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HIS MAJESTY King Maha Vajiralongkorn yesterday presided over a royal merit-making ceremony for the Royal Relics of his father, His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, at Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace.
Also at the ceremony were several other members of the Royal Family, including the current monarch’s sisters HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya.
The ceremony started with the King paying respects to the Royal Relics of the Chakri Dynasty’s late monarchs and royal family members, and lastly to the Royal Relics of King Rama IX.
The King paid his respects to statues of the Buddha in front of the late King’s Royal Relics.
Before praying for the late monarch, the King presented royal fans made especially for this event to the Supreme Patriarch, His Holiness Ariyavon-gsagatanana, and to 30 other venerable monks from royal temples throughout the country.
Then, led by the Supreme Patriarch, the 30 monks chanted a prayer. Somdej Maha Bodhiwongsajarn, the abbot of Ratchaorotsaram Temple, gave a sermon.
After the monks’ prayer, the King gave them flowers, drinks, robes and lamps.
Following the Royal Cremation on Thursday, the event was the penultimate royal event of the five days of ceremonies, which will conclude today with the fifth and sixth processions taking place at The Grand Palace.
In the morning at 10.30am, HM the King Rama X will lead the fifth procession which will transfer the Royal Relics from Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall to be enshrined in the Heavenly Abode in Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall, where the Royal Relics of the late monarchs of the Chakri Dynasty are placed.
Later today, at 5.30pm, HRH Sirivannavari Nariratana will lead the 77-Cavalry Procession to transfer the Royal Ashes which will be enshrined at two royal temples, Wat Ratchabophit and Wat Bovoranives.
Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday that the mourning period for the passing of His Majesty the late King would end after today’s ceremonies.
Sansern said the official end of the mourning period had been agreed upon by the Cabinet and that people would not be required to wear colourful clothes tomorrow, despite rumours to that effect on social media.
The spokesman also denied that the government had instructed the Prachuap Khiri Khan governor to tell residents to wear yellow tomorrow.
No instruction on clothing had been given, the spokesman added.
In Bangkok, areas around the Royal Cremation grounds have returned to normal after the funeral was completed on Friday.
Most roads that were closed during the ceremony have reopened to traffic.
The Royal Cremation grounds at Sanam Luang, however, remain restricted. Mourners wishing to get inside to pay respects to the late King are required to present their identification cards as well as wear proper mourning attire. Normal life has largely resumed for pedestrians and commuters in the area, although security officers will stand guard until the official completion of the mourning period.
Meanwhile, in his national address on Friday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged all Thais to remember the late King Bhumibol as the symbol of national unity and compassion while contributing to the “unfinished business” of sustainable development as initiated by the late monarch.
The premier, who shed tears during the Royal Cremation on Thursday, also thanked everyone who played a key role in ensuring that the grand ceremony went ahead smoothly – especially the volunteers who provided free services including food, motorbike taxi rides, garbage collection, cleaning and care services for the elderly and disabled.
During the 70-year reign of King Bhumibol, more than 4,600 projects were initiated nationwide to improve the well-being of Thais in rural and poverty-stricken areas, earning the late King the title of one of the country’s greatest “developer” kings, especially in areas of water-resource management, agriculture, soil management and environmental protection.
King Bhumibol is also internationally recognised for his royal initiatives on sufficiency economy as exemplified in many of his development projects.