Crown prince formally becomes Thailand’s new king
BANGKOK – The Associated PressThailand has a new king, with the country’s crown prince formally taking the throne to succeed his much-revered late father, who reigned for 70 years.
The new monarch, who received the title “His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun,” assumed his new position Dec. 1, according to an announcement broadcast on all TV channels. He will also be known as Rama X, the tenth king in the Chakri dynasty that was founded in 1782.
A videotaped broadcast showed senior officials presenting the formal invitation to the prince to become king, and then his acceptance. It then showed the officials prostrate themselves at the feet of the new king, who was wearing a formal white uniform with decorations.
Vajiralongkorn’s father, Bhumibol Adulyadej, died on Oct. 13 at age 88 after many years of ill health. In 1972, Bhumibol designated Vajiralongkorn - his second child and only son - as his successor.
“I would like to accept in order to fulfill his majesty’s wishes and for the benefit of all Thais,” Vajiralongkorn said in the videotape.
Vajiralongkorn, 64, was originally expected to assume the throne the day his father died, but in a surprise announcement, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the prince asked for the succession to be put off so he would have time to mourn.
Prayuth said Dec. 1 night that because of tradition that the throne should not remain vacant, the new king’s reign will be considered as beginning on the day Bhumibol died.
“His majesty the new king, the beloved son of the late king, will carry forward his leadership and legacy,” he said.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy - although currently under military rule - but Bhumibol played an important role in stabilizing his country through a time of enormous change which saw neighboring monarchies collapse under the pressures of the Vietnam War. He was especially known for his energy in development activities, doing hands-on inspections in remote rural areas. He calmed the country through several political crises.