Sunday, 15 September 2019

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Coronation Ceremony of King Maha Vajiralongkorn

 

By Saranya Suksawat

May 2019 is the month that all Thai people are eagerly looking forward to, as the most important event of this year, the Coronation Ceremony of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, will be held from May 4 - 6.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) has been the monarch of Thailand since 2016. His Majesty ascended the throne after the passing of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13, 2016. However, the one-year period of mourning resulted in a postponement of the coronation ceremony. The coronation ceremony of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn is scheduled to be held during May 4 - 6, at the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Royal Household Bureau announced on the New Year’s Day. The date has a significant meaning for the Thai monarchy, as King Bhumibol Adulyadej's coronation was on May 5, 1950.

Basically, Thai monarchs are highly revered as divine kings – a tradition influenced by Brahmanism. The coronation of the Thai monarch is a ceremony in which the King is formally consecrated by anointment and crowning. The coronation rites are a blend of Buddhist and Hindu Brahmin rituals dating back several centuries. Traditionally the coronation usually takes place as soon as possible after the death of the previous monarch. This followed the custom that an unconsecrated king cannot bear certain regalia nor carry out any religious functions. According to the ancient custom, an unconsecrated king is not considered qualified to carry out the divine function of a Devaraja (or God-king).

In former times, the accession to the throne of a Siamese sovereign was not celebrated publicly. Only a simple ceremony was held by the court officials, in which the royal title and articles of royal use were presented to the king. After King Mongkut (Rama IV) ascended the throne and performed the traditional ceremony on 6 April 1851, he issued an edict saying that the coronation of a monarch was regarded as an auspicious occasion in all countries ruled by a sovereign and was joyfully celebrated by the people of the whole country. However, this had never been done in Siam. The king, therefore, ordered that his coronation be celebrated by inviting Buddhist monks to the Grand Palace to chant sutras on the 13th day of the 6th moon and again to be entertained at a feast the next day. This was the first time the enthronement of a Thai king was celebrated.

The coronation ceremony of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn consists of several rites which will span three days from May 4-6, but the highlights will take place on May 4. The coronation ceremony will be televised by the Television Pool of Thailand and on the Thai TV Global Network for viewers in 170 countries worldwide. The ceremonies will take place at several throne halls in the Grand Palace, with the rough schedule as follows:

Saturday, 4 May 2019

The ceremonies in the morning will consist of the purification bath, the anointment rite, the crowning and investiture ceremony, which will take place at Chakkraphat Phiman Royal Residence in the Grand Palace.

In the afternoon, His Majesty will grant an audience with royal family members, privy councilors, cabinet members and senior government officials at Amarin Winitchai Throne Hall. Then His Majesty will be officially pronounced as the promoter of Buddhism.

In the evening, the King will preside over a ceremony paying homage to former monarchs at Prasat Phra Thep Bidon (the Royal Pantheon). Then there will be an Assumption of Residence ceremony at Chakkraphat Phiman. The ceremony of the assumption of the residence is a private housewarming celebration by members of the royal family.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

There will be a ceremony marking the inscription of the King’s full ceremonial name. His Majesty will then present Royal titles to members of the Royal family to mark their relationship to the King. Later, there will be a royal procession on the streets around Rattanakosin Island (centred around the Grand Palace), to receive blessings and well wishes from the public. This is a very large and impressive procession featuring 1,368 soldiers, and it will last about three hours. The grand parade will be led by a marching band playing six songs composed by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Monday, 6 May 2019

On May 6, HM the King will appear on the balcony of Sutthaisawan Prasat Throne Hall on the eastern side of the Grand Palace to allow the public to join in the celebrations of the coronation ceremony and to express their well wishes to the King. Later on, the King will grant an audience to foreign diplomats at the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall to celebrate the auspicious occasion.


 Remark: This article was written in March, before the Coronation Ceremony takes place. Therefore, the information in this article may be subject to change.


 

Brief Biography of

King Maha Vajiralongkorn

Early Life & Education

Originally titled Prince Vajiralongkorn, His Majesty is the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, born on 28 July 1952 at Ambara Villa, Dusit Palace. King Bhumibol created him “Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Royal Son and Crown Prince of Siam” on 28 December 1972, thus making him the Heir Apparent to the throne.

