$90-Million Funeral Held For Longest Reigning Thai Monarch
World leaders have always been such great influence to their people, especially monarchs who rule for so many decades. There aren’t a lot of countries nowadays who ruled by kings and queens, which is why they always manage to get the attention of people from everywhere in the world when an event happens. Unfortunately, Thailand’s king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in October last year at the age of 88 and was known to be the longest-reigning monarch in history who ruled Thailand for 70 years.
THE FATHER OF THAILAND
The royal palace announced that the king died at Siriraj Hospital, but they didn’t give any further details. The King was actually considered as a unifying figure of Thailand, he was so loved by his people, that the future of the monarchy itself is in question. The king’s heir, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, was not exactly in the same league as his father, the people of Thailand simply knows him for his playboy ways. The King actually spent most of his final reign in the hospital. Because of his death, the current longest living monarch is now Queen Elizabeth II, who has ruled Great Britain for more than 60 years.
The late king was actually just an accidental monarch since he took the throne at the age of 18 when his older brother died in 1946, since then he embraced the role of a national patriarch, leading and living with Thailand’s traditions, as well as upholding deference and loyalty. He is known as the people’s king because he basically transformed Thailand and made it the most agricultural economy in the modern era. The people of Thailand were indeed devastated after the news of their beloved king’s death, people were captured sobbing and confronting one another with his pictures in hand, as they mourn over the death of their king.
FUNERAL FIT FOR A KING
For an entire year, Thailand mourned over the death of King Bhumibol, they have been preparing for his extravagant funeral for almost a year. The entire procession lasted for five days starting the 25th of October. His body will then be cremated after having it rested at Bangkok’s Grand Palace and this ceremony is just a part of the entire funerary rites that are reserved for the royals of Thailand.
According to Reuters, Thailand allocated $90 million for this funeral. A quarter of a million people were actually expected to join this event and the Thai government made sure that the security is at its finest with over 80,000 of them. Within the year of the mourning, more than 12 million people have paid their respects to Thailand’s beloved king. The massive crowd gathered in Bangkok to witness the Crown Prince lighting a pure built to resemble the sacred center of the Hindu universe. Some people from all over the world are actually wondering why they took a year to mourn and prepare for the king’s cremation, and most of all, where did the $90 million go?
A royal crematorium called as Sanam Luang was actually built just for this funeral. According to Lieutenant General Sansem Kaewkumnerd, the cremation of the late king took place in private of course, with only family attending. The people who attended the funeral parade were mostly dressed in dark colors that stood out because of the gold symbolic urn that was actually transferred by the soldiers who are dressed in red and white. One Thai supporter even said, “He’s the dad. The best people and my idol. My hero. My everything.”
Thousands of people of Thailand even slept on the streets to reserve the best vantage for the procession while the king’s body was on its way to the three-tier 50-meter high golden funeral pyre. People of Thailand consider this a special occasion that they simply could not miss, and said that this is the least they could do for their late king. A supporter even said, “I’m here today because it’s an important day. We would like to be as close as possible to send him back to the heavens. I believe everyone doesn’t want this day, but we have to accept it’s the time that our king has to go back to the heavens. He has dedicated his life to working really hard for us. He’s still in our hearts.”
Which is why that Thursday was actually declared as a public holiday to allow the people of Thailand to be given an opportunity to pay their final respect to their beloved king. It was also attended by members of other royal families including, Great Britain’s Prince Andrew, Japanese Prince Akishino, and other royals from Belgium, Spain, and Sweden.
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