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King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand Courtesy of Dinhin Rakpong-Asoke/Flickr
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand Courtesy of Dinhin Rakpong-Asoke/Flickr
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Everything You Need To Know About The New King Of Thailand

Picture of Kelly Iverson
Updated: 7 November 2016
It is official: Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is set to become the new king of Thailand. The beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on October 13, 2016, at the age of 88. He was one of the longest-reigning kings the world has ever seen, and for some Thais, he was the only king they had ever known … until now. Here’s everything you need to know about the new king of Thailand.

Period Of Mourning

The country and Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn continue to mourn and grieve over the great loss of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which is why the prince has yet to take over the throne. According to a Bangkok Post article, Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda was named Regent pro tempore because of the vacant throne. Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was appointed as the heir to the throne on December 28, 1972, by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has since said that he wants to grieve the death of his father. According to a BBC news article, the prince will officially take the throne in about a month’s time on December 1, 2016. While the country will continue to be in an official state of mourning for a year, many restrictions that were placed during this time will be lifted as of November 14, including bans and restrictions on entertainment and television. News broadcasts have focused around the late king, and music has been banned from playing in bars and restaurants, though some Bangkok clubs have been open as usual with earlier closing hours.

The Grand Palace Courtesy of Kelly Iverson
The Grand Palace | © Courtesy of Kelly Iverson

Who is Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn?

Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was born in the Royal Dusit Palace on July 28, 1952. At the age of 64, he will become the new king of Thailand. He is next in line for the throne as he is the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.

According to a Guardian article, Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn studied at Australia’s Duntroon Military College. He also studied in Europe before becoming an active member of the military. He holds many military titles, and also has a pilot’s license. His love for flying was fostered in the U.S., where he initially learned how to fly an airplane.

Lese Majeste Laws

Under Thailand’s lese majeste laws, it is illegal to disparage members of the Royal Family. The punishment for breaking these laws? Up to 15 years in prison. If someone uses the internet to post something considered derogatory, they also face an additional seven years in prison.

The Monarchy

Since the thirteenth century, Thailand has been governed by kings of multiple realms. Thailand officially became a constitutional monarchy in 1932, and it was shortly afterward that King Bhumibol Adulyadej took over the throne. He was not expecting to become king, but a series of events eventually led him to come into power.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s father suddenly died of kidney failure in 1929. His uncle, Prajadhipok, came into power but was shortly stripped of it after a revolution in 1932. It was then that his brother, Ananda Mahidol, became king at the age of nine. In June 1946, however, Mahidol was found dead in his bedroom by a gunshot wound in Bangkok’s Grand Palace. It was during this time that King Bhumibol Adulyadej took the throne at the age of 18.

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Statue of Ananda Mahidol | © Courtesy of Pixabay

Tourist Information

Those visiting Thailand should know that the country will remain in a state of mourning for an entire year after the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Visitors are encouraged to wear black or dark colored clothing and to not act in such a way that might seem celebratory for any reason. Many events have been canceled or postponed in the wake of the king’s death. A number of bars and clubs have also tailored their hours, and the hours in which stores sell liquor and alcohol have been restricted, as well.