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An Australian man’s recollections of the time he met His Majesty has touched the hearts of the Thai people.
The story of 82 year old Peter Cummins’ meeting with the king in 1985 was shared nearly 100,000 times and viewed by a quarter of a million people online, reported Sanook.
Speaking at the HQ of the Thai Yachting Association in Pattaya, Peter said that he was working for the UN in public relations as early as 1971.
Like His Majesty he was an accomplished yachtsman. In 1985 Peter was the only non-Thai invited to compete in a competition in front of the Klai Kangwon palace in Hua Hin where His Majesty often stayed.
Peter said there were 300 Thai competitors – and himself as the only foreigner. He met the king and was photographed with him on the beach where they talked at length.
Peter said he had felt very close to His Majesty since that day and said that the king said to him: “Come and see me at the palace whenever you want”.
“He was a lovely man, so humble with no airs and graces even though he was a king,” said Peter. “What an honor it was to share this occasion with him”.
Peter said that the picture he treasures was taken after the competition was over when the king had joked with him: “You beat me this time, but you won’t beat me next time!”
They had then chatted about their respective places in the competition.
Some years before His Majesty along with his daughter Princess Ubolrat had achieved the distinction of winning a gold medal at the 16th SEA games in the OK Dinghy class in 1967.
Father and daughter had competed against Malaysian, Burmese, Singaporean and Thai opposition and had jointly won the Gold Medal presented by the queen.
The day was the 16th December and this was proclaimed as the National Sports Day of Thailand thereafter.
Peter said that when he heard the news about the death of the king he was devastated. He couldn’t stop crying when he thought about the king.
He told reporters that if there were more people like His Majesty in the world there would be no problems.
He said that he was so glad to live in Thailand and have the opportunity to meet and compete against His Majesty. In his remaining days he intends to continue living in the kingdom as he loves Thailand very much.