King and Queen led the ceremonies and again came out to meet enthusiastic well-wishers near the Grand Palace in the evening. It was the first time the new King and Queen had presided over the event which is very popular with the public in Thailand.

The Thai public rallied in support of the monarchy on Saturday as thousands wearing yellow came out to meet the King and Queen and pay their respects to his father, who passed away in 2016, on the anniversary of his birthday.

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida and other members of the Royal family at the ceremonies on Saturday evening to celebrate the birthday of the former monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great (inset) on the day that Thais regard as Fathers Day and which is very popular with the public.

There was a strong and emotional turnout in Bangkok on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of Thailand’s former monarch, the still remembered and revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great on the day that Thais regard as Fathers Day.

The ceremony, this year, took on added significance given the months of strife in Thailand’s capital city with ongoing student protests and amid the Covid 19 crisis which sees Thailand confronting a threat to public health and a damaged economy. 

Thais are yearning for unity at this time and this has always been the role of the country’s leading institution.

Ceremony organised by the government

Saturday’s ceremony was organised by the government and the public were invited to an area adjacent to the Royal Palace, Sanam Luang, to meet 68-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida. The time set for the ceremony was 7.19 pm.

The current Thai King ascended to the throne in 2016 on the death of his father but was not crowned until May 2019.

This year was the first time the current King has presided over this very popular public event which, also, never fails to generate a festive atmosphere.

Large turnout shows Thais want unity

The turnout on Saturday was quite large and follows enthusiastic support for the Thai King and Queen in recent months as they have toured the country, at the same time, as ongoing student-led protests which persist in calls for more constitutional oversight of the monarchy and the scrapping of the Lèse-majesté law which severely criminalises negative commentary on the institution.

A poll, conducted in October, showed nearly 60% of the Thai public feel strongly that the monarchy should not be linked or involved with politics while in early November, another, alarming poll showed well over 80% of Thai people suspected third party interests outside of the country or a foreign power, of stirring up the current wave of protests.

Divide between the younger and older generation but all political groups support the monarchy

Many of these are older people who regard the monarchy as the lynchpin of Thai society while the young and particularly the educated younger generation, want to see Thailand modernising although all groups support the retention of the monarchy as the key pillar of the nation.

On Saturday night, 65-year-old Wanchote Kunprasert told news agency Reuters: ‘The king has always been there to take care of people’s happiness, and without the king, there would be chaos’, while 63-year-old Sirinan Jungwatmunee had the same sentiments: ‘The monarchy has been with us for centuries, how can you change that by just a few months of protests.’

Get all our latest stories, follow Thai Examiner on Facebook here

Further reading:

King and Queen visit South to a rapturous salute from well-wishers in Trang and Phatthalung provinces

King tells western TV crews that he loves all Thai people equally and the kingdom is the land of compromise

Protest leader blacked out after illegal attempt to rearrest him on Friday night in Bangkok failed after fracas

Protest leader tells Prayut his term as PM is over as thousands again take to the Bangkok streets against him

Strength of support for the monarchy being seen this week as political unrest deepens into standoff

PM says he is not resigning but seeks resolution as key protest leader, Anon, chooses to stay in prison

Top minister accuses protesters of imperiling economic recovery and the health of Thai people at this time

Large protest turnout in Bangkok on Wednesday pushed for the PM to go with a 3-day ultimatum

Prime Minister’s position has been weakened by protests as progressive leader says he must go to allow talks

Protests on the streets creating political tensions as PM warns the public only the country will lose

Press conference given by activist and Progressive Movement leader checked by abrupt police visit

Rally’s march on Government House surprises officials with a larger turnout and police in retreat

Police arrest 21 protesters in Bangkok attempting to block the road to be used for planned Royal motorcade

Smaller crowd expected at rally on Wednesday as police gear up security cordon with checkpoints

Police say students have no permission to protest as army chief warns that security will be upheld

New army chief takes the helm this week amid growing tensions and rising public apathy toward politics

Criminal charges likely against student leaders as mysterious ‘People’s Party’ plaque goes missing

Students submit a reform petition to the Privy Council, call for a General Strike in Thailand on October 14th

March on government to go ahead on Sunday as rally organisers appear to focus on the monarchy reform plans

Western foreigners being blamed by ultra-right for this latest wave of radical student protests

Raised concerns for the defiant student protest being planned for next Saturday and Sunday

Exasperated PM loses patience with press corps over ‘distorted’ online speculation of a coup amid tensions

Army chief denies and rejects rumours of a likely coup as the country faces crisis on key fronts

Shock resignation of Minister of Finance a sign of more politics being demanded in government

Thailand stuck in a ‘vicious cycle’ which will lead to further military coups says leading academic

New ministers take the reins in a formal audience with King Rama X & Queen Suthida at Dusit Palace

New cabinet lineup in Royal Gazette but economic damage now extending into parts of the property market

Warning signs in new banking and employment reports as virus crisis hits Thailand’s bottom line hard

Thailand may have to live with the virus but can recover in two years says outgoing central bank chief

June export figures show a 23% decline on last year but the economy will recover by end of 2021

Prime Minister indicates that the cabinet reshuffle will be complete very shortly with no problem

Somkid ready to bow out of government as September cabinet reshuffle seems to be on the cards

Plans to relaunch tourism from China thrown out as conflicting reports emerge of a new swine flu virus threat

Election of a new ruling party leader, shifts focus now to the future of the economics czar Somkid and his team

Banks ordered to cease dividends and shore up balance sheets on fears of loan quality erosion due to slump

Thai economy in even greater peril as Covid 19 shutdown appears to have had a bigger impact than expected

Election of Prawit as Palang Pracharat leader will see more grassroots politics in government

Emergency decree extended by Thai government but politics behind the scenes abuzz with PPP party heave