Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn paid his respects to his country’s sacred Emerald Buddha and lit a candle at exactly 4.19pm today on the eve of his three-day coronation.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is also known by the title of King Rama X, was joined by his wife Queen Suthida for the ceremony which saw 80 monks chant as he lit the candle at the ‘propitious’ time, decided by astrologists.
Today’s preparations also saw a golden plaque bearing his official name and title moved from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to the Grand Palace in a beautiful ceremony.
Incredible photographs show royal guards in brightly-coloured uniforms marching along as senior officials transferred the plaque as well as the king’s horoscope and royal seal.
The three items, which were made in a three-hour ritual last week, will be presented to the king on Saturday by the chief Brahmin, along with five royal regalia, the symbols of kingship in Thailand.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn lights a candle with Queen Suthida behind him during a ceremony to pay homage to his ancestors
The king is presented with a lighter from a golden box before lighting the candles at the Paisarn Taksin Throne Hall
Preparations for Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s coronation began earlier today as a golden plaque bearing his official name and title was moved from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to the Grand Palace in a beautiful ceremony
Royal guards with traditional drums were seen marching during the transfer of the plaque as well as the king’s horoscope and royal seal
Pictured: the Royal Golden plaque bearing the king’s official title, the king’s horoscope, and the royal seal of state as they are moved
The three items, which were made in a three-hour ritual last week, will be presented to the king on Saturday. Here, they are moved to the Baisal Daksin Throne Hall in Bangkok
Tomorrow’s coronation will be the first the country has seen in 69 years, since his father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was crowned in 1950.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 66, became a constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father in October 2016, after 70 years on the throne.
Ahead of the grand ceremonies, the king said he would grant royal pardons to some prisoners to ‘give them a chance to become good citizens’, according to the Royal Gazette.
Tomorrow’s coronation will be the first the country has seen in 69 years. Pictured: a portrait of the Thai king outside the Grand Palace
Yesterday King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 66, and his new wife Queen Suthida paid their respects at the Bangkok City Pollar Shrine
Here, Thai royal guards are seen praying in front of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall at the Royal Plaza, having removed their helmets and set down their instruments
Pictured: a well-wisher holds up a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn as he prepares for his three-day coronation which will start tomorrow
Pictured: royal guards marching with traditional drums as they made their way to the Grand Palace carrying the royal golden plaque
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 66, became a constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father in October 2016, after 70 years on the throne
Pictured: royal Thai police stand guard near the Grand Palace in Bangkok after the king paid his respects to the sacred Emerald Buddha
The document, which will take effect on Saturday, listed many criteria for prisoners who are eligible for the pardon, including those with disabilities, chronic or terminal diseases, or those with one year left to serve.
The king will also reduce sentences for some prisoners, including those imprisoned for life, and commute inmates’ death sentences to life.
It is not yet clear how many people will qualify for the pardons.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn married his long-term consort Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya in accordance with royal traditions, an announcement in the Royal Gazette said yesterday.
Queen Suthida, as she will now be known, is a former Thai Airways flight attendant and was previously given the rank of ‘general’ in 2017 after serving as part of his personal security retinue.
During the ceremony, Suthida was pictured lying at her husband’s feet as he handed her a gift. Thai royal traditions dictate that the ruling king is to be regarded as god-like and semi-divine, and as a result, he must sit higher than everyone else, which explains the deferential positioning.
Thai royal guards kneel and pray in front of a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn at the Royal Plaza earlier today
Ahead of the grand ceremonies, the king said he would grant royal pardons to some prisoners to ‘give them a chance to become good citizens’, according to the Royal Gazette
Pictured: royal guards marching from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to the Baisal Daksin Throne Hall
Yesterday, King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida paid their respects at the memorial of King Rama I in Bangkok
Armed members of the Thai royal guard were seen marching outside the walls of the Grand Palace in Bangkok
Pictured: Members of the royal Thai police stand in formation under a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn near the Grand Palace
Once the royal couple is seated, the bride is able to sit alongside her husband – as Queen Suthida is shown doing in images from the wedding.
Vajiralongkorn, who has been married three times, is due to be crowned the 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty.
Harsh lese-majeste laws have shielded public scrutiny of his colourful private life, and all media in Thailand must self-censor.
