On Oct. 13, 2016, Thailand was hit with a great devastation, their king of 70 years passed away at the age of 88.
U.S. born, Swiss educated, King Bhumibol Adulyadej was one of the world’s longest-reigning monarchs. He is a member of the Chakri Dynasty, which has occupied the Thai throne since the 18th century, According to People’s Magazine.
Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in 1927 in Cambridge, Massachusetts while his father was studying at Harvard University.In his youth he was a photographer and a jazz saxophonist.
According to Encyclopedia Britanica, “His older brother, Ananda Mahidol, became king in 1935, but on June 9, 1946, Ananda was found dead in his bed of a gunshot wound. Bhumibol immediately succeeded to the throne following Ananda’s mysterious death.”
King Bhumibol Married his distant cousin Sirikit Kitiyakara, in April 1950 and was formally crowned on May 5, 1950.
According to CNN News, King Adulyadej started his seven-decade reign in the aftermath of Thailand’s occupation of Japan during WWII. He reigned through an era of rising prosperity, yet frequent political problems.
According to CNN News, in May of 1992 his most noteworthy appearance on the political stage happened, amid violence between pro-democracy campaigners and the army. The King summoned the two leaders of the rival camps to his palace and televised images showed both men submissively kneeling before their monarch. This helped calm tension and stop the violence.
According to Good Thing I’m Pretty, During the upheavals of the 20th century, he skilfully charted a course that put the monarchy at the center of Thai society, acting as a force for community and tradition even as the country lurched between political crises and military coups.”
The King’s passing hit Thailand very hard. The announcement of the king being very ill and in the hospital spread through Thailand very quickly. People filled the streets in front of the hospital where the King was being treated, according to CNN News.
The following day on Oct. 14, thousands lined the streets to watch the royal convoy carry the King’s body to the Grand Palace Complex.
Once the King’s son, Vajiralongkorn arrived, to the hospital, he presided over the bathing of his father’s body, a traditional Buddhist funeral rite.
The body will lie at the temple of the Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha), inside the Grand Palace Complex, where people can pay their respects to their beloved King.
Those who could not make it to the funeral were lucky enough to be able to watch it on TV. The ones who did make it came in crowds, wearing black and openly crying.
According to ABC News many people in high power sent condolences to the King’s family and to Thailand. The Norwegian monarch has offered condolences to the Queen of Thailand, Sirikit. Also the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism sent a condolence letter to the family.
Iyad Bin Amin Madani, head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, told The Gazette, “The world has lost a great leader”, and “Thailand had lost a symbol of unity.”
But now the big question is, who holds the power? After leaving behind a wife, a son, and a daughter, people are very curious as to who will reign next.
According to BBC News, “On the night of 13 October, members of the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly were summoned to a special session two hours after King Bhumibol’s death was announced, and they expected they would go through the formality of inviting the crown prince to take The throne. But, following a meeting between him and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, they were told the name of the next king would not be forwarded to them yet. Instead they held a nine-minute silent tribute to the late king, and went home.”
Many people were very confused as to why the the king’s son was not crowned immediately. Normally the succession should take place immediately after the death of the monarch.
The Thai government said that the crown prince wants time to mourn his father’s death with the people of Thailand before he takes the throne. Also the prince does not want his coronation to happened until a one-year official period of mourning is over, according to BBC News.
With no one truly reigning over Thailand, they appointed the King’s right hand man, 96-year-old Prem Tinsulanonda in the meantime.
According to BBC News, “As regent, he will carry out important duties like endorsing the new military-drafted constitution, which must be done within a month. Also he will exercise those powers in close consultation with the crown prince.”
Even with all the decision making, people are seriously hurt by the tragedy. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is greatly loved and respected. He was an energetic public relations machine and that helped to promote his popularity.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej was and is so loved and respected, that it lead to his portrait being adorned with marigold from the marble halls of Bangkok office and lobbies to the poorest of rural homes.
Now that his son has had the proper time to mourn the loss of his father, he has officially taken the thrown.
The fallen King can never be replaced but his son will do his best to fill his shoes. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is loved and missed by his family,friends and country.