King, Queen leave for Hua Hin palace

A sea of people, mostly in pink and yellow, outside Siriraj Hospital cheered the King and Queen with chants of "Long Live Their Majesties" as they left for their first visit to Klai Kangwon Palace in five years on Thursday.

Well-wishers waited at Siriraj Hospital for hours just to get a glimpse of the King and Queen as their motorcade left to travel to Klai Kangwon Palace on Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Their Majesties departed the hospital about 4pm in a royal motorcade accompanied by royal doctors and nurses on their way to the palace in Hua Hin district in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. The King and Queen arrived at the palace at 6.49pm.

Well-wishers had gathered at the hospital since the morning, after the announcement by the Royal Household Bureau through Prachuap Khiri Khan governor Weera Sriwathanatrakoon, that the royal couple would move to the seaside town of Hua Hin, with no schedule on how long they will reside there in the palace.

Royal watcher Sakda Sajamitr, who was in the crowd, said the King and Queen's decision to leave the hospital sends a message to the public that they are healthy.

Mr Sakda said he had frequently come to Siriraj to give the King, and more lately the Queen, his best wishes over the last three years.

"This is the best news of the year for me,'' he said.

His Majesty has been in Siriraj since September 2009. Her Majesty was admitted to the hospital in July 2012.

Mr Sakda was not alone in his wait to see the beloved monarch. Thanom Chompu and Thipa Nujjareeporn said they went to Siriraj whenever they had the chance, in the hope that one day when they were there the King and Queen would appear in public. Thursday was the day neither could miss.

"I love Their Majesties. They bring happiness to all of us. I really wish thehave a full and quick recovery,'' Mrs Thanom said.

Mrs Thipa left her house in Nakhon Pathom province at 4am on Thursday to get the best spot she could at the hospital to see the King and Queen. She asked police on the path outside Siriraj where their Majesties would proceed and never left her place.

"I'm delighted at seeing Their Majesties and being part of the crowd to send them to Klai Kangwon,'' she said.

Well-wishers had gathered at Siriraj since about 6am - many from other provinces including Nakhon Pathom, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani. Many hours before the King and Queen were due to leave, all areas were full.

"Distance was not a problem for us,'' said Charaswan Theeratham from Nong Kham district of Bangkok, who was at Siriraj early in the morning. "All of us will follow the King and Queen everywhere.''

About 100 metropolitan police were deployed to guard the hospital and assist well-wishers, said Pol Maj Gen Charn Wimolsri, chief of the bureau's divison 7, which is in charge of the area where the hospital is located.

Tens of thousands of well-wishers were expected to turn out along the route to the palace, all hoping to get a glimpse of the King and Queen, especially in Hua Hin and along Phetkasem road where the motorcade will pass on its way to the palace.

Udom Kachintorn, dean of the faculty of medicine at Siriraj Hospital, said on Thursday that the King and the Queen are healthy and ready for the trip.

A team of royal doctors and nurses would accompany them to the palace, and all necessary medical equipment had been installed at the palace and at Hua Hin Hospital nearby, Dr Udom said.

"We are fully ready. Assignments for doctors and nurses will be the same as Siriraj. The number has not been reduced,'' he added.

Hua Hin officials had set aside parking space for 3,000 cars in 19 locations near the area for people wanting to see the King and Queen to leave their vehicles.

The landscape along the route had been spruced up and national and royal flags were flying on part of Phetkasem Road, which leads to the palace.

The Royal Thai Navy had deployed five ships - three frigates and two patrol boats - to stations in the Gulf of Thailand offshore from the palace since 8am on Thursday, navy chief Adm Surasak Rounroengrom said.

The navy would fire a salute to honour Their Majesties as they arrived at Klai Kangwol, he added.

More pictures in photo galleries.

Related search: King, queen, siriraj, klai kangwon, hua hin

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