Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra officiated at the ceremony to begin the construction of the royal crematorium for Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana, at the ceremonial ground on the southern side of Sanam Luang in Bangkok.
The ceremony took place on 16 January 2012 at 11.30 hr, with Deputy Prime Minister Police General Kowit Wattana reporting the progress of the preparations for the royal crematorium to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Police General Kowit Wattana serves as Chairman of the Committee on the Construction of the Royal Crematorium and Surrounding Structures, and the Renovation of Royal Chariots and Royal Palanquins.
At the ceremony, Prime Minister Yingluck paid respect to various deities by lighting candles and joss sticks and presenting offerings to their statues. After a Brahmin finished chanting, Prime Minister Yingluck applied gold leaves on the main pillar of the crematorium and sprinkled consecrated water on the pillar. The Prime Minister also presented offerings to the Buddhist monks attending the ceremony.
The royal cremation of Princess Bejaratana is scheduled for 9 April 2012. During her life, Princess Bejaratana, the only child of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI), provided support for many charitable organizations. She also accepted Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital in the eastern province of Prachin Buri under her royal patronage. This hospital is now famous for herbal products and traditional Thai medicine.
Prince Bejaratana passed away at the age of 85 on 27 July 2011 at Sirirat Hospital in Bangkok. The body of the Princess is now lying in state at the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace compound.