The Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty's Accession to the Throne
A reign of righteousness
Thailand celebrates 60 years under a beloved King
" I shall reign with righteousness for the happiness and benefit of the Siamese people "
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was barely out of his teens when he made that oath 60 years ago. Comprising only 14 words, the oath was deceptively simple, yet it meant commitment to a life time of sacrifice and hard work for the sake of the Thai people and nation.
It has been 21,923 days since His Majesty's accession to the throne, and over the past 60 years he has remained true to his word. Throughout his reign His Majesty has dedicated himself and his whole life to improving the well being and the standard of living of his subjects in all corners of the country.
To His Majesty no place is too remote nor too dangerous to visit. The regional palaces in the North, South and Northeast have served not as places for rest and recreation but as bases for royal visits to the far corners of the Kingdom so that he could see and hear for himself the problems of his subjects.
With rational use of the environment and natural resources, and with great wisdom and understanding of the people's needs and sentiments, he has devised countless agricultural and development projects that have made the lives of Thai people, especially farmers and the rural poor, much easier.
As a constitutional monarch His Majesty is not involved in politics and the day-to-day running of the country, yet he has done more than anyone else in turning the people's hopes into reality and served as their refuge in times of trouble. This total devotion has earned His Majesty the unreserved love and respect of the people, making him one of the most beloved monarchs in Thailand's 900-year history.
On Friday, June 9,2006, His Majesty the King and the whole Thai Kingdom celebrated the 60th anniversary of His Majesty's accession to the throne. The anniversary was celebrated with pomp and grandeur befitting the people's love for their King: plays, exhibitions and cultural performances were stages and main avenues were decorated and lighted up as tributes to His Majesty. And to express their love, people throughout the Kingdom donned yellow, the colour of His Majesty's day of birth.
His Majesty has been the longest reigning monarch in the history of Thailand. The longevity of his reign is, in itself, truly remarkable, yet what is much more significant is the fact that he has bridged the gap between past and present, traditional and modern, symbolic and realistic, and has redefined the role of the monarch into a truly contemporary sense of the word.
Long live His Majesty the King! Long may he reign!
The royal emblem
The royal emblem depicts the Royal Monogram of His Majesty the King in a golden yellow colour, the colour of His Majesty's day of birth. It is trimmed in gold on a blue background, which is the colour of the monarchy, and encircled by diamonds, first of gems, symbolising the sages, scribes, craftsmen, important elephants, graceful ladies, valiant soldiers and courtiers who provide their service to the crown with devout loyalty and honesty comparable to diamonds. His Majesty himself is the most precious diamond in the hearts of the people made up of diverse races and religions.
The Royal Monogram is placed on the Noble Throne of Bhadrapith and is surmounted by the Great Crown of Victory -- one of the five items of the Royal Regalia -- and Royal Insignia. Surrounding this are the other four items of Royal Regalia that signify kingship: the Sword of Victory and the Royal Fly Whisk on the left of the Great Crown of Victory, and the Royal Sceptre and the Royal Fan on the rgiht of the Great Crown of Victory. The Royal Slippers are laid under the Noble Throne of Bhadrapith.
Below, on pink sash trimmed with gold, is written in gold an inscription which reads "The Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty's Accession to the Throne BE2549 (AD2006)". On the right end of the sash is a white mythical monkey warrior holding the golden decorative frame of the emblem. The other end of the sash features a vermilion Garuda with a white face holding the other side of the decorative frame. The background of the emblem is golden green, a combination of the power of the royal day of birth and also the prosperity and fertility of the land nurtured by His Majesty during his reign.
Milestones in His Majesty's life
His Majesty the King acceded to the throne on June 9, 1946, upon the unexpected death of his elder brother, King Ananda Mahidol. The declaration was signed by Pridi Banomyong, the then prime minister.
His coronation did not take place until May 5, 1950, for various reasons. First, he was still under the legal age of consent (he was not yet 20), and he was still studying in Switzerland. Furthermore, the royal cremation of King Ananda Mahidol had to be completed before any celebration could take place.
Thailand now marks Chatramongkhon, or Coronation Day, every May 5, but His Majesty's reign officially began in 1946. According to international tradition, monachs celebrate particular auspicious anniversaries, namely, the 25th anniversary known as the Silver Jubilee, the 50th anniversary knownas the Golden Jubilee, and -- in American tradition -- the 75th anniversary, known as the Diamond Jubilee.
His Majesty the King celebrated his Ratchadapisek, or Silver Jubilee anniversary, in 1971, and his Kanchanapisek Golden Jubilee in 1996. The same was celebrated with major festivities by Prince Rainier of Monaco and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1999 and 2002, respectively.
Never before has any Thai monarch been on the throne for 60 years. The longest reign prior to His Majesty was King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, who reigned for 42 years and 22 days (1868-1910). On July 2, 1988, His Majesty the King celebrated 42 years and 23 days on the throne, and event which was marked by the Rajamangalapisek celebrations to, in the words of His Majesty, "apologise for overtaking King Chulalongkorn".
This year His Majesty the King celebrates the 60th year of his reign, the fifth-cycle anniversary being an auspicious milestone in the Thai tradition. Festivities will be taking place throughout the year, with the focus being on the period from June 8 to 13, highlighted by the attendance of royalty from 25 Kingdom around the world.
The King of Thailand
The early years
His Majesty, age one, with his father Prince Mahidol
Then Prince Bhumibol, two years of age With pet dog "Muen" in Bangkok
With the Princess Mother and his brother Prince Ananda. At the age of three in Bangkok with Princess Galyani Vadhana
Spending a winter holiday in Switzerland with Princess Mother, his brother Prince Ananda and his sister Princess Galyani Vadhana.
