Coronation of Thai King Vajiralongkorn set for May

By AFP

BANGKOK • An elaborate three-day coronation ceremony for Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn (picture) will be held in early May, more than 2½ years after the death of his revered father Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The 66-year-old ascended the throne following his father’s death in October 2016.

Vajiralongkorn, formally known as Rama X of the Chakri dynasty, has since dramatically reorganised palace affairs. He has bolstered his own security detail and granted himself personal stewardship of the crown’s multibillion-dollar assets, which include swathes of prime real estate and major investments in banks and companies.

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.

It is also butressed by the conservative, ultra-royalist army which has ruled Thailand since seizing power in 2014.

In a televised announcement, the Royal Household Bureau said the coronation will take place between May 4 and 6.

“It’s a 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.