Thailand’s government today announced a year-long mourning period following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died on Thursday aged 88.
King Bhumibol, otherwise known as King Bhumibol the Great, was the world’s longest ruling head of state and was thought of by many in Thailand as semi-divine. His devotion to the Thai people was demonstrated through various acts of charity, especially focusing on poor people in rural communities. Not only this, but he was seen as a calming influence and a figure of stability during the country’s frequent political breakdowns.
Bhumibol Adulyadej back in 2006
Bhumibol’s health has been in decline since 2009 when he would spend extended periods of time at the Siriraj Hospital; the same hospital in which he died on Thursday. Mourners lined the streets today hoping to catch a glimpse as the body was taken from the hospital back to the Grand Palace. People have been advised to wear black and to avoid ‘joyful events’ during this sad time in Thailand’s History.
Thousands lined the streets of Bangkok for the funeral.
Maha Vajiralongkorn, the only son of Bhumibol Adulyadej, has been named as successor to the throne but has asked for the process to be delayed. The crown prince, aged 64, is not as highly regarded as his father was, leading to concerns that the Thai monarchy will lose some of the influence gained from Bhumibol’s 70 year rule.