Long Live the King
Thailand has a new King, with His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, 64, formally taking the throne to succeed his much-revered late father, who reigned for 70 years.
By Royal Command, the new monarch received the Royal Title “His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun”. He will also be known as Rama X, the tenth king in the Chakri dynasty that was founded in 1782.
His Majesty the King deems it appropriate to have the Royal Title on a temporary basis, before the Royal Coronation Ceremony is held in accordance with ancient royal traditions at a later stage.
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun was born on Monday 28 July 1952 at 17:45 in the Ambara Villa, Dusit Palace in Bangkok. When the prince was one year old, Somdet Phra Sangkharat Chao Krommaluang Wachirayanwong, the 13th supreme patriarch of the Rattanakosin Era gave the child his first name at birth, “Vajiralongkorn Borommachakkrayadisonsantatiwong Thewetthamrongsuboriban Aphikhunuprakanmahittaladunladet Phumiphonnaretwarangkun Kittisirisombun- sawangkhawat Borommakhattiyaratchakuman”.
His Majesty has one older sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana, and two younger sisters, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn.
Vajiralongkorn began his education in 1956 when he entered kindergarten at the Chitralada School in Dusit Palace. After completing Mathayom 1 (through grade seven), he was sent to study at public schools in the United Kingdom. First at King’s Mead School, Seaford, Sussex, and then at Millfield School, Somerset, where he completed his secondary education in July 1970. In August 1970, he attended a five-week military training course at The King’s School, in Sydney, Australia.
In 1972, the prince enrolled at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra, Australia. His education at Duntroon was divided into two parts: military training by the Australian Army and a bachelor’s degree course under the auspices of the University of New South Wales. He graduated in 1976 as a newly commissioned lieutenant with a liberal arts degree.
In 1982 His Majesty completed a second bachelor’s degree in law with second-class honours and in 1987 he also completed a Master’s Degree of Laws at the Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University.
After completing his studies, His Majesty served as a career officer in the Royal Thai Army. He served as a staff officer in the Directorate of Army Intelligence, attended the Command and General Staff College in 1977.
His Majesty attended numerous military training courses in Australia and the United States, with observation tours in England, Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands. A long list of military courses attended by His Majesty includes helicopter and high performance aircraft flight training, special warfare training, demolition training, parachute training, and courses in small arms and other weapons used in modern warfare.
On December 28, 1972, at the auspicious time of 12.23 p.m. in the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej conferred Prince Vajiralongkorn with the title of “Somdech Phra Boroma Orasadhiraj Chao Fah Maha Vajiralongkorn Sayam Makutrajakuman” (His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn) making him the heir to the throne in accordance with the Palace Law on Succession B.E. 2467 (1924).
On this occasion he took a solemn oath, “I, the Crown Prince, shall uphold with my life the dignity and royal title that His Majesty the King bestowed upon me. I shall be loyal to the country. I shall be honest to the people. I shall undertake sacrifices and perform all burdens and duties to the utmost of my ability, for the sake of progress, peace and stability of Thailand, until the end of my life.”
In 1978 he became Commander of the King’s Own Bodyguard Battalion. Later that year on 6 November 1978 at age 26, His Majesty interrupted his military career to be ordained as a Buddhist monk at Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). He was given the name ‘Vajiralongkornno’ and resided at Wat Bowon Niwet Wihan Ratchaworawihan for 15 days.
HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn holds the ranks of General in the Royal Thai Army, Admiral in the Royal Thai Navy and Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force. He is qualified to pilot the Northrop F-5, F-16, and the Boeing 737-400.
Before ascending the throne, some assignments included Commanding General of the Royalty Security Command and Instructor Pilot of the F-5 E/F. Intermittently, he engaged in actions for counter-insurgency purposes in the North and Northeast areas of Thailand as well as for protective purposes in areas around Cambodian refugee camps at Khao Lant, Trat Province.
His Majesty has continued the Royal Family’s assistance programs to underdeveloped areas around the country and visited depressed urban areas around Bangkok distributing food and necessity items to people in need. Another impressive undertaking was his participation in a fertilizer preparation project in Suphanburi Province using natural ingredients to enrich the land in support of the country’s great agricultural pursuits. Farming is considered to be a highly significant and noble profession in Thailand and the Royal Family takes an active role in advancing the vital industry of agriculture.
His Majesty has been recognized for his tireless efforts to follow in the royal footsteps of HM the late King and HM the Queen in promoting the well-being of Thai people by visiting people in various regions to listen to their problems. His Majesty has gained in-depth experiences in many fields and has provided his initiatives for the benefits and happiness of the people and prosperity and security to the country.
His Majesty frequently accompanied HM the late King Bhumibol and HM Queen Sirikit on their visits to many parts of Thailand. He has often visited ‘Somdet Phrayuparaj’ hospitals under his royal patronage in remote areas of the country. With funds donated by the public, he established the “Crown Prince Hospitals” to serve as medical and health care centers for people living in remote areas. By the year 1977, Crown Prince Hospitals had been set up in 21 locations. These hospitals had become major community hospitals providing services of international standard to the general public.
He has also been performing many royal duties promoting public health, social welfare, foreign affairs, and education, as well as religious and legal functions. Some of them have been performed as designated by HM King Bhumibol and HM Queen Sirikit.
Also interested in agricultural development, His Majesty accepted the “Mobile Agricultural Clinic Project” under his patronage. The project provides prompt services to farmers in order to enhance efficiency in farm production and solve farmers’ problems. It comprises experts in various agricultural fields who can advise farmers on plants, livestock, fisheries, and land development.
His Majesty also offers suggestions on the tackling of agricultural problems, in addition to the application of agricultural technology to increase productivity and the improvement in the quality of agricultural production. He emphasizes full-cycle agricultural activities, considering that they will help improve the quality of life of farmers.
Aware of the importance of education, His Majesty established the “His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s Scholarship” in 2009 with the aim of improving children’s access to quality education and instilling the concept of lifelong learning. The scholarship program has been operating with His Majesty’s personal funds amounting to 42 million baht a year together with donated funds presented to him for charitable purposes. The funds have been used to support education for needy students on a continual basis.
His Majesty has special ties to the Rajabhat University system of 40 institutions of higher learning. HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn has presided over commencement ceremonies at all Rajabhat Universities nationwide and personally handed out degrees to all Rajabhat university graduates every year since 1978.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said that because of tradition that the throne should not remain vacant, His Majesty the King’s reign will be considered as beginning on the day HM King Bhumibol died.
“His Majesty the new King, the beloved son of the late King, will carry forward his leadership and legacy,” the Prime Minister said.
The Pattaya Mail Media Group humbly joins the Kingdom of Thailand in offering our best wishes to His Majesty Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun on the occasion of his ascension to the throne October 13, 2016.
Long live the King!