Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn (or Rama X) and Queen Suthida took part in the Royal Barge Procession yesterday in Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River. They were joined by the King’s son, 14-year-old Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti on their barge and followed by the King’s two daughters, Princesses Bajrakitiyabha and Sirivannavari.
The Royal Barge Procession marked the end of the coronation rituals for the Thai king who had his coronation earlier this year, on 4 May, after taking the throne in 2016 after the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Thousands lined up alongside the banks of the Chao Phraya River to watch their Royal Family pass by. It was also televised live on television for those who could not make it to the capital.
The King, Queen and Prince rode in a golden barge that is a century old and bears a swan-like mythical looking creature at its head.
In total, there were 52 barges with 2,200 oarsmen (dressed in ceremonial costumes) from the Thai Royal Navy singing rhythmic songs as they paddled down the water for 3.4 kilometres in the old part of Bangkok.
There were free transport and food for those who wanted to be present to watch the Royal Family in the procession. The government requested observers wear yellow to honour the King (yellow is the colour that represents the King while purple represents the Queen), which the overwhelming majority did.
The Thai monarch is revered and beloved in his country. He was crowned as a divine monarch in May, and he is held in high regard and as a living god to many. There are strict lèse majesté laws in Thailand that criminalise insulting, defaming or threatening the Royal Family; those convicted can be imprisoned for up to 15 years.