Death and funeral of Bhumibol Adulyadej

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Death and funeral of Bhumibol Adulyadej
Royal urn of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the first procession of the royal cremation ceremony.jpg
The royal urn of the King Bhumibol Adulyadej, being transported upon the Golden Palanquin with Three Poles (Phra Yannamas Sam Lam Khan), in the first procession of the king's royal cremation ceremony on 26 October 2017
Date October 13, 2016 (death)
October 26, 2017 (funeral)
Location Dusit Maha Prasat Hall, Grand Palace, Bangkok
Participants Thai Royal Family

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died at the age of 88, on 13 October 2016, after a long illness. A year-long period of mourning was subsequently announced. A royal cremation ceremony took place over five days at the end of October 2017. The actual cremation, which was not broadcast on television, was held in the late evening of 26 October 2017.[1][2] Following cremation his remains and ashes were taken to the Grand Palace and were enshrined at the Chakri Maha Phasat Throne Hall (royal remains), the Royal Cemetery at Wat Ratchabophit and the Wat Bowonniwet Vihara Royal Temple (royal ashes). Following burial, the mourning period officially ended on midnight of 30 October 2017 and Thais have resumed wearing regular colours, while awaiting the future coronation of King Vajiralongkorn, which will be set at a later date.[3]

Illness and death

King Bhumibol Adulyadej had been treated at Siriraj Hospital since 3 October 2014.[4] The king had a high fever due to sepsis, which improved following antibiotics treatment.[5] Until 28 September 2016, King Bhumibol developed a low grade fever as a consequence of pneumonitis and required further treatment with antibiotics. The king subsequently developed organ failure owing to hypotension and became dependent on hemodialysis due to kidney failure. King Bhumibol's condition became significantly unstable due to evolving acute hepatitis.[6]

The king died at Siriraj Hospital on 13 October 2016 at 15:52 local time, as announced by the Bureau of the Royal Household on the same date.[7][8]

Reactions

Funeral

Thai national flag flown at half mast at defence ministry building on 28 October 2016

On 14 October 2016, the body of the late king was carried by an autocade from Siriraj Hospital to the Grand Palace. His body left Gate 8 of the hospital around 16:30. As the cortege passed Arun Ammarin Road, Phra Pin Klao Bridge, and Ratchadamnoen Road, crowds of Thais, most clad in black and many openly sobbing, paid homage. Led by Somdej Phra Vanarata (Chun Brahmagutto), the abbot of Wat Bowonniwet Vihara, the autocade entered the palace via Thewaphirom Gate. Upon arrival at the palace, the body was given the bathing rite, presided over by the late king's son, King Vajiralongkorn. The event was live broadcast on television by the television pool of Thailand.[9][10]

The general public were allowed to take part in a symbolic bathing rite in front of the king's portrait at Sahathai Samakhom Pavilion within the Grand Palace later that day.[11]

Lying in State

The king's body lay in state in the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall of the Grand Palace for a period of one year, with daily rites for a period of 100 days. As in the funerals of the king's mother and sister, the king's body was not physically placed in the royal funerary urn (kot) as was customary; instead, the coffin which housed the body was placed behind the pedestal displaying the royal urn.[12] Special rites attended by King Vajiralongkorn were held to mark the 7th, 15th, 50th and 100th days since the king's death. After the 15th day, the public were allowed to pay their respects and attend the lying-in-state in the Grand Palace. By the end of the allowed public attendance on 30 September 2017 (later pushed forward to 5 October the same year), over 12 million people had paid their respects in person, a historic record crowd that, including foreign tourists and expats living in Thailand, broke all-time attendance records[13] and left an estimated 890 million baht in donations for the royal charity activities.[14]

The foreign dignitaries who attended the lying-in-state or paid respect at the Grand Palace were as follows (by order of their visit):[15]

