The day of June 1946 brought great joy to the people of Thailand for the new King, more formally "Phra Bat Somdej Phra Paramindara Maha Bhumibol Adulyadej", was entroned as the Ninth King of the Chakri Dynasty at the age of 19. The King went back to Switzerland to finidh his education at Lausanne University and, upon completing his studies, he returned to the Kingdom to be officially crowned.
The solemn coronation ceremony was conducted on May 5, 1950 when he stated in his First Oath of Accession to the throne: "We will reign with righteousness, for the benefits and happiness of the Siamese people."
Now in the 60th year of his reign, the Thai people and the world have recognised and appreciate His Majesty's devotion and endeavours for the welfare of his subjects, fulfilling the promise given at his coronation.
During the coronation ceremony, The Great White Umbrella of State, the Five Royal Regalia and the Royal Utensils were presented to the King, signifying His Majestic position as well as complete loyalty from his subjects. Not only symbolising the respect due to kingship, these Royal Objects also remind the people of the King's burdens, and his regal responsibilities to his subjects.
One of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's most spectacular legacies from his ancestors is his fleet of ornately carved royal barges. Predominantly gold and scarlet, these were mostly constructed during the reigns of early Chakri kings and resemble the barges that were used by Ayuthaya kings for transport. Powered by , briliantly-costumed, chanting oarsmen, they have been used to carry His Majesty to the riverside Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) to present monks with robes after the annual Rains Retreat.
Another royal perogative ensures that all albino or "white" elephants found in Thailand (known as "significantly auspicious elephants") become the King's exclusive property. The discovery of a white elephant is considered an auspicious omen, the animals being presented to the monarch so that his reign may prosper. Regarded as an honorary human being, each "significantly auspicious elephant" is awarded a lordly title and thereafter leads a correspondingly lordly life. King Bhumibol Adulyadej has had seventeen white elephants, the most any Thai king has ever owned, which is regarded as an extremely auspicious sign for the success of his reign.
The Garuda, a mythical half-bird, half- human figure which in Hindu legend served as the mount for the god Vishnu, adorns King Bhumibol Adulyadej's septer and royal standard, as in former times the King was considered an incarnation of Vishnu; thus it is used on Government stationary and as badges on caps for civil service officials as technically government endeavors are in the service of the King. Moreover, the Garuda signifies the concept of "By Royal Appointment" and the symbol is awarded, at His Majesty's personal discretion, as a sign of royal approval to business companies that have rendered outstanding economic and charitable services to Thailand . Such an award is rarely bestowed and is considered a great honor by recipients.
As do other monarchs, King Bhumibol Adulyadej enjoys the perogative of bestowing awards and honors on government employees and ordinary citizens who have served the country with civic, administrative or diplomatic distinction, and to individuals who have rendered great services to the Crown. One distinctive, probably unique feature of Thai royalty is that royal titles are not inherited in perpetuity but lapse gradually over five generations, Thai titles descend through Chao Fa. Phra Ong Chao. Mom Chao, Mom Rajawongse. and Mom Luang. The children of anyone rank inherit the next lowest rank on the father's side. so that a male Mom Chao's male or female child is a Mom Rajawongse, while a male Mom Luang's child is a plain Mister or Miss. Once titles have lapsed, families of royal descent can add Na Ayutthaya. or "of Ayutthaya ," to their surnames to indicate royal ancestry.
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