BANGKOK (AP, Reuters): Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Saturday completed intricate Buddhist and Brahmin rituals to symbolically transform him into a living god as the Southeast Asian nation officially crowned its first monarch in nearly seven decades.
The coronation followed purification rituals at Bangkok's Grand Palace.
King Vajiralongkorn, 66, became constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016 after 70 years on the throne.
The king 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.
His coronation, after a period of mourning for the late king, comes amid the uncertainty of an unresolved election battle between the current military junta chief and a “democratic front” trying to push the army out of politics.
King Maha delivered his first royal command as King during an intricate traditional ceremony at the Chakrabat Biman Royal Residence on Saturday.
“I will continue to preserve, develop and rule the land with justice for the benefits of all Thai people," the newly-crowned Thai King said.
The most significant moment in the coronation ceremony: When the King was now sitting beneath a nine-tiered umbrella.
Flanked by two men in white military uniforms, King Maha has now officially succeeded his late father Rama IX as King of Thailand.
He's the only person in Thailand permitted to sit under the umbrella, which represents the King's connection with heaven.