Country Title Dignitary Date
 Bhutan King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck 16 October 2016[16]
Queen of Bhutan Jetsun Pema
 Bahrain Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa 18 October 2016[17]
 Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong[18] 21 October 2016
 Maldives Special Envoy of the President Mohamed Saeed[19]
 Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak [20] 22 October 2016
 Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen [21]
Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh[citation needed]
 China Special Envoy of the President Li Yuanchao [22]
 Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith [23] 24 October 2016
 Singapore President Tony Tan[24]
 Indonesia President Joko Widodo [25] 25 October 2016
 Gambia Special Envoy of the President Bala Garba Jahumpa[citation needed]
 Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc 28 October 2016[26]
 Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena 30 October 2016[27]
 Lesotho King of Lesotho Letsie III 2 November 2016[28]
 Myanmar President Htin Kyaw [29] 9 November 2016
 Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte [30]
 Belgium Special Envoy of the King Nicolas Nihon
 India Prime Minister Narendra Modi 10 November 2016[31]
 Bangladesh Special Envoy of the President Tarana Halim [32] 15 November 2016
 Tonga Crown Prince of Tonga Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala
 Timor Leste Special Envoy of the President Hernâni Coelho 16 November 2016[citation needed]
 Russia Special Envoy of the President Andrey Klishas 30 November 2016
 Bhutan Queen Grandmother of Bhutan Kesang Choden 20 December 2016
Princess of Bhutan Pema Lhaden
 Japan Emperor of Japan Akihito 5 March 2017[33]
Empress of Japan Michiko
 Bahrain King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa 5 May 2017
   Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari 12 May 2017
 Lithuania President Dalia Grybauskaitė 14 May 2017
 Chile Special Envoy of the President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle 1 June 2017
 New Zealand Minister of Trade Todd McClay 24 July 2017
 Australia Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop 3 August 2017
 Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam 4 August 2017
 United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson 8 August 2017[34]
 Tonga King of Tonga Tupou VI 27 September 2017
Queen of Tonga Nanasipauʻu Tukuʻaho
 Bhutan Queen mother of Bhutan Tshering Yangdon 6 October 2017
Sangay Choden

Special nationwide services in all Buddhist temples together with a general 100th day memorial service were held to mark the 100 day mark since his death on 20 January 2017 with HM King Vajiralongkorn presiding over the national service.[35]

On 28 February 2017, a special Royal Kong Tek (Gongde) ceremony was held, presided by HM King Vajiralongkorn at the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall and was led by monks from the Thai Chinese Buddhist community in the Bangkok area. The service was in keeping with Chinese Buddhist rites and customs regarding the dead. The Kong Tek ceremony was a Buddhist religious ceremony unique to the Chinese wherein the deceased, together with his personal effects and clothing, was transferred ceremonially to the next life, with special prayers and chants sung by monks. The event was unprecedented since it was the first time such a ritual was held for any member of the Thai royal family in an official capacity.[36]

Cremation

The Royal Crematorium
The Royal Crematorium during construction, as seen on 27 April 2017.
Renovation of chariots and palanquins in April 2017 at the Bangkok National Museum for the funeral processions in October 2017.

The public square Sanam Luang will be used as the cremation ground, where the construction of an elaborate, temporary crematorium was started in early 2017 and was expected to take more than one year to complete.[37] The government granted one billion baht, deducted from central budget, to cover the construction.[38] Once the cremation is over, the crematorium will be torn down.[39]

Designs for the cremation complex were officially unveiled on 28 October 2016, and a special ceremony was held on 19 December for the royal funeral chariots to be used at the Bangkok National Museum.[40][41][42] The construction work for the complex will officially commence on 27 February 2017 with the building of the central column with a September target completion date.[43][44] The crematorium, when built, will be the biggest, largest and tallest yet since the state cremation rites for King Rama V (Chulalongkorn) in 1911, and unlike past state cremations, will be at the larger northern segment of the Sanam Luang Royal Square instead of the southern segment where cremations were held before.[45]

