His father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in 2016; Vajiralongkorn’s coronation was originally held off because of the official mourning period, though no reason was given for the extended delay.
The 16 men carrying the king swapped out along the way during Sunday’s procession, which involved more than 1,300 personnel.
Vajiralongkorn’s four-mile procession was intended to pay homage at three Buddhist temples and gave him an opportunity see his subjects, who came out in yellow, the color associated with the king.
The new king, who is now Rama X, the 10th king of the Chakri dynasty, was educated in Britain and Australia. He became the official heir to the throne in 1972 — and the world’s richest monarch in 2018 when he signed the family’s $30 billion fortune over to himself.
He was joined by Queen Suthida, a former flight attendant whom Vajiralongkorn brought on as his bodyguard and made a full general. The king announced just days ahead of the coronation that he had married Suthida and made her queen. It was not known, at the time, whether she would play a role in the coronation.
It is the fourth marriage for the king, who has had three divorces. He has a daughter from his first marriage, five from his second (four of whom aren’t recognized by the palace, the marriage having ended acrimoniously) and one from his third marriage, which ended in 2014. Various relatives of his third ex-wife were charged under Thailand’s harsh lèse-majesté laws, which make it illegal to insult the king, even if he is a former in-law.
The coronation comes at a confused time in Thai politics. Elections were held in March for the first time since the military took power in 2014, but the country still doesn’t have a government, leading some to wonder whether the military’s promise to return the country to democratic rule was a hollow one.