Thailand crowns Maha Vajiralongkorn as King Rama X

Thailand crowns Maha Vajiralongkorn as King Rama X

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be carried on a golden palanquin through Bangkok's historic heart Sunday, a second day of coronation rituals which will bring the public up close to their powerful monarch.

During the procession - the king's first public appearance since he was crowned - he was scheduled to pay homage to the main Buddha images at each temple.

Tens of thousands of well-wishers brandishing both Thai and royal flags and wearing yellow - a color associated with the monarch - lined the route for the rare spectacle.

The coronation represents a renewal of the monarchy's power after the October 2016 death of Vajiralongkorn's revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The King, like his predecessors, made the short journey to vow to defend the Buddhist faith, the religion of more than 90% of Thailand's people.

The king also proclaimed himself the Royal Patron of Buddhism, and spent the night with his queen in the royal residence in the Grand Palace, as previous kings have done.

Members of the Royal Family - including HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana - stood and bowed in respect to the King as his procession passed their roadside pavilion.

Thailand's monarchy is wrapped in ritual, protocol and hierarchy all orbiting around the king, who is viewed as a demigod.

The new king was accompanied by his new wife Queen Suthida whom he married three days before the coronation ceremonies began.

For the royal procession, the king was carried through the streets on a gilded palanquin borne by 16 men walking at about 75 steps per minute and stopping to swap out personnel every 500 metres, according to the palace.

He also delivered his first royal command as King, saying, "I shall continue, preserve, and build upon the royal legacy and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever". Horns and pipes also accompanied the moment when the king was anointed with consecrated water taken from more than a hundred sites across the country.

The chief Brahmin priest presents His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn with one of the many items of investiture including the royal golden plaque upon which is inscribed his royal official title, together with the royal seal of state, the royal regalia, the royal utensils, and the weapons of sovereignty. Wat Bowonniwet and Wat Rajabopit store the royal relics of late King Bhumibol.

The King also granted full royal title to Queen Suthida, whom he just named Queen this Wednesday before the coronation ceremony.

It is the fourth marriage for the king, who has had three divorces.

The elaborate ceremonies estimated to cost up to $31 million are a blend of Buddhist and Hindu rites, in accordance with Thailand's Buddhist traditions and a belief that Thai kings are reincarnations of Vishnu, a Hindu god.

The country has been run by an arch-royalist junta since 2014. But the dazzling display of the primacy of the monarchy in Thai life belies a simmering political crisis held over from elections in March.

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