The King of Thailand
The People’s Benefactor

The Monarchy of ThailandThe King of Thailand is the head of the government of the country.

Until 1932, Thailand was an absolute monarchy where the King had complete power in governing the state.

Since then, the country has been following the constitutional monarchy system of government, whereby the King is the symbolic leader with limited powers, as defined in the constitution. However, the Thailand people have absolute reverence and respect for their King.

The present monarch of Thailand is His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej also referred to as King Rama IX, since he is the ninth King from the Chakri dynasty to rule over Thailand. As per Thailand’s Palace Laws of Succession of 1924, the ascension to the throne and inheritance passes along the males in the family and are handed down from father to son. The present King of Thailand ascended the throne on 9th June 1946 after the death of his older brother. However, since he was studying at the time, his coronation took place only on 5th May 1950 after he returned to Thailand upon completion of his studies in Switzerland.

He has been the King of the Monarchy of Thailand since then, currently making him the longest serving head of state in the world and also the longest reigning monarch of the country. The King is married to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Their wedding took place a week prior to his coronation in 1950. They have four children, of whom the eldest son, His Royal Highness Maha Vajiralongkorn is the Crown Prince, who will ascend to the throne as Thailand’s King upon the death of his father.

The King of ThailandThe present Thailand King is credited with aiding the country’s transition from a military regime to a democracy.

As per the powers defined in the constitution, he is also the head of the armed forces of the country.

Although he is only a symbolic leader according to the law, and the Thailand Government looks after all matters of the State, he has certain powers such as the power of pardon and the royal assent.

The Grand Palace in Bangkok is the official residence of the King of Thailand. However, the present King mostly lives in the Chitralada Palace in Bangkok and the Klai Kangwon Villa in Hua Hin. The Grand Palace is largely used only for ceremonies and state banquets.

The Thai people have absolute respect for the King of Thailand, and he is also protected by lèse majesté, which means that it is a criminal offence to say anything that insults the King or any other member of the royal family. In addition, since he is the protector of Buddhism, which is the main Thailand religion, the people hold him in reverence.

As a tourist, it is important to remember the place that the King holds according to Thailand culture and to refrain from doing anything disrespectful or saying anything remotely insulting, as this could have serious repercussions, including likely imprisonment. No doubt the culture may be different from what you are used to, but while in Thailand, it is best to do as the locals do and show respect to the King of Thailand.

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