Thai king postpones royal barge procession until December

The first full-dress rehearsal for the royal barge procession along the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok on Oct 17, 2019.
The first full-dress rehearsal for the royal barge procession along the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok on Oct 17, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand's newly crowned king has postponed next week's final event marking his historic coronation - a royal barge procession down Bangkok's Chao Phraya river - by almost two months, a deputy premier announced on Thursday (Oct 17).

The 52-barge procession was scheduled for Oct 24, and on Thursday, Thai oarsmen donning hats and gold-flecked attire rowed down the Chao Phraya river for the first full-dress rehearsal.

But Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam later told reporters the procession has been moved to mid-December due to worries over the "water conditions and weather".

"After 10 small rehearsals and a final rehearsal today, we realised the procession would not maintain the traditional formation and beauty and the event should wait," he said.

"The king has decided to postpone it to December 12."

The elaborate ceremony is the final phase of the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who will travel on a barge downriver - allowing Thais a rare chance to greet the monarch and his queen.

The procession originated from the river journeys of ancient Thai kings as they led their battle flotillas into war.

King Vajiralongkorn is the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynastry, which has reigned over the kingdom since 1782.

 

While he ascended the throne three years ago following the death of his beloved father, King Vajiralongkorn's official coronation was only held in May in an elaborate three-day affair.