On 19 November the Ministry of Culture's Fine Arts Department head Anant Chuchote visited Nakhon Pathom, where the royal funeral urns have been manufactured for centuries out of old sandalwood trees. He asked for public support and assistance for the making of the royal urn alongside 150 artisans from the Traditional Arts Office.[46] The department issued a job hiring call in the middle of January 2017 for prospective workers in the Sanam Luang royal crematorium complex and for the needed chariot repair and upgrading works.[47]

As of 12 February 2017, the government pavilion and the Buddhist chapel were under construction. Concurrently, the Royal Thai Army began manufacturing a new royal cannon chariot for the state cremation ceremonies, a first after many years, timed to be completed in April 2017 for delivery to the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture.[48] The designs of the buildings combine both Thai traditional and modern building design and construction methods.[49]

The construction process for the royal crematiorium itself commenced with due ceremony on the morning of 27 February 2017 in the Sanam Luang Plaza, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Thailand Gen (ret) Prayut Chan-o-cha. At the right moment, the central steel beam of the building was hoisted using a crane towards its spot in the plaza worksite after a Buddhist blessing was bestowed on it.[50]

By 1 April, the crematorium complex area had seen construction work faster than the usual practice for royal cremations, with all buildings in the middle of the construction phrase earlier than expected. The FAD had also been tasked to undergo a major design remodeling for the main royal urn to be used in the ceremonies and an October date is expected to be chosen for the events.[51][52] The cannon chariot which was based on those used in British state and royal funerals was officially finished by the end of the month and delivered to the FAD so that the decoration process can begin in time for their debut in the funeral events later in the year.[53]

The national cremation in the Sanam Luang Plaza took place on 26 October 2017, 13 days after the 1st anniversary of the King's death. Just as in past state cremations since 1995, a special Khon performance was held in the plaza grounds, organized by The Foundation of the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand (SUPPORT) and the Bunditphatthanasilpa Institute.[54] Given the huge importance of such an event, the official practice runs for this began as early as 15–16 May with the RTA Ordnance Division spearheading the runs simulating the funeral procession of the major chariots at Saraburi province, with two military vehicles to serve as simulators.[55] For the royal puppet show, it was the first ever to feature a woman performer in keeping with the modern age - Ancharika Noosingha, 43 years old, who was the first lady royal puppeter in history, keeping a historic tradition from the Ayutthaya period.[56] The Fine Arts Department Royal Music and Drama Office organized the puppet play and its personnel form part of the cast who will perform on the cremation night.

The Nation reported on 11 May that the funeral crematorium and the monastic pavilion are almost ready for an early completion, the fastest yet for royal funerals in the modern era, and the prefabrication processes for the decorations to be used in the buildings are at the final stage.[57] At the same time, the sandalwood corn flowers used for state funerals were made to be used by citizens and foreign attendants attending the services, as the kalamet flowers, protected by law, will only be used in the royal crematorium.[58] The practice of making flowers from corn leaves, through, was a modern practice which began in 1925 during the state funeral of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI).

As of 24 September more than 5,500 people signed up to volunteer to serve during the cremation days.[59] To encourage greater public participation, several Thai provincial capitals had been building replica crematoriums to serve people who cannot be in Bangkok to pay their last respects on the cremation date[60] while both the public and tourists joining the events rode the Bangkok MRT system and the BTS Skytrain lines during the cremation days free of charge, as well as on the public ferries at Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem (Hua Lamphong-Thewarat Market) and Khlong Pasicharoen (Phetchkasem 69-Pratunam Pasicharoen) and the Bangkok BRT.[61] The Ministry of Public Health was expected to deploy huge numbers of medical personnel to serve the public and foreign visitors during these days and provide medical assistance.[62] While social media live reports are prohibited for the TV networks (which broadcast the bilingual coverage of the events via the state Television Pool of Thailand and was aired via satellite and streamed worldwide online in both English and Thai via the official funeral webpage, the RTA Thai Global Network, NBT World and the YouTube channel of Thai PBS, the first time this has ever been done), people will still post live feeds but with difficulty and the national and international press have been given a special media center at the Thammasat University.[63]

