Thailand mourns King Bhumibol Adulyadej R.I.P. 2.12.1927 – 13.10.2016

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej dies after 70 year reign. Pic courtesy: theguardian.

Thailand has lost its beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the age of 88yo.

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Locals here are understandably extremely upset at the moment, many are openly weeping, and the streets are very quiet tonight, such was their King held in such high esteem.

King Bhumibol was one of the worlds longest reigning monarchs, reigned through an era of rising prosperity and frequent political turmoil, including the Cold war and 10 military coups, along with many lengthy and deadly street protests.

12 October 1960: French President General de Gaulle and his wife Yvonne pose with Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his wife queen Sirikit at the Elysee Palace in ParisAFP
12 October 1960: French President General de Gaulle and his wife Yvonne pose with Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his wife queen Sirikit at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Picture: AFP

His seven-decade reign began in the aftermath of Thailand’s occupation by Japan during the Second World War, and ended deep into the Internet age. Many Thais have known no other monarch, and he was revered, almost as a deity.

His picture hangs on a wall in every shop or house!

8 August 1988: Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej is visited by Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Chitralada Palace in Bangkok. Picture Reuters
8 August 1988: Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej is visited by Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Chitralada Palace in Bangkok. Picture: Reuters

During the upheavals of the 20th century, he skilfully charted a course that put the monarchy at the center of Thai society, acting as a force for community and tradition even as the country lurched between political crises and military coups.

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and after his brother King Ananda died of a gunshot wound in 1946 under mysterious circumstances, he did not take up the crown immediately, instead deciding to complete his studies.

He was crowned on 5 May 1950, a week after marrying Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara, daughter of the Thai ambassador to France.

He was an accomplished jazz musician and composer, an avid photographer, accomplished sailor, painter, author, and sportsman. A man dedicated to the common man, he held a lifelong commitment to the improvement of the Thai people.

 

28 October 1996: Royal guards shade Queen Elizabeth II and King Bhumibol Adulyadej from the sun during a welcoming ceremony at Bangkok military airport during the British royals' five-day visit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Thai king's accession to the throne. Picture: Reuters
28 October 1996: Royal guards shade Queen Elizabeth II and King Bhumibol Adulyadej from the sun during a welcoming ceremony at Bangkok military airport during the British royals’ five-day visit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Thai king’s accession to the throne. Picture: Reuters
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25 November 1996: King Bhumibol Adulyadej shakes hands with US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton as President Bill Clinton looks on during their meeting at Chitrlada Palace in Bangkok. Picture: Reuters
18 November 2012: US President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ambassador Kristie Kenney, meets with King Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Kingdom of Thailand, at Siriraj Hospital in BangkokOfficial White House Photo by Pete Souza
18 November 2012: US President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ambassador Kristie Kenney, meets with King Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Kingdom of Thailand, at Siriraj Hospital in BangkokOfficial White House Photo by Pete Souza

In his later years he suffered poor health and was in and out of hospitals for over a decade.

Toward the end of his reign, as his health declined, the King’s presence in public life waned. Before his death, analysts expressed concern that his passing will remove a vital point of unity in an increasingly divided country.
 Thailand's King Bhumibol celibrates his 70th year on the throne. Picture: IBTimes UK
Thailand’s King Bhumibol celebrates his 70th year on the throne. Picture: IBTimes UK
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29 September 2010: Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej goes for a concert at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. Picture: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

He lived a fairly frugal life compared to other people of power throughout the world, and for this alone he was universally loved throughout the country.

His expected successor and designated heir is Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

As well as the Crown Prince and his wife, Queen Sirikit, Bhumibol is survived by three other children: Ubolratana, Chulabhorn and Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

 

12 June 2006: The Royal Barge procession cruises down the Chao Praya river in Bangkok, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's accession to the throne. Picture: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
12 June 2006: The Royal Barge procession cruises down the Chao Praya river in Bangkok, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne. Picture: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
R.I.P. King Bhumibol
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1946: A portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Picture: Unknown
Sources: CNN, ibtimes

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