At the dawn of Friday, millions of Thais woke up to the devastating news of their beloved ruler Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death at the age of 88.
As the news of his demise reached more people, everything came to a standstill in the Buddhist country with citizens gathering at the Grand Palace, where the body of King Bhumibol was to be brought to allow the subjects pay tributes to the King. Friday was declared a holiday for government officials.
Somdej Phrawannarat, a Budhist monk who is well reputed in the Thai society, led the funeral procession on Friday. He was followed by the Crown Price of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn.
After the funeral procession, the royal family brought back the late king’s body to the Grand Palace where Adulyadej’s devotees had gathered. Some like 28-year-old Patarapong Chankaw had been at the palace from 5 am.
As and when the news of the deceased king was announced to the public, who waited for him outside the hospital, many broke down and mourned for the King who earned his citizens’ respect and devotion by helping the rural poor, participating in charity works and bringing development of the agricultural sector.
Through 20 constitutions, the King managed to keep the nation stable and united different communities, even during turbulent times when tensions ran high in the country. He actively intervened time and again when political upheaval and violence took over Thailand. With his demise, Thais will find it difficult to look up to someone for support and help.
Civil servants were ordered to wear only black clothing for a year, as a gesture of mourning for their King and the Thai flag will fly half-mast for 30 days.