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Datum objave: 04.05.2019
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Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn crowned

He is now known as Rama X, or the 10th King of the Chakri dynasty.

Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn crowned

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48101877

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has been crowned on the first of three days of coronation rites.

King Vajiralongkorn inherited the throne in 2016 when his long-reigning father Bhumibol Adulyadej died.

Days ago in a surprise announcement the palace said the king had married his long-term partner and royal consort who would now be Queen Suthida.

Thailand has a constitutional monarchy, but the royal family is highly revered by Thais and wields considerable power.

Thailand also has strict laws, called lese majeste, which ban criticism of the monarchy. The laws have shielded the royal family from public view and scrutiny.

During Saturday's ceremony the 66-year-old king was handed the 7.3kg (16lbs) Great Crown of Victory, which he placed on his head.

He then issued his first royal command, promising to reign with righteousness, as his father had done at his coronation 69 years ago.

The coronation comes at a time of political uncertainty. A general election was held on 24 March, the first since the army took control in a coup in 2014, but a new government has yet to be declared.

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Who is the king?

King Vajiralongkorn is the second child, and first son, of Queen Sirikit and Bhumibol Adulyadej.

He was educated in the UK and Australia and has been trained at the Royal Military College in Canberra. He went on to become an officer in the Thai armed forces and is a qualified civilian and fighter pilot.

He became crown prince and official heir to the throne in 1972. He is now known as Rama X, or the 10th King of the Chakri dynasty.


Queen Suthida, who is his fourth wife, is the deputy commander of his personal security unit. She was made a full general in the army in December 2016.


What are the coronation ceremonies?

The coronation rituals began at 10:09 (03:09 GMT), an auspicious time, when King Vajiralongkorn changed into a white robe to go through purification and anointment ceremonies using sacred water that has been collected from more than 100 locations around the country.

He is receiving the five Royal Regalia - the symbols of kingship - which includes the Great Crown of Victory.


Most of the main Brahmin and Buddhist rituals take place on Saturday, and the coronation continues until Monday.


While King Vajiralongkorn has been on the throne since 2016, in Thai tradition he cannot be considered a divine representative on Earth nor the main patron of Buddhism until he is consecrated.


How are Thais marking the occasion?

On Sunday, King Vajiralongkorn will take part in a procession around the capital, Bangkok, giving people a chance to celebrate.

Large crowds are expected for this event as well as when he makes a public appearance on a balcony at the Grand Palace on Monday.

King Vajiralongkorn spends most of his time abroad and is not as well known to the public as his father.


But huge portraits of him can now be seen at many buildings after it was made mandatory for state offices to erect them in the weeks leading up to the celebration.


Civil servants were also asked to wear yellow - the colour associated with the king. Many ordinary Thais will also be wearing yellow to show their loyalty to the monarch.


Key events


Saturday 4 May

The Royal Purification and Anointment - sacred water is poured over the king

Royal Regalia - the king is presented with the crown, sword and other items

Temple of the Emerald Buddha - the king proclaims himself the Royal Patron of Buddhism

Assumption of the Royal Residence - he symbolically moves into the official residence with a housewarming ceremony


Sunday 5 May

Royal Procession on Land - the king rides the Royal Palanquin encircling the city allowing people to pay homage


Monday 6 May

The king grants a public audience on a balcony in the Grand Palace. Later he grants an audience to international diplomats.


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BANGKOK: A king married four times with a penchant for piloting jets; a shrewd tactician with a hefty fortune and the army's loyalty - snippets from the closely-guarded life of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn who remains an enigma to his subjects.

The 66-year-old heir will be crowned in a royal ceremony this weekend as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty, more than two years after the death of his beloved father King Bhumibol, widely revered as a figure of unity and man of the people.

But little is known about the incoming monarch, Bhumibol's only male heir who spends much of his time abroad, lives in privacy and rarely addresses the Thai public.

His inscrutable image is carefully curated by a trusted advisers, guards and strict press rules about how the royal family can be depicted in a country with some of the world's toughest lese majeste laws.

He is often represented performing royal duties or charity in the Thai official royal press.

Less guarded moments overseas have been relayed in the foreign media, but they have not been widely disseminated inside the kingdom.

"This great mystery ... makes him distant," said a Thai businessman who once worked for the palace, speaking under condition of anonymity.

Vajiralongkorn rarely gives interviews, but in a sit down with the BBC in 1979, he gave a nod to the conundrum of being born a prince.

"It's difficult to say what it is like to be a fish when you're a fish, or what it is like to be a bird when you are a bird," a soft-spoken Vajiralongkorn said.


PEDALING AND PROTOCOL

Born on Jul 28, 1952, Vajiralongkorn completed his secondary education in Britain before training at Australia's Royal Military College.

He developed a passion for flying, piloted fighter jets, and served as a career officer in the Thai military, training for periods with US, British, and Australian armed forces.

In the twilight of his father's reign the then-crown prince took on a more prominent public role.

A fan of the outdoors, Vajiralongkorn donned spandex to lead two choreographed mass cycling events through Bangkok in 2015.

Vajiralongkorn is a study in contrasts with his father, who toured the country with camera and maps in hand for much of his 70-year reign.

He rarely gives speeches and has spent much of his life overseas, particularly in Germany, where he owns lavish residences on the shores of Lake Starnberg in Bavaria.

From there he likes to fly his Boeing 737, which was briefly seized in 2011 as part of a financial dispute between the Thai government and a German company.

"It's a way to escape the yoke of protocol in Thailand," said Sophie Boisseau du Rocher, a senior researcher specialising in Southeast Asian politics at the French Institute of International Relations.

Bound by centuries of straightjacketing rules revolving around officials events and ceremonies, Thailand's king is nominally above politics.

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON?

But some analysts speculate that a 2014 coup was staged to ensure a smooth succession as Bhumibol's health waned.

After his father died in 2016, Vajiralongkorn surprised many by requesting to delay his ascension to the throne to allow the public to mourn.

In the intervening years he has taken further actions widely seen as smudging the separation between the constitutional monarch and the state.

He shored up control of the fantastically wealthy Crown Property Bureau, requested changes to the constitution giving the king more executive decision-making powers.


"He is involved in politics in a much more direct way than his father," says Eugenie Merieau, a specialist in Thai politics.


Vajiralongkorn on Wednesday announced his fourth marriage, this time to former Thai Airways flight attendant Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya, who was named as Queen.

A member of his personal security retinue seen with him at public events, Queen Suthida was made a general the day Vajiralongkorn took the throne in 2016.


The king has a 14-year-old son from his third marriage - Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, plus six other children including four sons from two previous wives.

His third wife Srirasmi was stripped of her royal title in 2014 and several members of the family have been placed behind bars since then for violating royal insult laws.

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