Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Ascension of Rama IX

On this day in 1946 Bhumibol Adulyadej ascended the throne of Thailand as Rama IX.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketHis brother and predecessor, King Ananda Mahidol, had been found in his bed with a bullet in his head, and the events surrounding his death are still shrouded in mystery. Given this, and the political situation in Thailand at the time, the new King chose to remain in Europe to complete his education.

His Majesty married his future consort Sirikit in April 1950, and their joint coronation, which today is a national holiday in Thailand, was held a week later.

This portrait of His Majesty was made in the 10th year of his reign; he is currently the longest serving sovereign and Head of State in the world, surpassing Elizabeth II by five years. During his reign he has seen the Thai people through various political and social upheavals with stalwart dignity; in 2006 and 2007, while he was hospitalized for various illnesses, hundreds of thousands of his people visited the hospital where he was staying to sign get well cards.
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