Thai king celebrated in post-coronation procession

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Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has married his long-time bodyguard in a surprise move just days before his coronation.

Despite not being able to see the King in person, civil servants in uniform and members of the public wearing garb in the royal color of yellow gathered outside the Grand Palace to pay their respects. Most people wore yellow - the colour of His Majesty's birthday, a Monday.

Thousands of Thais from across the country descended on inner Bangkok on Sunday (May 5) to catch sight of newly anointed King Maha Vajiralongkorn in a symbolic procession around the capital. The King would grant new royal titles to royal family members, ride in the royal palanquin in the royal procession to receive people's good wishes on Sunday, and meet a public audience including members of worldwide diplomatic corps on Monday.

Suthida does not have the same royal lineage as Vajiralongkorn's mother Queen Sirikit, who is the great-granddaughter of the Chakri dynasty's fifth king.

Early Sunday, the king bestowed royal titles on family members who crawled to his throne in a striking show of deference to the monarch, who was joined by his new Queen Suthida.

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For the royal procession, the king was carried through the streets on a gilded palanquin borne by 16 men walking at about 75 steps per minute and stopping to swap out personnel every 500 metres, according to the palace.

"I shall reign in righteousness for the benefits of the kingdom and the people forever", the king said in his first royal command, while sitting under a nine-tiered umbrella in full royal regalia including a gold-enameled, diamond-tipped crown.

But not much is known about his long-time consort-turned-queen, who faces a new and protocol-filled life in the wealthy and venerated Thai monarchy.

More than a dozen royal staff have reportedly been sacked by the new king for varying degrees of offences, including adultery and corruption.

The document, which will take effect on Saturday, listed many criteria for prisoners who are eligible for the pardon, including those with disabilities, chronic or terminal diseases, or those with one year left to serve.

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For most Thais, it is the first time they have witnessed a coronation - the last was in 1950 for the king's beloved father Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The king's marriage to Suthida is a "way of further legitimising" his reign, said Paul Chambers, political analyst at Thailand's Naresuan University. Thailand's army plays a major role in the country's politics and the country is now ruled by a military junta since a 2014 coup.

He received his crown on Saturday in a mixed Buddhist-Hindu ceremony, which was televised live on all channels across the country, amid the splendor of Bangkok's Golden Palace.

When the election took place in March, its results were uncertain.

"When the auspicious time arrived, the royal astrologer hit the Gong of Victory, the scribe and the royal augur began inscribing on the Royal Golden Plaques the official title of the King and the King's Horoscope".

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The country has been run by an arch-royalist junta since 2014.

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