Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn Formally Crowned as Divine Monarch

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn delayed the coronation until after a mourning period following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn delayed the coronation until after a mourning period following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016

King Vajiralongkorn married Tidjai this week, promoting her to the royal title of Queen Suthida and officially inducted her into the royal family.

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn (left) and Queen Suthida visit the throne hall at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand.

Vajiralongkorn's four-mile procession was meant to pay homage at three Buddhist temples and gave him an opportunity see his subjects, who came out in yellow, the color associated with the king.

The Saturday coronation of Maha Varijiralongkorn is the first time anyone has officially sat on the throne since his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in 2016.

It is not yet clear how many people will qualify for the pardons.

The country's Buddhist Supreme Patriarch also poured sacred waters over the king's body, followed by Brahmin priests and royal family members.

Some carefully vetted members of the public admitted to the palace grounds got a thrill later when His Majesty was carried on an ornately decorated palanquin to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha by a specially trained contingent of soldiers dressed in colorful ceremonial uniforms who marched in strict precision.

Thailand's monarchy is wrapped in ritual, protocol and hierarchy all orbiting around the king, who is viewed as a demigod.

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The monarch was joined by new Queen Suthida after a surprise announcement three days before the coronation that the thrice-divorced monarch had married for a fourth time.

Before the crowning, the "Muratha Bhisek" ritual and the "Abhiseka" ritual were held inside the Grand Palace according to Thai tradition which was influenced by ancient Indian culture. Wat Bowonniwet and Wat Rajabopit store the royal relics of late King Bhumibol. The king also promises to work with them for the nation's benefit.

Criticizing the king is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The king's marriage to Suthida is a "way of further legitimising" his reign, said Paul Chambers, political analyst at Thailand's Naresuan University.

The high-reaching crown, which weighs 7.3 kg (16 lb) symbolizes the summit of Mount Meru, the Hindu god Indra's heavenly abode, and its weight represents the monarch's royal burden.

Though Thailand has had a constitutional monarchy since 1932, when a revolution ended absolute rule by kings, the country's monarchs are regarded as nearly divine and have been seen as a unifying presence in a country that has seen regular bouts of political instability as it rotates between elected governments and military rule.

He received his crown on Saturday in a mixed Buddhist-Hindu ceremony, which was televised live on all channels across the country, amid the splendor of Bangkok's Golden Palace. King Vajiralongkorn put the crown on his head himself with the help of court officials, and adjusted it several times during the ceremony. The rite, known as the Royal Purification Ceremony, took place amid music from drums, conch shells and other instruments.

The junta that seized power in 2014 and has vowed to defend the monarchy is aiming to return to power through the ballot box.

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