In early August, plans were finalized to open the cremation site for public and tourist visitation after the cremation ceremonies.[64]

Foreign dignitaries attending the funeral

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said of the 42 countries represented, 24 countries had their royal heads of states, heads of states and royal family members attending the ceremony, and 18 countries will have had their deputy heads of states, government leaders, and special representatives attending the ceremony.[65][66]

Royal Guests

Country Person Title
 Belgium Queen Mathilde Queen of the Belgians
 Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Queen Jetsun Pema
King and Queen of Bhutan
 Tonga King Tupou VI
Queen Nanasipauʻu Tukuʻaho
King and Queen of Tonga
 Denmark Crown Prince Frederik Crown Prince of Denmark
 Japan Prince Akishino
Princess Akishino
Prince of Japan and consort
 Netherlands Queen Máxima Queen consort of Netherlands
 Lesotho King Letsie III
Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso
King and Queen of Lesotho
 Liechtenstein Princess Margaretha Princess of Liechtenstein
 Luxembourg Prince Guillaume Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg
 Malaysia Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak
Raja Permaisuri Tuanku Zara Salim
Sultan of Perak and Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong XV
Raja Permaisuri of Perak and Deputy Raja Permaisuri Agong XV
 Norway Crown Prince Haakon Crown Prince of Norway
 Qatar Prince Thani bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Prince of Qatar
 Spain Queen Sofía Former Queen consort of Spain
 Sweden Queen Silvia Queen consort of Sweden
 United Kingdom Prince Andrew Duke of York

Others

Country Person Title
 Australia General Sir Peter Cosgrove
Lynne, Lady Cosgrove
Governor General of Australia and consort
 Bahrain Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa Prime Minister of Bahrain
 Bangladesh Shahriar Alam Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
 Brunei Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
 Canada Julie Payette Governor General of Canada
 Cambodia Hun Sen Prime Minister of Cambodia
 China Zhang Gaoli Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
 France Jean-Marc Ayrault
Brigitte Ayrault
Former prime minister of France and wife
 Germany Christian Wulff Former president of Germany
 Holy See Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal
 India M. J. Akbar Minister of State for External Affairs
 Indonesia Megawati Sukarnoputri Former president of Indonesia
 South Korea Park Ju-seon Vice Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea
 Laos Bounnhang Vorachith
Khammueng Vorachith
President of Laos and wife
 Myanmar Htin Kyaw
Su Su Lwin
President of Myanmar and wife
   Nepal Bhimsen Das Pradhan
Bidya Banmali Pradhan
Minister of Defence and wife
 New Zealand Jim Bolger Former prime minister of New Zealand
 Pakistan Awais Leghari Minister without portfolio
 Philippines Alan Peter Cayetano
Lani Cayetano
Secretary of Foreign Affairs and wife
 Russia Olga Epifanova Deputy chairperson of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
 Singapore Halimah Yacob
Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee
President of Singapore and husband
 Sri Lanka Tilak Marapana
Stella Marapana
Minister of Foreign Affairs and wife
 Swaziland Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini Prime Minister of Swaziland
  Switzerland Joseph Deiss Former president of Switzerland
 Turkey Fikri Işık Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
 United States General James Mattis Secretary of Defense
 Vietnam Đặng Thị Ngọc Thịnh Vice President of Vietnam

