Thousands mourn Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej death
Tens of thousands of mourners, clad in black, filled the sprawling grounds near the Grand Palace here on Saturday for an emotional mass singing of the royal anthem in remembrance of Thailand’s much adored late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was the world’s longest-reigning monarch.
King Bhumibol, who was widely respected across Thailand, passed away on October 13 at the age of 88 after 70 years as head of state.
Born in Cambridge in the US, he had acceded to the throne in 1946 after his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, died, and guided Thailand through numerous coups and 20 Constitutions. Authorities said more than 150,000 people occupied Sanam Luang grounds much ahead of the scheduled afternoon programme in remembrance of the late King.
More people continued arriving ahead of a second performance that took place in the night, they said.
A 100-piece orchestra and a 100-member professional choir conducted by Somtow Sucharitkul accompanied the mass of amateur voices from the people offering their most heartfelt tribute.
Most of the people carried portraits of the late King and many wept as they sang the royal anthem.
Crowds assembled calmly and followed directions as they assembled near the majestic Grand Palace.
Most had arrived via shuttle buses arranged for the occasion from shopping centres and other public sites on the periphery of the city.
Participants held lit candles and sang the anthem without accompanying music.
Thousands of mourners also waited in front of the Grand Palace’s Viset Chaisri Gate, waiting for their turn to sign the condolence book in the Sala Sahathai Samakhom Pavilion inside the compound.