BANGKOK – A large number of Thais formed a long line in front of the Grand Palace on Thursday for the last opportunity to pay tribute to the body of the late King lying in state in the Throne Hall.
As the period of the mourning visits was set to conclude at midnight, crowds clad in black attire waited to enter the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall, located in the Grand Palace compound, to pay tribute to the body of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, who passed away at the age of 88 on Oct. 13, 2016.
According to the figure given by the Royal Household, at least 12 million people have paid tribute to the late King’s body that has been lying in state since late 2016.
The Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall is one of the centuries-old buildings in the Grand Palace normally inaccessible by the public.
King Rama IX’s Royal Cremation Ceremony will be held on Oct. 26, during which thousands of the armed forces personnel will join a funeral procession and pull the royal chariots, adorned with the late monarch’s coffin and urn, to the Sanam Luang royal ground, where the crematorium has been constructed.
A week-long royal religious ceremony lasts from Oct. 25-29.
The crematorium and the funeral rites will feature symbolic elements from Hinduism and Buddhism.
The Royal Cremation Ceremony is expected to be followed by a coronation of King Vajiralongkorn, who ascended the throne in December 2016.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch who was on the throne for seven decades, passed away after a debilitating illness that kept him hospitalized for most of the last 10 years of his life.
The late King was until his death the only monarch ever known to most Thais, and was revered by his people as an almost divine being and a symbol of unity guiding the nation.