News / Asia

Thailand's King Marks 64 Years on Throne

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej arrives for Coronation Day at Klai Kangwon Palace, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, Thailand, on May 5, 2014.
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej arrives for Coronation Day at Klai Kangwon Palace, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, Thailand, on May 5, 2014.
VOA News
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej made a rare public appearance to attend a ceremony marking the anniversary of his coronation 64 years ago.

Thousands of cheering people wearing yellow - the king's signature color - lined the streets of Hua Hin Monday near his coastal palace as the monarch's motorcade passed by on the way to a Buddhist ceremony celebrating Thailand's Coronation Day. The ceremony was broadcast live on national television

          
Well wishers hold a picture of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they gather with others outside the palace where he is staying in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, during Coronation Day, May 5, 2014.Well wishers hold a picture of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they gather with others outside the palace where he is staying in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, during Coronation Day, May 5, 2014.
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Well wishers hold a picture of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they gather with others outside the palace where he is staying in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, during Coronation Day, May 5, 2014.
Well wishers hold a picture of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they gather with others outside the palace where he is staying in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, during Coronation Day, May 5, 2014.

The ceremony was attended by the royal family and government officials including Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and was conducted in Klai Kangwon palace where King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit have been residing since July 2013.

The King has suffered from ill health for several years and uses a wheelchair.
          
King Bhumibol is the world's longest reigning monarch, coming to the throne in 1950 when he was 18 years old.
          
Revered as the father of the nation, many of his subjects in this largely Buddhist kingdom regard him as almost divine. Criticism of the king and the royal family is not only taboo but against the law. He commands an astonishing degree of reverence, with his image in shops, restaurants and homes across the nation.
          
Thailand's constitutional monarchy has few formal powers, but the high regard in which the royal family is held means its rare comments on politics are highly influential. 

Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.

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