The world’s longest reigning monarch, King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej has died at the age of 88 on Thursday.
The King’s name is translated in English as “strength of the land and incomparable power”.
The king had been in poor health for a long time after spending most of his time in a Bangkok hospital.
King Bhumibol, also known as Rama IX, was born in Cambridge in the US state of Massachusetts, acceded to the throne on 9 June 1946 when he was 18, after his 29 year old brother, King Ananda Mahidol, died.
The King celebrated his 70th anniversary of his accession in Thailand on June 9 with millions of his subjects donning yellow shirts for the day.
After the news of his health broke out, many Thais had been wearing pink to try to bring good luck to the ailing monarch.
Hundreds of people had gathered outside the hospital where he was being treated praying for their beloved King to recover.
This is the sad news for the Thai people who considered King Bhumibol as a unifying and calming influence through numerous coups and 20 constitutions.
King Bhumibol and his wife Queen Sirikit who have been married for 66 years have three daughters and son, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya (born 1951), Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn (born 1952), Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (born 1955), and Princess Chulabhorn Walailak (born 1957).
The heir apparent to the throne is Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is the only son of King Bhumibol. In 1972 his father conferred the title “ Somdech Phra Borama Orasadhiraj Chao Fah Maha Vajiralongkorn Sayam Makutrajakuman” on Prince Vajiralongkorn, designating him the Crown Prince and heir to the throne.
The King had different roles in the Thai nation including;
- Acting as the Head of State.
- Little direct power.
- Approving and delaying laws.
- Holding cinsiderable political influence.
- Diffusing political influence.
- Pioneering projects for the poor.
Currently, the Thai Prime Minister has declared one year of mourning and there will be no festivities to be held for the next 30 days as part of paying respect to the departed and beloved King.