Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej will be cremated on October 26th, says Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam with the palace confirming the government’s plan. A senior government official has added that the king’s funeral will take place over a five day period.
Confirmation of the cremation date sets a timeframe for the coronation of Bhumibol’s son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who ascended the throne in December but whose formal coronation has been put on hold until after his father’s funeral. Political observers say the new king’s coronation will formally kick-start politics following a year-long mourning period and a general election should follow soon after.
King Bhumibol died in October 2016 at the age of 88 following a long illness.
His death ended a seven-decade reign that saw the king become a rare unifying figure in the nation. Officials have said King Bhumi
bol’s cremation will be a lavish affair befitting of a much-loved monarch. No budget has been publicly released for the funeral which is expected to attract huge crowds.
Several golden chariots are in the royal inventory, including one around 11 metres tall with a pinnacle at the top symbolizing the ascent to heaven that will bear the king’s body this year. Supaporn Saiprasith, a Department of Fine Arts official supervising 50 volunteers who are refinishing artifacts, said she has to make sure the royal chariot looks as if it was just made, “to make sure it is restored well enough to suit the honor of our late king.” “The people who come here, their hearts are in it 100 percent,” she said of her team. “They come to help without any sort of compensation from us.” Other items being worked on include largerthan-life-sized sculptures and decorations that use traditional embroidery techniques.
Eight sculptures will surround the main golden chariot, each around 2 metres tall. The funeral proceedings will include around 100 other smaller sculptures that depict images from Thai mythology and former kings and other figures.
While his body is in the closed tomb in the throne room of the Royal Grand Palace, restorers prepare a royal chariot “great victory”, in which the monarch will be carried in the last journey.