Regent to fill in for Thailand’s royal heir apparent

World Today

Maha VajiralongkornCrown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, officiated over the funeral proceedings and led the official mourning for his father.

In Thailand it has been confirmed that the position of head of state has been temporarily filled by a regent, the head of the Privy council.

It was widely expected that the Crown Prince would be immediately named as King after his father’s death on Thursday afternoon. However, the Prince has expressed a desire for some time to mourn for his father privately, before taking on his new role. And while most people expect this to be a temporary arrangement, it does put a short break in the line of the Chakri dynasty that has ruled Thailand for more than 200 years.

CCTV’s Tony Cheng gave us this report from Bangkok.

Regent fills in for Thailand's royal heir apparent

In Thailand, the role of head of state has been temporarily filled by a regent as the heir apparent mourns his father. While most expect this to be temporary, it puts a break in the dynasty that has ruled for more than 200 years.

He was the 9th king of the Chakri Dynasty. But when 18 year old Bhumipol ascended the throne many thought he would be the last of his line Instead, the throne prospered. As did the kingdom.

On Saturday, thousands of Thai’s queued for hours to enter the Grand Palace in Bangkok where the former King now lies in State. The Palace was built by Rama the first – the founder of the Chakri dynasty in 1782. Although the last king was never resident of this palace during his life, it is an appropriate resting place now that he’s passed.

The heir to the throne, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, officiated over the funeral proceedings and will lead the official mourning for his father. But in an unexpected turn of events, he has not yet ascended the throne, unlike his father who was named King hours after his brother died in 1946.

In the hours after the Kings death, a session of the interim Parliament, the National Legislative assembly, was expected to announce the succession of the crown Prince. Instead, after reading a tribute to the former King, the session was dissolved.

Instead, the head of the privy council takes the position of Regent – temporary head of State. General Prem Tinsulanonda, aged 96, a former Prime Minister during the 80’s and a military officer will fill the role until the throne is occupied by the heir apparent.

Some think the Prince’s decision to mourn his Father privately, may help his eventual ascension to the throne.

Following in his fathers footsteps is going to be a tough act to follow, however. King Bhumipol managed the complicated mix of regal authority, and popular support – a tightrope that his successor might find difficult to combine.

But at this stage, there is no reason to think the continued rule of the Chakri line is not assured.