Thailand has begun three days of coronation ceremonies for King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
King Vajiralongkorn inherited the throne in 201
Days ago, the palace said in a startling announcement that the king had married his longtime partner and royal consort who would now be Queen Suthida.
Thailand has a constitutional monarchy, but the royal family is revered by Thais and has considerable power.
Thailand also has stringent laws called Majesty that ban criticism of the monarchy. The laws have shielded the royal family from public scrutiny and control.
The coronation comes at a time of political uncertainty. On March 24, parliamentary elections took place, the first since the army took power in 2014. However, a new government has yet to be declared.
However, many Thais are looking forward to the story and will be attentively watching the first coronation for almost 70 years.
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Who is the King?
King Vajiralongkorn, 66, is the second child and the first son of Queen Sirikit and Bhumibol Adulyadej.
He was educated in the UK and Australia and trained at the Royal Military College in Canberra. He became an officer of the Thai Armed Forces and is a trained civilian and fighter pilot.
In 1972 he became Crown Prince and official heir to the throne.
Queen Suthida, his fourth wife, is the deputy commander of his personal security unit. She was made General of the Army in December 2016.
What will the coronation ceremonies look like?
The coronation begins on Saturday when most of the major Brahmin and Buddhist rituals take place Monday.
While King Vajiralongkorn is on the throne since 2016, he can not be considered a divine representative on earth or the main patron of Buddhism in the Thai tradition until ordained.
The king will undergo purification and anointing ceremonies with holy water collected at more than 100 locations across the country.
He will also receive the five Royal Ornatia – the symbols of kingship – which contains the Great Crown of Victory.
How are Thais marked? Opportunity?
On Sunday, King Vajiralongkorn will attend a procession in the capital, Bangkok, to give people the opportunity to celebrate his ordination.
A large crowd is expected at this event when he publicly performs on a balcony in 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 in many buildings huge portraits of him can be seen, after the state offices were obliged to build them in the weeks leading up to the celebration.
Officials were also asked to wear yellow – the color associated with the king. Many ordinary Thais will also wear yellow to show their loyalty to the monarch.
Saturday, May 4
- The Royal Purification and Anointing – Holy Water is poured over the king.
- Royal regalia – the king is presented with the crown. Sword and other objects
- Temple of the Emerald Buddha – the King appoints himself the patron saint of Buddhism
- Ascension of the Royal Residence – he symbolically invades the official residence with a dedication ceremony [SundayMay5
- Royal Procession on the Lande – the king rides the royal palanquin that surrounds the city, and allows people to pay homage
Monday, May 6
- The king grants an audience on a balcony in the Grand Palace. Later he granted an audience to international diplomats.