Thailand royal funeral cremation for King Bhumibol Adulyadej

World Today

Representatives of 42 countries joined Thailand’s King at the cremation ceremony for his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Among the guests were members of foreign royal families, presidents and prime ministers. The King died a year ago and the cremation is only one part of the funeral rites which stretch over five-days.

CGTN’s Martin Lowe reports.
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It is the final journey for the king of kings. A royal urn is transported by ancient chariot, from the Grand Palace in Bangkok to a specially-constructed crematorium complex.

This is a symbolic procession. In fact the king’s body was moved earlier in a coffin. But it’s a scene that recreates a tradition of royal funerals here in Thailand, which dates back centuries.

Hundreds of thousands of people have made their way to the Thai capital for the funeral of King Bhumipol Adulyadej. But only a few will gain even a glimpse of the proceedings.

Some of those people have been there for days, camped out on pavements – through hot sun in the day and rain at night – just to feel part of this historic event. They said they’re ready to endure any discomfort as a final gesture of thanks to their departing king.

“I am happy to be part of history and send our king to heaven,” a mourner, Pannipa Singfang said. “Even if I can’t get inside I’m still proud.”

“This is the proudest moment of my life, even if I don’t see the ceremony,” another mourner, Wimol Saetai said.

King Bhumipol reigned for 70 years and is credited with leading Thailand from its agricultural past into a prosperous, developing nation.

Leaders of dozens of countries are attending the funeral, including members of many more royal families, heads of state and government officials.

Once the cremation is complete, the king’s ashes will be collected amidst more ceremony, before finally being enshrined at two royal temples.

This elaborate five-day funeral bringing to an end a period of mourning which has lasted a full 12 months, since the king’s death – at the age of 88 – a year ago.