On the fifth of May each year, Thailand celebrates Coronation Day, which marks the coronation anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is a public holiday in Thailand.
His Majesty the King will turn 84 this year. The whole country celebrates His Majesty the King’s 7th Cycle, or 84th, birthday anniversary throughout the year 2011.
His Majesty had a royal coronation ceremony performed in the Grand Palace on 5 May 1950, four years after he actually assumed his kingship in 1946. At the traditional coronation ceremony 61 years ago, His Majesty pronounced the traditional oath of accession: “We shall reign with righteousness for the benefits and happiness of the Siamese people.”
The royal coronation ceremony was formalized as a royal court tradition in the Fourth Reign of Bangkok, that of King Mongkut, Rama IV. He based the ceremony on the ancient royal tradition adopted from India, which specified five principal royal regalia as the symbols of kingship. They are presented to the monarch in a grand ceremony at the coronation. Other regalia and belongings are also presented on this occasion.
In the Bangkok period, five principal regalia have been instituted for the coronation ceremony, the first and the most significant royal ceremony of each reign. All were made when the ruling House of Chakri was established and Bangkok was made the royal capital. They are the royal crown, known as Phra Maha Phichai Mongkut, the royal sword, the royal staff, the ancient fan, and a pair of royal shoes.
By tradition, the royal coronation ceremony signifies the official recognition of the ruling monarch by the entire society. A monarch who has not performed the royal coronation ceremony is regarded as an uncrowned king, referred to by his original name, adding “in charge of the reign,” and accorded a seven-tiered royal umbrella, not the full-honor nine-tiered one. An order from the monarch cannot be called a royal command until a royal coronation ceremony is performed in accordance with ancient royal tradition.
The royal coronation ceremony of the present reign, in May 1950, was based on the royal coronation of the Seventh Reign, but adapted to suit the reduced conditions of the country in the post-war period, and, more importantly, to be in harmony with the spirit of the democratic era.
His Majesty the King is now the longest-reigning monarch in the world. Throughout his reign, he has conscientiously elevated the interests of the nation above personal interests.
The fact that His Majesty the King has reigned for 65 years now has given him a great advantage, as he has dealt with people from all over the country and in different situations. His views and suggestions are of great importance, and the Government places value in them. Many activities and projects have been arranged throughout this year in celebration of His Majesty’s 84th birthday anniversary.