Coronation for Thai King at auspicious time of 10.09am

Royal Guards firing a series of cannon salutes during the coronation of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn yesterday. The Supreme Patriarch pouring water onto King Maha Vajiralongkorn's back and hands during the symbolic purification ceremony at the
Royal Guards firing a series of cannon salutes during the coronation of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn yesterday. PHOTO: DPA

BANGKOK • Coronation for the Chakri dynasty's 10th king began yesterday at the auspicious time of 10.09am.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 66, dressed in a white robe with gold trim, sat in a specially constructed pavilion on the grounds of Bangkok's Grand Palace as he was doused in water.

The elderly Supreme Patriarch, the most senior monk of the Buddhist country, poured water onto the King's back and hands. Brahmin priests then passed him vessels of blessed water, which he poured onto his left and right shoulders.

Cannons went off in the distance during the symbolic purification ceremony.

Thailand's coronation ceremony yesterday was a mix of Buddhist and Hindu Brahmin rituals, passed down and modified over time to suit the needs of each reign in the 237-year-old Chakri dynasty.

Water - collected from all 76 provinces as well as the capital and then blessed by monks - was a key element in the coronation rituals.

After the ablution, the monarch changed into a glittering golden robe and sat on an octagonal throne that represented eight directions of the compass.

In his hands was an intricate container, which he held out as officials representing the eight directions - including privy council president Prem Tinsulanonda and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha - took turns filling with water.

Royal Guards firing a series of cannon salutes during the coronation of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn yesterday. The Supreme Patriarch pouring water onto King Maha Vajiralongkorn's back and hands during the symbolic purification ceremony at the
The Supreme Patriarch pouring water onto King Maha Vajiralongkorn's back and hands during the symbolic purification ceremony at the Grand Palace in Bangkok. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

When the anointment ceremony was over, the King had symbolically ascended power to all corners of the land.

King Vajiralongkorn then took his place on another throne before a Brahmin priest offered him important items to signify his ascension, including the Great Crown of Victory.

PRESERVE ROYAL LEGACY

I shall continue, preserve and build upon the royal legacy, and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people always.

KING MAHA VAJIRALONGKORN, making his formal royal command.

The spire-shaped ceremonial headgear is 66cm high and weighs 7.3kg. It is set in gold enamel and contains a diamond at its tip. It represents the heavenly abode of Indra, a Hindu deity.

Other items included the Royal Sword of Victory, which represents the wisdom to cut through misunderstanding.

The Royal Slippers, made of enamelled gold and set with diamonds, were also offered as a symbol of the support that all subjects offered to the King.

In full royal regalia, the King made his first formal royal command: "I shall continue, preserve and build upon the royal legacy, and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people always."

Then he installed Queen Suthida, whom he had officially announced to have wedded on Wednesday.

The crown stayed on during another ceremony in the afternoon, when he gave an audience to diplomats and senior officials gathered at a hall to offer their felicitations.

 
 
 

As dusk neared, King Vajiralongkorn re-emerged from the palace and boarded a palanquin to travel to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha located nearby.

Held aloft on the ancient sedan, the King - a soldier by training - surveyed the scene before him and saluted those lined up along the route.

Before the monks assembled at the ancient temple, he read out a short message declaring himself a patron of Buddhism.

Today, he will be ferried on a palanquin for a procession around inner Bangkok, allowing the people to pay homage to the newly anointed monarch.

This will be completed by a water procession in October, when he will travel to the Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn, on his royal barge along the Chao Phraya river.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 05, 2019, with the headline 'Coronation at auspicious time of 10.09am'. Print Edition | Subscribe