After completing his secondary education at Millfield School in Somerset, England, in 1970, he enrolled at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra, Australia. His education at Duntroon was divided into two parts, military training by the Australian Army and a bachelor's degree course under the auspices of the University of New South Wales. He graduated in 1976 as a newly commissioned lieutenant with a liberal arts degree. In 1982 he completed a second bachelor's degree in law with second-class honours at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University.

Marriage and Family

His Majesty was married to Mom Luang Soamsawali Kittiyakara (now retitled Princess Soamsawali, the Princess Mother of King Bhumibol’s First Grandchild) on 3 January 1977. They divorced in 1993 after having one daughter. Then His Majesty was married again on 10 February 2001 to Miss Srirasmi Suwadee. They were divorced in December 2014. His Majesty has a daughter born of Princess Soamsawali, named Princess Bajrakitiyabha (born 7 December 1978), and a son born of Princess Srirasmi the Royal Consort, named Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti (born 29 April 2005).

Military Training and Career

After completing his studies, His Majesty served as a career officer in the Royal Thai Army. He served as a staff officer in the Directorate of Army Intelligence, attended the Command and General Staff College in 1977. He trained for periods with the US, British, and Australian armed services, studying unconventional warfare and advanced navigation. He is a qualified fixed-wing and helicopter pilot. In 1978 he became head of the King's Own Bodyguard Battalion. Later that year he interrupted his military career to be ordained for a season as a Buddhist monk, as is customary for all Thai Buddhist men. His Majesty holds the ranks of general in the Royal Thai Army, admiral in the Royal Thai Navy, and air chief marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force. He is qualified to pilot the Northrop F-5 and many other aircraft, F-16, and the Boeing 737-400.

Works on Agricultural and Educational Development

Due to his interest in agricultural development, His Majesty has accepted the "Mobile Agricultural Clinic Project” under his patronage. The project provides prompt services to farmers in order to enhance efficiency in farm production and solve farmers’ problems. It comprises experts in various agricultural fields who can advise farmers on plants, livestock, fisheries, and land development. He also offers suggestions on the tackling of agricultural problems, in addition to the application of agricultural technology to increase productivity and the improvement in the quality of agricultural production.

His Majesty is firm in his resolution to promote the education of young Thais, especially those from poor families in backward rural areas. So, he donated money to support the Department of General Education, the Ministry of Education, to build six secondary schools in poor and remote areas. His Majesty accepted all these schools under his royal patronage and donated up-to-date teaching facilities, including computer, television sets and videos, for use at the schools.

In addition, His Majesty set up the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s Scholarship Foundation in 2009, to offer scholarships for Thai students with financial hardship but who have exceptional academic performance and good conduct.

Ten Virtues of the King

For more than 200 years, Thailand has had stability and prosperity under the benevolence of the monarchs of the Chakri Dynasty. Throughout this period, the Thai people have been blessed with peacefulness and happiness. That’s because all the kings of the Chakri Dynasty ruled the country with the basic principle of ten kingly virtues, which is the Buddhist concept of righteousness.

Here are the "ten virtues of the king"

  1. Dana (charity / ทาน), which means giving in a beneficial way: things such as daily necessities, useful knowledge and advice, and forgiveness to those who deserves.
  2. Sila (morality / ศีล), which means maintaining good conduct, not breaching religious morals, laws or any ethical norms, so as to be able to command love and reverence among the people.
  3. Pariccaga (altruism / บริจาค), which means making selfless sacrifice for the greater good of the people and the peace and order of the country.
  4. Ajjava (honesty / ความซื่อตรง), which means loyalty, truthfulness and honesty in the performance of the royal duties.
  5. Maddava (gentleness / ความอ่อนโยน), which means being gentle and open-minded to reasonable advice and admonitions and not being arrogant or willful.
  6. Tapa (self-controlling / ความเพียร), which means diligence in performing the royal duties, leading a simple life and restraining the mind from indulging in sensual pleasure.
  7. Akkodha (non-anger / ความไม่โกรธ), which means not showing anger, not dwelling on hatred or vindictiveness against others, but being compassionate. Failing to observe this may lead to unjust decision.
  8. Avihimsa (non-violence / ความไม่เบียดเบียน), which means not inflicting harm on others, including all living things, but adhering to peace and tranquility for all.
  9. Khanti (forbearance / ความอดทน), which means being patient and persevering against all emotions and abrasive words, and maintaining calmness and composure in body and speech.
  10. Avirodhana (uprightness / ความเที่ยงธรรม), which means being steadfast in righteousness, not allowing any misdeeds, being just in correcting those who do wrong and rewarding those who do right.

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