The Belgian Royal Palace announced yesterday that Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium would represent her husband, His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium, at the cremation ceremony for the late King Bhumibol of Thailand set to take place on 26 October in Bangkok.
It is not yet known who, if any, other royals from across Europe will attend the ceremony which is part of the five-day funeral period. For close to a year, his body lay in state at the Grand Palace for mourners, reportedly 12 million, to pay their respects to the beloved monarch. The Emperor and Empress of Japan and Kings of Tonga, Bahrain and Bhutan have all made the trip to Thailand over the past year to pay their respects.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who was also known as King Rama IX, died on 13 October 2016 at the age of 88 after many years of ill health. He had just celebrated 70 years on the throne earlier that year.
Preparations for the cremation have been in the works for months. His funeral pyre was completed last month ahead of this month’s ceremony.
The 88-year-old was the world’s longest reigning monarch before his death. He took the throne on 9 June 1946 after the murder of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born on 5 December 1927 at Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusettes, USA. His father was studying at Harvard University at the time of his birth. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the only monarch to be born in the United States. He married Queen Sirikit in 1950, and they had four children together: Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and Princess Chulabhorn Walailak.
King Rama IX was succeeded by his second child and only son, the now King Maha Vajiralongkorn, or King Rama X.