Thailand's crown prince to be proclaimed King Rama X

Maha Vajiralongkorn returns from Germany for rite but coronation will take place next year after his father's cremation.

    Thailand's Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has returned to Thailand ahead of his proclaimation as King Rama X in a live television broadcast from the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

    Vajiralongkorn will formally accept late on Thursday the parliament's invitation in front of portraits of his late father and his mother, who is unwell.

    Before that, the 64-year-old prince will preside over a religious ceremony marking the 50th day of his father's funeral rites, which began at the palace the day after King Bhumibol's death.

    READ MORE: Remembering Thailand's beloved King Bhumibol

    Vajiralongkorn has been the heir apparent to the throne since 1972 and is set to become the tenth king in the 234-year-old Chakri dynasty, which began with King Rama I.

    Thailand's parliament formally invited Vajiralongkorn to become the country's next king on Tuesday.

    The new king is expected to deliver an address before holding a private meeitng with government officials on Thursday [Reuters]

    Earlier on Thursday, Channel News Asia reported that the crown prince had arrived for the ceremony from Germany, where he has a home.

    In Thursday's broadcast, which begins at 1130 GMT, Vajiralongkorn is expected to address his audience, which will include Royal Regent Prem Tinsulanonda and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, before holding a private meeting with the regent and key government figures.

    The prince has not spoken publicly since his father's death and news about his plans has come through the government.

    Vajiralongkorn, the only son of King Bhumibol, also known as King Rama IX, did not immediately ascend the throne following his father's death as traditionally practised, instead requesting more time to mourn.

    Thailand invites crown prince to become new king

    Thursday's religious ceremony will continue on Friday, with Vajiralongkorn presiding over the rites on both days.

    The Grand Palace is closed for both mourners and tourists on both days.

    News about the royal succession, and criticism about the crown prince, have been muted.

    A Thai lese-majeste, or royal insult, law criminalizes anything that is deemed to be an insult to the monarchy.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News and Agencies


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