Thousands of Thais gathered on a Bangkok bridge named after the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on what would have been his birthday yesterday, the latest organised mass display of grief in a nation adjusting to life without him. For much of his seven-decade reign, King Bhumibol's Dec 5 birthday was an auspicious moment for Thais, with the monarch often delivering key speeches offering social - and sometimes distinctly political - guidance in a nation buffeted by years of coups and instability. Stricken with ill health in the last decade of his life, he missed his last two birthday appearances before his death at age 88 on Oct 13. His passing has plunged Thailand into a year of mourning. King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, 64, ascended the throne last Thursday after a seven-week hiatus in which he asked to be allowed time to mourn his father.