Assumption of The Residence

The ceremony of the Assumption of the Residence is in simple terms a private housewarming ceremony for the royal family. It essentially celebrates the King’s taking up the ceremonial residence at the Grand Palace.

The ceremony is held at the Chakrapat Biman Royal Residence, as it has been since the reign of King Rama II. Centuries ago, the apartments served as the permanent residence of King Rama I, King Rama II and King Rama III. Since the reign of King Rama IV, the traditional Thai-styled, one-story building has served only as a ceremonial residence.

The ceremony varies in details from the First Reign to the Ninth Reign, yet is mainly comprised of these elements.

After the King has been crowned, he proceeds to the Maha Monthira Palace Group where the Chakrapat Biman Royal Residence stands as the main structure.

The King is escorted into the state bedchamber inside the Royal Residence by a procession of ladies from the royal family bearing the Royal Auspicious Items and Royal Utensils.

In the old days, only ladies who belonged to the royal family could take part in the Assumption of the Residence. Later in the Rattanakosin era, however, members of the royal family who held the rank of Mom Chao could participate in the ceremony, according to the official publications on the Royal Coronation Ceremony by the Department of Fine Arts.

The Royal Auspicious Items comprise a cat, a grinding stone, a tray of green gourd, a tray of rice seeds, a tray of beans and a tray of sesame seeds.

During later reigns, more items were added, including a white rooster (for the coronation of King Rama VII), the royal flywhisk made of tail hair of a white male elephant, and several types of weapons.

Once the King proceeds to sit on the bed, senior members of the court would present to him a bunch of areca flowers made of gold. Another lady would then hand him a golden key, signifying his ownership of the palace.

After that, the King lies down on the bed. Senior ladies of the royal family would give him their blessings, followed by the rest of the court. The ceremony ends with a fanfare of traditional music.


  • The Maha Monthira Palace Group is located in the eastern part of the central area of the Grand Palace. It was built on the site where King Rama I first built his temporary palace after establishing himself as the First King of the Chakri Dynasty in 1782, according to the publications on the Royal Coronation Ceremony by the Fine Arts Department.

    The Group consists of three main Throne Halls – Chakrapat Biman Royal Residence, Baisal Daksin Throne Hall, and Amarindra Vinijaya Mahaisuraya Biman Throne Hall – and two adjoining buildings.

    In the old days, the Maha Monthira Group was regarded as the most important place in the Grand Palace since it served as the King’s residence, his workplace and the seats of the Royal Coronation and Assumption of the Residence ceremonies from the reign of King Rama II to the reign of King Rama IX.
  • Darbha grass or Ya Kha is considered a sacred material both in Hinduism and Buddhism. According to the Vedas, the grass came into existence during the mystical churning of the cosmic ocean. When the nectar finally rose, it was improperly handled and a few drops spilled onto the grass giving it holy power.

    In Buddhism, the grass is sanctified, as it is believed to have been used to lay on the Buddha’s seat.

    During the coronation, a layer of Darbha grass would be laid on the Bhadrapitha Throne before a gold plate inscribed by a lion motif would be placed on top of it for the King to sit on after he has received the purification bath.

    The Darbha grass to be used during sacred ceremonies must be harvested only on the Dark Moon day of the ninth month.
  • The golden areca flowers, rice seeds and other grains featured in the Assumption of Residence ceremony are symbols of abundance and fertility. Since Thailand is an agricultural society, the grains are keys to our life and livelihood.
  • It is commonly held in traditional Thai society that a cat should be carried into the new house as the owner moves in. Some say it is for the practical reason of having a cat to chase away rats. Others believe the custom stemmed from a belief that cats can expel demons and evil spirits as they can see in the dark.

(Sources & photos: The Royal Coronation Ceremony, Ministry of Culture)