Rehearsals for royal cremation ceremony of HM the late King held nationwide

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 25, 2017

Thousands of Thai citizens are camped outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok to attend the upcoming funeral of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died past year at the age of 88.

The mourners came dressed in black and were equipped with umbrellas and mats for the monarch's funeral, scheduled to start on Wednesday.

King Bhumibol, 88, who ruled for more than seven decades, was widely regarded as the nation's moral compass during periods of intermittent political unrest.

The Buddhist funeral ceremony, mixed with Hindu rituals, was attended by 119 Buddhist monks who chanted prayers in the ancient Pali language.

About 250,000 to 300,000 people are expected to attend the funeral rites around the square, close to the Grand Palace, amid tight security.

Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Maxima of Netherlands, Queen Silvia of Sweden, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan, Prince Andrew of England Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Japan's Prince Akishino, Australia's Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Singapore's President Halimah will be present on Wednesday for the rites.

Since his death on October 13 last year, the country has observed a year of official mourning, with many Thais wearing black.

On Thursday, three processions will make their way from the palace to the cremation site - a series of specially-erected Thai pavilions that took almost a year to build.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, known as Rama X, who inherited the throne in December on his father's death, arrived at the Grand Palace by auto on Wednesday as soldiers dressed in red uniforms and black hats stood to attention.

Some Thais have folded flowers of sandalwood paper to be used in the cremation, in the belief that their fragrance guides the soul of the departed to heaven.

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