Recorded as one of the most significant events in Thai history, the Coronation of King Rama X of the Royal House of Chakri has brought great joy and happiness to the Thai people of the whole Kingdom.
The Royal Coronation Ceremony, scheduled for May 4-6, 2019, was considered sacred, with the highest honours bestowed in accordance with royal traditions handed down through generations. The magnificent Thai arts and culture demonstrated during the elaborate process of the three-day coronation ceremony left lasting memories and impressions for the Thai people who take pride in their rich culture and long history.
Royal Purification: Ceremony to Complete the Procedure of the King’s Enthronement
The Coronation of King Rama X began on May 4, 2019, when His Majesty the King performed the ceremonial bathing rite of purification. This rite is considered very important, as part of the Royal Coronation Ceremony. It accords full legitimacy to kingship in accordance with royal traditions. After the Royal Purification Ceremony, His Majesty the King sat on the Atha Disa Throne, with the Seven-Tiered Umbrella, where he was presented with anointment water from the selected persons representing the eight directions of the compass. Later, the Chief Brahmin presented His Majesty with the Royal Nine-tiered Umbrella and the Royal Golden Plaque of the official title of the King, which says “His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua.” His Majesty also received from the Chief Brahmin the Royal Regalia, the Ancient and Auspicious Orders, and the Weapons of Sovereignty.
The Royal Nine-tiered Umbrella is made of white cloth in nine tiers, each decorated with three levels of golden bands. It is placed or hung over the royal seat in accordance with ancient royal traditions. The umbrella will not be lowered, if the reign remains unchanged. It will be repaired only when a coronation ceremony takes place.
The major royal regalia, or the Five Royal Regalia, are regarded as the most important symbols of kingship presented to the new monarch by the Chief Brahmin at the coronation ceremony. They are as follows:
- The Great Crown of Victory (Phra Maha Phichai Mongkut) is made of gold and studded with precious diamonds. The moment when a monarch crowns himself with the Great Crown of Victory signifies his official ascending of the throne.
- The Royal Sword of Victory (Phra Saeng Khan Chaisi) represents royal weapons in ruling the country.
- The Royal Scepter (Than Phra Khon) is made of cassia wood, entirely gold plated. It is in the shape of a staff. Iron castings that have a knob at the top end are decorated with gold-inlay designs.
- The Royal Fan and Fly Whisk (Walawichani) are symbolic of the king’s obligation to ward off any bad things that might cause discomfort to his subjects. The Royal Fan is made of a palm leaf, with a gold frame. The Fly Whisk is made of yak’s hair, set in a glass handle.
- The Royal Slippers (Chalong Phrabat Choeng Ngon) are made of enameled gold, decorated with precious gems. King Rama I had the up-turned slippers made as part of the royal regalia, following an ancient Indian belief.
The First Royal Command
After His Majesty King Rama X crowned himself with the Great Crown of Victory, he presented the First Royal Command "I shall sustain, preserve, and continue and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever.”
Installation of the Queen
Then His Majesty the King bestowed upon Queen Suthida the title of Her Majesty Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana, with full royal honours.
Grand Audience Granted by His Majesty the King
On the afternoon of May 4, 2019, His Majesty the King granted a grand audience at Amarindra Vinicchaya Throne Hall, where Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn delivered a congratulatory statement on behalf of the Royal Family. The Prime Minister, the President of the National Assembly, and the President of the Supreme Court also delivered congratulatory statements on behalf of the Cabinet, government officials, and the general public, the legislature, and the judiciary, respectively.
His Majesty delivered a royal address in response to the grand assembly. He thanked everyone for their felicitations and goodwill.
After the grand audience, His Majesty proceeded to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to proclaim himself the Royal Patron of Buddhism and pay homage to the statues of royal ancestors.
Later, Their Majesties the King and Queen attended the ceremony of Assumption of the Royal Residence at Chakrabat Biman Royal Residence. They also stayed overnight there to symbolically take up the royal residence and perform housewarming.
Ceremony to Bestow Royal Names and New Titles on Members of the Royal Family
In the morning of May 5, 2019, His Majesty the King granted permission to the Royal Scribe to read a royal command bestowing royal names and new titles on members of the Royal Family.
The new titles in the Thai language were designated to reflect the status and relations of members of the Royal Family to His Majesty the King, although the English titles remain largely unchanged.
They are as follows:
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great
Her Majesty Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Krom Phra Srisavangavadhana
Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha
Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendiradebyavati
Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya
His Royal Highness Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti
Her Royal Highness Princess Siribhachudabhorn
Her Royal Highness Princess Aditayadornkitikhun
Royal Land Procession to Encircle the City
In the afternoon of May 5, 2019, His Majesty the King rode in a “Golden Phuttan” Royal Palanquin during the city tour from the Grand Palace to three royal temples, namely Wat Bovoranives, Wat Rajabopidh, and Wat Phra Chetuphon, where he paid homage to the main Buddha images there, as well as the ashes of royal ancestors.
The spectacular Royal Land Procession exhibits the glory and great power of the monarch. The grand and elaborate procession requires numerous personnel, and it is also meant to afford people the opportunity to attend and pay homage to their new king.
The previous Royal Land Procession took place 56 years ago on the occasion of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s third- cycle, or 36th, birthday anniversary in 1963.
Public Audience Granted by His Majesty the King
In the afternoon of May 6, 2019, His Majesty the King granted a grand public audience on the balcony of Suddhaisavarya Prasad Hall to receive the good wishes of the people. A great number of people attended the public audience and chanted "Long Live the King.” Speaking on behalf of civil servants, the police, the military, volunteers, and all groups of Thai people, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed loyalty to His Majesty the King, who said that he was very pleased with the good will of the people who came to offer their best wishes to him on the occasion of the coronation ceremony. On this occasion, royal children also appeared on the balcony of Suddhaisavarya Prasad Hall to greet the people.
When Suddhaisavarya Prasad Hall was constructed on the front wall of the Grand Palace in the reign of King Rama I, it was in the form of a wooden pavilion for the king to view the procession of the royal bathing ceremony. It was also used for merit-making ceremonies. King Rama IX also granted a public audience on this balcony when his coronation took place in 1950.
Also, on May 6, 2019, after the public audience, representatives of the diplomatic and consular corps accredited to Thailand, and a representative of international organizations in Thailand, were granted an audience with His Majesty the King at Chakri Maha Prasad Throne Hall.
The final procedure of the Coronation of King Rama X is the Royal Barge Procession, to be held in late 2019. The procession begins at the Wasukri pier at about 16.00 hr, when His Majesty the King travels along the Chao Phraya River to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) on the occasion of presenting robes to Buddhist monks (Royal Kathin Ceremony).
The First Royal Command "I shall sustain, preserve, and continue and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever,” has brought great joy to the people, who show their loyalty to the institution of the monarchy through their chanting “Long Live the King.”