POMP AND CEREMONY

Photos: The Thai king has been officially crowned

King Maha Vajiralongkorn was crowned on Saturday afternoon.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn was crowned on Saturday afternoon.
Image: Thai TV/pool via Reuters
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King Maha Vajiralongkorn has been officially crowned as Thailand’s monarch amid Buddhist and Hindu prayers and pageantry costing over $30 million.

The 66-year-old Vajiralongkorn, also known as king Rama X, succeeded his father upon the latter’s death in October 2016. But the coronation was delayed by a year of mourning and a suitable span of time from the late king Bhumibol Adulyadej’s funeral in 2017. Today’s coronation was the country’s first in nearly seven decades.

The coronation celebrations span several days and include a royal procession on Sunday, for which rehearsals have been underway in the capital during the week. The ceremonies were preceded by Thailand unexpectedly getting a queen after Vajiralongkorn married the deputy head of his person guard force on Wednesday (May 1), making her Queen Suthida.

Images of the new king were everywhere in the capital, and people carried the monarch’s photograph and wore yellow—a color associated with the day the king was born—to demonstrate their loyalty. The new king, though seen as an unorthodox figure—he once brought his pet poodle in evening attire to a US embassy gala—was the picture of royal tradition through the elaborate rituals that conveyed his symbolism as a living god.

The coronation comes as Thailand is yet to declare a winner in March’s national election, the first since a coup in 2014 installed a military junta. A party that backs junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha—who was among the officials to pour sacred waters on the king’s hands during the ceremonies—and the anti-junta opposition both claimed victory (paywall) after the vote.

Officials waiting for the ceremonies to begin on Saturday.
Officials waiting for the ceremonies to begin on Saturday.
Image: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
People wearing yellow, a color associated with both the current monarch and his father, cheer as the motorcade carrying king Maha Vajiralongkorn and queen Suthida drives past the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
People wearing yellow, a color associated with both the current monarch and his father, cheer as the motorcade carrying king Maha Vajiralongkorn and queen Suthida drives past the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
Image: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
The new queen is seen with the king as their motorcade arrives at the Grand Palace in Bangkok for the coronation.
The new queen is seen with the king as their motorcade arrives at the Grand Palace in Bangkok for the coronation.
Image: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
People hold images of the king during his coronation in Bangkok.
People hold images of the king during his coronation in Bangkok.
Image: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
Royal guards attend the coronation.
Royal guards attend the coronation.
Image: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun
The king undergoes a purification ritual as part of the ceremonies. Sacred water was gathered from across the country for the rituals.
The king undergoes a purification ritual as part of the ceremonies. Sacred water was gathered from across the country for the rituals.
Image: Reuters TV
Buddhist monks pray during the coronation.
Buddhist monks pray during the coronation.
Image: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun
The coronation streams on a monk’s tablet as he prays.
The coronation streams on a monk’s tablet as he prays.
Image: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun
Queen Suthida kneels before the king during the ceremonies.
Queen Suthida kneels before the king during the ceremonies.
Image: Thai TV/pool via Reuters
Royal guards fire a series of cannon salutes during the coronation.
Royal guards fire a series of cannon salutes during the coronation.
Image: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar