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Thailand’s parliament invites Crown Prince to assume throne

The parliament in Thailand formally named Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn as the new king, completing a formal step for the heir to take the throne following the death of his father last month. He was then formally acknowledged as the new monarch by the members of the cabinet.

“I would like everyone to stand up and give their blessings to the new king,” said National Assembly president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai. His statement was followed by a cheer of “Long live the king” by all assembly members. Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn still has to formally accept the invitation.

According to protocol, the assembly speaker will now seek a royal audience with the Crown Prince, which is the last step being he is proclaimed the new monarch. This is likely to happen “either tomorrow or the day after”.

Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn was supposed to assume the throne the day after his father died, but the Crown Prince asked for his ascension to be postponed to give him time to mourn. His father, Bhumibol Adulyadej, died on 13 October at the age of 88 after long year of ill health. The Crown Prince has a reputation of being a playboy and he has divorced three wives. He has a total of seven children, some of whom were stripped of their titles after the divorce from their mother. The Crown Prince spent much of his time away from Thailand. He owns property in southern Germany and he returned there shortly after the death of his father. He is set to return to Thailand on 1 December.

The government has declared a full year of mourning for the late King and the people of Thailand have been paying their respects at the Grand Palace in Bangkok. His body will eventually be cremated, although the elaborate pyre is not expected to be completed for several months. The coronation of the new King will only take place after the cremation.

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