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  HOME | Society (Click here for more)

Thailand Plans Royal Celebrations for 70th Anniversary of King Bhumibol

BANGKOK - Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the longest-reigning living monarch in the world, will on Jun. 9 celebrate his 70th anniversary on the throne.

Celebrations are being planned by the Thai government and the Royal Household Bureau, including a tribute-paying ceremony in which 770 monks ordained during the event will chant blessings at the main chapel of Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha).

Countrywide exhibitions and a special concert, fireworks display and light and sound show in the capital are also planned for the public to celebrate the anniversary of the King's accession to the throne.

The Bank of Thailand has also announced that to mark the special occasion it has printed 20 million banknotes of 70-baht denomination, which will be made available to the public on Jun. 9 for 100 baht per note.

The nationwide celebrations will come just days after the King, 88, was examined in hospital for a few "irregular contractions of the heart muscles", according to the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary's statement on Jun. 2.

The King, also referred to as Rama IX, has been admitted to hospital several times over the past six years in a delicate state of health.

Nervousness over his health and the succession to the throne has formed the backdrop to a decade of political crises in the country, where the military seized power in a coup in May 2014.

The King last made a rare public appearance on Jan. 11 when he briefly visited Chitralada Palace in Bangkok.

Although the King began his reign on Jun. 9, 1946 following the death of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, his coronation did not take place until May 5, 1950, "a week after he got married" to the current Queen Sirikit, according to an official biography.

Although he rules as a constitutional monarch with no formal political role, he is regarded as a stabilizing figure for the politically-divided country.

For most Thais, the monarch is considered a semi-divine being, the symbol of unity and the guide of the nation.

 

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