Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was set to be proclaimed the new Thai King today, heralding a new chapter in the country's monarchy after the passing away of his revered father who was the world's longest reigning monarch. Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, head of the junta-appointed legislature, will meet the 64-year-old Crown Prince at Dusit Palace and ceremoniously invite him to take the throne, two days after he was proclaimed King Rama X. He will succeed his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also called King Rama the IX who died in October aged 88 and was the world's longest-reigning monarch. Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, the regent, will lead the heads of the country's three executive bodies during an audience with the Crown Prince in the evening. The other executives are Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Chairman of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) Wichitcholachai and president of the Supreme Court Veerapol Tungsuwan. Pornpetch is expected to formally invite the Crown Prince to ascend the throne as the 10th King of the Chakri Dynasty. Vajiralongkorn will ascend the throne 50 days after King Bhumibol Adulyadej's death. Many school representatives from the provinces also headed to Bangkok yesterday to buy portraits of the Crown Prince as well as flags with the Crown Prince's emblem.
They are preparing decorations to celebrate the new King's succession. It is a tradition in Thai households, private offices and government agencies to display portraits of the monarch. Besides photographs and flags, clothes with logos and messages to welcome the new King are also being stocked to meet the expected high demand. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut led members of the Cabinet and government officials in front of Government House to mark the 50th day of mourning for King Bhumibol. The ceremony began with the abbot of Ratchabopitsathitmahasimaram temple, leading 89 monks in chanting prayers. Gen Prayut then led cabinet members and government officials to give alms to the monks. A similar ceremony was held in front of the the office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, where governer Aswin Kwanmuang led city officials and members of the city and district councils by giving alms to monks. A one-year mourning period was announced in Thailand following the monarch's death. The late King's funeral is expected to be late next year.
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