Timeline of the royal cremation

  • 15 May to 29 September - Practice runs for the chariot carriers, drivers and rope holders in Saraburi and later in Bangkok
  • 23 May - 1st Service of Holy Merit at the Royal Plaza, Bangkok
  • 9 June - 2nd Service of Holy Merit at the Royal Plaza, Bangkok
  • 22 August - 3rd Service of Holy Merit at the Royal Plaza, Bangkok
  • 21 September - National rededication ceremonies for the royal funeral carriages at the Bangkok National Museum[67]
  • 5 October- Final day for public visitation to the Royal Urn and coffin at the Dusit Maha Phasat Throne Hall of the Grand Palace, Bangkok[68]
  • 7 October - 1st General practice run of the funeral procession in Bangkok (from the Grand Palace to the Sanam Luang Royal Plaza)
  • 13 October - National remembrance services in honor of the 1st anniversary of the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX).
  • 15 October - 2nd General practice run of the funeral procession in Bangkok
  • 18 October - The ceremonial installation of the Royal Nine-Tiered Umbrella over the royal crematorium by King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X)[69]
  • 21 October - 3rd general practice run of the funeral procession in Bangkok
  • 22 October - 4th and final practice run of the funeral procession in Bangkok and final practice run for the cremation services
  • 25 October
    • 15:01 (UTC+07:00): Final afternoon and night vigil services before the Royal Urn and Coffin at the Dusit Maha Phasat Throne Hall of the Grand Palace, Bangkok[70]
  • 26 October - National cremation services
    • 07:00: Morning services of merit and farewell ceremony of the Royal Urn and Coffin
    • 09:00 - 14:00: Funeral procession from the Dusit Maha Phasat Throne Hall to the Royal Crematorium at the Sanam Luang Royal Plaza
    • 16:45: Afternoon memorial merit service
    • 17:30: Ceremonial first lighting of the funeral pyre and final honours by the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard and the 1st Artillery Battalion, King's Guard on behalf of the Royal Thai Armed Forces (three-volley salute and 21-gun salute)[71]
    • 22:00: Royal cremation proper and outdoor Khon and Nang yai performances, puppet show, musical concert and ballet performance starting at 1800h[72][73][74]
      • Note: The cremation itself was not broadcast on the Television Pool, nor even was it live streamed as well online, only a press statement released, although the cremation was recorded by mourners and subsequently uploaded on YouTube and Facebook hours after.[75]
  • 27 October: Day of the removal of the royal ashes and relics
    • 07:00: Removal of the royal ashes and relics from the crematorium followed by a breakfast service
    • 08:30: Royal procession of the transfer of the royal ashes and relics to the Dusit Maha Phasat Throne Hall of the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
  • 28 October
    • 17:30: Final service of merit before the royal relics and ashes and dinner
  • 29 October - Official final day of the mourning period
    • 09:00: Morning service of merit followed by breakfast
    • 11:00: Departure honors of the royal relics and remains and procession
    • 11:35: Ceremony of internment of the royal relics to the Heavenly Abode Room, Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall of the Grand Palace
    • 16:00: Departure honors of the royal ashes
    • 17:40: Internment service of the royal ashes at the Royal Cemetery at Wat Ratchabophit followed by a procession to the Wat Bowonniwet Vihara Royal Temple and a final memorial interment service

Broadcast schedule for the Television Pool of Thailand

to be livestreamed both in Thai and English via the official funeral website and FB page, NBT World and the Thai PBS and Channel 9 MCOT HD YouTube pages

