King Maha Vajiralongkorn

Maha Vajiralongkorn, King of Thailand

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Saturday completed Buddhist and Brahmin rituals to symbolically transform him into a living god as the Southeast Asian nation crowned its first monarch in nearly seven decades. The coronation of King Vajiralongkorn, 66, took place inside the Grand Palace throne hall in Bangkok after a period of official mourning for his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October 2016 having reigned for 70 years.

The king sat on a golden throne under a nine-tiered umbrella to receive royal regalia including a gold-enameled, diamond-tipped crown in ceremonies that mixed glittering pomp with solemn religious rites.

The monarch 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 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.

“I shall continue, preserve, and build upon the royal legacy and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever,” the king said in his first royal command.

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