In 2016, he was spotted wearing a tight, white crop top, his body adorned with temporary tattoos and holding a white fluffy poodle, while standing next to his consort.
During an attempted coup in Thailand in 2014, a film was published online of his third wife dressed in nothing but a black G-string while she sang happy birthday to the royal couple’s beloved pet poodle, Fufu.
Who is the playboy prince that became king? Thai monarch has spent most of his life overseas and been married three times before
King Maha was born on July 24, 1952 in Bangkok’s Royal Dusit Palace, the 64-year-old is the only son and male heir of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit.
As an adolescent he studied at two public schools in Britain, including King’s Mead School, Seaford, Sussex, and then at Millfield School, Somerset. After, he embarked on a military career, training in Australia.
In 1976, he graduated as a newly commissioned lieutenant with a liberal arts bachelors degree from the University of New South Wales.
Pictured: Queen Sirikit of Thailand with Prince Maha (left) and Princess Rajakanya in 1953
King Maha was born on July 24, 1952 in Bangkok’s Royal Dusit Palace. As an adolescent he studied at two public schools in Britain
After graduating he started a career in the military training with US, British and Australian armed forces. He also qualified as a a fixed wing helicopter pilot in the late 1970s in the Royal Thai Army.
His military career was interrupted in 1978 so he could be ordained for a season as a Buddhist monk, as is customary for all Thai Buddhist men.
He married his first wife in 1977, a cousin, Princess Soamsavali Kitiyakara, with whom he has a daughter, Princess Bajrakitiyabha in 1978. They divorced in 1993.
He wed his first cousin Soamsawali Kitiyakara (left) in January 1977 but nine months after she gave birth to his daughter the prince had a son with actress Yuvadhida Polpraserth
The King, a licensed pilot, in the cockpit of a fighter jet with one of his five children
Nine months after his daughter was born, the prince had a son with actress Yuvadhida Polpraserth, with whom he went on to have a total of five children and a tumultuous relationship.
Three years later his relationship broke down with Ms Polpraserth as she fled to the UK in 1996, after a spectacular bust up.
In 2001 he wed his third wife Srirasmi Suwadee, describing her as a ‘modest and patient’ woman who ‘never says bad things towards anyone’ and like his previous relationships there were to be a number of controversies in their time together.
In 2007, footage published online showed the couple throwing a party for his pet poodle – who held the rank of Air Chief Marshall – at the Royal Palace in Bangkok. Princess Srirasmi, a former waitress, who sang happy birthday to the dog topless, also got on her knees and ate from a dog bowl in the same video.
Footage from 2007 shows Prince Maha throwing a birthday party for his pet poodle Fufu – who held the rank of Air Chief Marshall – at the Royal Palace in Bangkok. Pictured: His third wife dressed in nothing more than a G-string to celebrate Fufu’s birthday
In 2001 he wed his third wife Srirasmi Suwadee (pictured with their son Dipangkom Rasmijoti), describing her as a ‘modest and patient’ woman who ‘never says bad things towards anyone’
In late 2014, Srirasmi suffered a very public fall from grace when several members of her family were arrested as part of a police corruption probe and charged with lese majeste (treason).
Vajiralongkorn later divorced her and she lost her royal titles . The crown prince has spent much of his time away from the public eye, but in recent years he has stepped in at some official ceremonies as his father’s health declined.
Despite holding a number of military titles, including Knight of the Ancient and Auspicious Order of the Nine Gems, the prince admitted to an interviewer he was unable to tie his own shoe laces aged 12 because courtiers had always done it for him.
The crown prince has spent much of his time away from the public eye, living overseas in Germany, but in recent years he has stepped in at some official ceremonies as his father’s health declined.
In August 2015 he led key figures of the current junta and thousands of others in a mass bike ride through Bangkok, a rare high-profile appearance.
He was drafted in as King in October 2016, 50 days after the death of his father, the highly revered Bhumibol Adulyadej. He had to fly back from Germany after learning of his father’s deteriorating health in the days before.
Thai junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that the Crown Prince would ascend the throne with tthe statement: ‘The government will inform the National Legislative Assembly that His Majesty the King appointed his heir on Dec. 28, 1972.’
However, in a shock move he requested to delay his coronation and ascension to the throne for a year to mourn the passing of his father.