  • Wednesday, 25 October
    • 14:00 (UTC+07:00): Official beginning of the marathon bilingual coverage
    • 15:01: Final afternoon and night vigil services before the Royal Urn and Coffin at the Dusit Maha Phasat Throne Hall of the Grand Palace, Bangkok
  • Thursday, 26 October
    • 07:00: Morning services of merit and farewell ceremony of the Royal Urn and Coffin
    • 09:00 - 11:30: Funeral procession from the Dusit Maha Phasat Throne Hall to the Royal Crematorium at the Sanam Luang Royal Plaza
    • 16:50: Afternoon memorial merit service
    • 17:31: Ceremonial first lighting of the funeral pyre and final honours by the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard and the 1st Artillery Battalion, King's Guard on behalf of the Royal Thai Armed Forces (three-volley salute and 21-gun salute)
    • 18:00: Outdoor Khon and Nang yai performances, puppet show, musical concert and ballet performance
      • Spilt coverage across all channels and online:[76]
        • Outdoor Khon and Nang yai performances: Channel 9 MCOT HD, RTA Channel 5 and Thai Global Network, TNN24, Spring News, Voice TV, Nation TV, Amarin TV and PPTV
        • Puppet show and Lakhon nai: Channel 3, Thai PBS and Thai PBS YouTube, Thairath TV, New TV, Workpoint, Now26, True4u and Thai Parliament Television
        • Musical concert and ballet: NBT and NBT World, Channel 7, Channel 8, Mono TV, One Channel, GMM25 and Bright TV
    • 22:01: Royal cremation proper
      (As stated earlier, not broadcast by the Television Pool nor live streamed)
  • Friday, 27 October
    • 07:00: Removal of the royal ashes and relics from the crematorium followed by a breakfast service
    • 08:30: Royal procession of the transfer of the royal ashes and relics to the Dusit Maha Phasat Throne Hall of the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
  • Saturday, 28 October
    • 17:00: Final service of merit before the royal relics and ashes and dinner
  • Sunday, 29 October - Official final day of the mourning period
    • 09:00: Morning service of merit followed by breakfast
    • 11:00: Departure honors of the royal relics and remains and procession
    • 11:35: Ceremony of internment of the royal relics to the Heavenly Abode Room, Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall of the Grand Palace
    • 16:00: Departure honors of the royal ashes
    • 17:40: Internment service of the royal ashes at the Royal Cemetery at Wat Ratchabophit followed by a procession to the Wat Bowonniwet Vihara Royal Temple and a final memorial interment service

Full order of the funeral procession towards Sanam Luang

From the Deva Phirom gate towards the southeastern end of the Grand Palace walls

From the Wat Pho Temple to the Royal Crematorium at the Sanam Luang Royal Plaza

  • Two cavalry troopers from the Royal Thai Police
  • 1st Massed military bands of the 1st Division, King's Guard, First Army, RTA
    • Band of the 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard
    • Band of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard
    • Band of the 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, King's Guard
    • Regimental Band of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy
  • Parade commander and staff
  • 1st Guards Regiment (Cadets)
  • Prakhom band from the Bureau of the Royal Household and 4 Court Brahmins from Devasathan Temple
  • Royal horses and their handlers
  • The Supreme Patriarch's Minor Royal Carriage (Ratcharoth Noi) carrying the designated representative of HH Ariyavongsagatanana VIII, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, carried by 74 RTA servicemen and escorted by 16 fan holders, 8 on each side
  • Royal regalia and flower bearers
  • HE Gen (Rtd) Prayut Chan-o-cha, RTA, the Prime Minister of Thailand and representatives of the national royal funeral committee, and Gen Thanchaiyan Srisuwan, RTA, the Chief of Defence Forces
  • Standard bearer of the Royal Flag of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)
  • The Grand Royal Funeral Carriage/Royal Great Victory Carriage (Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharoth) carrying the symbolic Royal Urn, pulled by 216 servicemen of the RTA and escorted by 48 Royal Guards and 16 pole bearers carrying gold and silver flower offerings, 8 on each side of the wheeled chariot
  • Delegation of the Royal Family of Thailand escorted by personnel of the 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard
    • Royal Standard Bearers
    • HM King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X)
    • HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the Princess Royal
    • HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha
    • HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana
    • HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak
    • Royal pages and assistants to the Royal Family
    • Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Family and Household of Thailand
    • Other officials of the BRH
  • 2nd Massed military bands of the 1st Division, King's Guard, First Army, RTA
  • Representatives of schools and business establishments with royal patronage and of the late King's royal projects
  • 2nd Guards Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard
    • 5th Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, King's Guard

Mourning

King's portrait displayed at Sanam Luang for public mourning
Thai people wait to pay homage to the King's body which lay in state at Phra Thinang Dusit Maha Prasat.