His Majesty King Bhumibol and Mom Rajawong Sirikit Kitiyakara became engaged in 1949. They were married a year later on April 28, 1950.
At the coronation of his Majesty King Bhumibol on May 5, 1950. His Majesty entered the monkhood in 1956.
A talented musician, His Majesty can play a variety of instruments and has a special knack for jazz. (Top right) Jamming with US jazz idols Benny Goodman (Clarinet). Gene Krupa (drums) and Urbie Green (trombone). (Buttom left) Blowing the trumper over Rangsit Canal in Ayutthaya.
A keen sportsman, His Majesty not only skied and saild but also designed and built several dinghies.
No place is too remote or dangerous: His Majesty has travelled tirelessly to every corner of the country to learn about the needs of his subjects so that he can help improve their well-being. (Right) Her Majesty the Queen sits for His Majesty as he paints her portrait.
His Mejesty with his famed pet dog Khun Tongdaeng. His Mejesty uses the story of Tongdaeng a former stray, to highlight the values of love, loyalty and gratitude.
The King of Thailand
" This is truly overwhelming, given the depth of the display of sincere good will you have carried with you. Thank you all. "
His Majesty's address to the nation
A translation of the text of His Majesty the King's speech at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall on the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne on June 9, 2006:
"I'm very delighted to be in the midst of this great congregation of individuals from all institutions of the country and the public at large. I thank you for your complimentary wishes and the grand celebrations which everyone has put in the effort to arrange especially for me. The government has organised today's event in a way definitive of an orderly and elaborate affair, characterising the collective hospitality of the Thai people, expressed throughout the land and by all of you here before me. This is truly overwhelming, given the depth of the display of sincere good will you have carried with you. I thank you all.
"The spirit, full of kind intentions and solidarity that is common among each one of us, has lifed my inner strength. It is uplifting also to think of the moral integrity which is the basis of love and unity binding us Thais together as we preserve the nation and help it prosper".
"But firstly, we should be compassionate to each other in our thoughts, speech and actions in order to achieve progress. Secondly, we must come to the aid of each other and work for the mutual well-being of ourselves, others and of the nation as a whole. Thirdly, everyone should think and act with honesty while staying true to the rules and respecting equality. Fourthly, as everyone strives to ensure their thoughts and views conform to righteousness and remain steadfast to reason, their minds and conduct must be in tandem with virtuous resolve. If this is achieved, there can be no doubt Thailand will stand proud and tall forever. I urge everyone in this congregation and Thais from all walks of life to cherish and firmly uphold righteousness and moral integrity. This dedication to moral security should be undertaken without interruption, so the country can live on with happiness, now and in the future.
"May the sacred Phra Sri Radhanatrai (Buddhism's Triple Gem) and the forces of the highest reverance protect our country from danger and bless all Thais with joy, happiness and prosperity."
Only one that keep us reserve, our King.
The King of Thailand
River of King
History brought to life
The royal barge procession was a proud moment for Thailand and its unique cultural heritage
Viewers of the royal barge procession on the Chao Phraya River this past Monday evening had a rare opportunity to witness a bit of Thailand's glorious cultural heritage -- an opportunity that left many with goose-bumps. The 52 boats and 2,082 oarsmen that glided down the river were viewed by numerous mumbers of royal families and dignitaries from across the globe along with tens of thousands of Thais. It was remarkable sight indeed with cultural treasures like the Temple of Dawn and the Grand Palace in the background. Thailand is crisscrossed with waterways and water has always figured prominently in the Kingdom's history. Thus the Thais' long love affair with water and boats is easily explained.
In the past, many families were boat-owners; so too the royal family. Vessels called ruea luang were reserved primarily for military activities and for use by the monarchy. These ruea luang were long but slender vessels rowed by 20 to 30 or more soldiers. Large boats used for war might be rowed by 60 to 70 men, who changed from oarsmen to warriors once they were on land. In those days, there was no separation between the army and the navy.
The present royal throne barge, the Suphanahong, was built at the command of King Rama VI to replace the original, which had fallen victim to the years. It took part in the barge processions held for the coronations of kings Rama VI and Rama VII, and also for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of Bangkok held during the reign of King Rama VII.
When the king had business that required travel by water, he boarded his own special royal throne barge. Sometimes the trip was on personal business, sometimes for religious reasons or for an important royal ceremony. On such occasions, the king's boat would be part of an elaborate flotilla known as a royal barge procession, such as the one held when the Emerald Buddha was brought from Vientiane to Ayutthaya and from there to Bangkok. The flotilla that brought it from Ayutthaya included 115 boats. When the image arrived at Thon Buri, King Taksin went out to receive it aboard his royal barge; another 131 boats joined the procession.
Royal barge songs -- known as bot hey ruea -- are an important component of the procession. This year the bot hey ruea were led by Lt Nathawat Aramkuea, who took over from his mentor, National Artist Rear Admiral Mongkhon Saengsawang. Lt Nathawat began by singing the name of the royal throne barge, then telling about the number of vessels in the procession and which major boats were taking part. As they gathered in the middle of the river, he began to chant in the style called cha-la-wa-hey to accompany the slow rowing that the oarsmen use while aligning their vessels into the proper configuration. He then began a song that described the beauty of the procession and the rhythm of the rowing.
As the rowing became faster, the singing style switched to one called moon-la-hey. The boat song leader praised the fish, birds and forests. As the procession reached its destination, the singing returned to the cha-la-wa-hey style and the rowing slowed down. Just after the procession ended, 60,000 candle-bearing krathongs were released into the river while 5,000 Northern-style floating lanterns were released into the air -- other bits of cultural heritage that added a charming finishing touch to the proceedings.
The King of Thailand
Friends from near and far
Their Majesties the King and Queen greet Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe and Crown Princess Mathilde , His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Duke of York