Born to be a king

Since the reign of King Rama I, the Chakri Dynasty has had an unbroken line of 10 great monarchs culminating in His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua

The images of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua, in full regalia, sitting on the Budtan Thong royal palanquin as he was carried for a historic procession around the Grand Palace during the coronation ceremony in May are still etched deeply in the minds of all Thai citizens, here and afar.

As the historic ceremonies that culminated in his coronation took place, His Majesty the King -- the 10th in the Chakri Dynasty -- has vowed to "carry on, preserve, develop and reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people". Those words cut through the heart of all Thais who admired his commitment to continue what his father -- the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej -- had created.

Born on July 28, 1952, as the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit The Queen Mother, this year marks the 67th birthday of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua.

Back in 1952, Thailand faced a long period of drought. Yet on the morning of July 28, suddenly the sky was overcast with rain clouds, bringing a delightful sign to people in Thailand who had been waiting for rainfall on the parched soil. According to a book by MR Sumonchart Swasdikul, published by the Fine Arts Department to celebrate the crown prince's investiture in 1972, King Bhumibol was on hand with a camera and voice recorder to capture the memorable moment of childbirth at Ambara Villa.

"At 5.45pm, the prince was born. At the very same time, the rain that has been absent throughout the season started to come down. It was as if the sky recognised his birth," MR Sumonchart wrote.

The little prince started his early education at the age of four at Chitralada School in the Dusit Palace, before furthering his elementary studies in the United Kingdom at King's Mead School in Sussex and completing his secondary education at Millfield School in Somerset.

After he turned 20 in 1972, the young man was proclaimed Crown Prince, the third for the Chakri Dynasty, in December amid the pomp and pageantry of a centuries-old tradition at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. As he aged, the Crown Prince never ceased to involve himself in improving the country's public health, agriculture and education, like his late father. Many times he was seen accompanying King Bhumibol Adulyadej to Thailand's remote areas to provide his people with much-needed aid. A number of projects have been established under his royal guidance to help Thais in several areas such as promoting appropriate rice farming methods, setting up a mobile agricultural clinic and founding the Somdet Phra Yuparaj Hospital project, to name only a few.

On Dec 1, 2016 -- two months after the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej -- His Majesty the King accepted an invitation from the National Legislative Assembly to ascend the throne.

Prior to his royal coronation in May, His Majesty the King married Gen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayutthaya, after which the King issued a royal command installing her as Queen Suthida, and accorded her royal rank and status.

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