The government declared a year-long mourning period for Bhumibol. Citizens were asked to refrain from participating in "joyful events" and entertainment for 30 days following his death; as a result, a number of events, including sports (such as the Thai League football season, which ended entirely),[77] were cancelled or postponed. Entertainment outlets such as cinemas, nightclubs and theatres announced that they would shut down or operate under reduced hours during this period.[78][79][80] The mourning period prompted concerns from Thailand's tourism industry, which felt that the mood of the country, as well as the cancelled events, would reduce interest in visiting Thailand.[79]

Upon the announcement of his death, all television channels suspended regular programming and simulcast special programmes from the television pool of Thailand, which consisted of monochrome videos and photos of Bhumibol, and coverage of royal events. International channels were also blacked out and replaced by this programming. Following the funeral procession on 14 October 2016, the channels continued to air the pooled tribute content until midnight local time, after which they were allowed to resume regular programming. However, for the remainder of the 30-day mourning period, all broadcasters were forbidden from broadcasting programmes that featured "any element of entertainment, dancing, joy, violence, impoliteness or overly expressed emotion", nor any non-official information, speculation or criticism related to the deceased King and his successor. Most Thai media outlets and websites switched to greyscale colour schemes as well.[81][82] After a brief return to monochrome for the King's 1st death anniversary on 13 October 2017, colour television broadcasts, with the same restrictions are before, resumed on 19 October the same year.[83]

Out of respect for the mourning, many Thai malls, including all Central Pattana and The Mall Group properties, chose not to install extensive Christmas displays and decorations for the holiday season. Some installed memorials to Bhumibol instead.[84]

Aftermath

Since the death of the king, ultra-royalists in Thailand have criticized and harassed those who did not wear mourning black.[85] They also subjected to witch-hunts people whom they accused of disrespecting the deceased monarch. On 14 October 2016, angry ultra-royalist groups in Phuket Province thronged the residence of a man who posted on social media a number of comments which they thought offensive to the late king and violated the lèse-majesté law, despite the local police having declared that the comments were not in breach of the law. The groups dispersed after the police agreed to prosecute the man for the crime of lèse-majesté.[86][87] Similar incidents happened on the following day in Phang Nga Province.[85]

In November 2016, Nangrong School in Buriram Province seized colourful winter jackets from students and required them to wear those in mourning colours only. The students were reportedly distressed to lose their jackets due to the cold weather, and many did not own multiple warm articles of clothing.[88]

On 28 November, the director of a public school in Ranong Province was removed from office for not wearing mourning black on her first day at work.[89]

The National Council for Peace and Order, the junta ruling Thailand, also announced after the death of Bhumibol that it will hunt down lèse-majesté fugitives.[90]

References

  1. ^ "Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, world's longest-reigning monarch, dies". Reuters. 13 October 2016 – via The Hindu. 
  2. ^ "Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej dead at 88". BBC News. 13 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Thai Royal Burial Sites". 
  4. ^ "Siriraj Hospital plans statue, museum for the King". Bangkok Post. 20 Oct 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Tanakasempipat, Patpicha; Thepgumpanat, Panarat (16 February 2016). "Thai king recovers from infection, fever still high – palace statement". Reuters. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Paddock, Richard C. (12 October 2016). "Worries Over King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Health Shake Thailand". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  7. ^ "Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej dies, aged 88". The Straits Times. Retrieved 13 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Beloved Thai king dies after long illness: palace". Retrieved 13 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Thousands line the streets of Bangkok as a convoy returns Thailand's king to his Grand Palace and the crown prince presides over the bathing of his body in a traditional Buddhist funeral rite". Daily Mail. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "Thousands flock to cortege". Bangkok Post. 15 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
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Further reading

  • Head, Jonathan (16 October 2016). "Thai king's death: Who holds power now?". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  • "Thailand King Bhumibol's death , after 70 years of reign". Death-notices.co.uk. London: Interpress. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  • The Committee on Public Relations for the Royal Cremation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (2017). Media Guide: Royal Cremation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej 25–29 October 2017. 
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