ceremony.

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn to be crowned in coronation ceremonies in May

BANGKOK (AFP, REUTERS) - An elaborate three-day coronation ceremony for Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be held May 4 to 6, the palace announced Tuesday (Jan 1), nearly two and half years after the death of his revered father King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

“His Majesty deems it fit to hold the coronation ceremony per royal traditions for the good fortune of the nation and the kingdom, to be enjoyed by the hopeful people,” a palace statement said.

King Vajiralongkorn, formally known as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty, ascended the throne following his father’s death in October 2016, which ended a tumultuous seven-decade reign over the South-east Asian kingdom.

He has since dramatically reorganised palace affairs, bolstering his own security detail and granting himself personal stewardship of the multi-billion-dollar crown assets.

Thailand’s monarchy, one of the world’s richest, is shielded from criticism by a harsh royal defamation law punishing any transgressors with up to 15 years per charge.

In a televised announcement the Royal Household Bureau said the coronation will take place in early May.

“It’s suitable time to hold the coronation in accordance to the tradition and for national celebration and joy of the people,” the bureau said.

The “coronation ceremony” will be held on May 4 with an audience granted to “the royal family, privy councillors and cabinet members”, it explained.The following day a ceremony will “bestow the royal name” according to traditions governing the monarchy, then on May 6 the king will hold a “grand audience” with members of the public and diplomats.

It will mark a dramatic year for Thailand.

The country is poised to hold elections in early 2019, nearly five years after a junta seized power from the civilian government led by prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The junta, which is ultra-royalist and portrays itself as the defender of the monarchy, says it took power to end corruption and money politics under successive civilian governments.

Thai king to have 1,600-strong royal police security force

GULF TIMES Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn0

 Text Size:  A  A  A  AFP/Bangkok

More than 1,600 police have been assigned to protect Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his family, the head of the royal police security unit said yesterday, quadrupling the force as the new monarch continues to reorganise palace affairs.

Thailand’s monarchy is considered sacred and untouchable in Thai society, and is protected by some of the harshest royal insult legislation in the world.

But the king – who ascended to the throne following the death of his much beloved father Bhumibol, revered as a demi-god among Thais – will now also enjoy the protection of an upgraded royal security police unit.

Torsak Sukvimol, the newly-appointed chief of the so-called Special Service Division, said it currently has 400 personnel from the Crime Suppression Division – which has long been tasked with protecting the royal family.

“But the allocated staff will be 1,617 in total,” Torsak said, adding that recruiting and training the officers could take up to five years.

The beefed-up security detail will oversee 10 sub-divisions, including units that “conduct intelligence” and “police patrolling” as the king visits different parts of the country.

“After the king’s coronation, there is going to be more royal activities,” Torsak said. “Four hundred people are not enough.”

No date has been set for King Vajiralongkorn’s coronation.

The unit has not been tasked with scouring the public for violations of the kingdom’s draconian royal defamation law, referred to as 112 for its code in the criminal statute.

“We will not be aimed at monitoring people for 112 prosecutions. The 112 charge will not be wielded repetitiously,” Torsak said.

Thailand has to date been policing aggressively for any perceived slight to the monarchy, and a single lese majeste charge carries up to 15 years in jail.

Critics say the law is highly politicised, stifling discussion and imposing self-censorship on Thais as well as all media based in the country.

While lese majeste cases shot up under the ruling junta that seized power in Thailand in 2014, convictions have declined in recent months.

Pawinee Chumsri of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights confirmed that there has been “no new cases” this year

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