There have been extraordinary scenes in Bangkok this morning as hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets and filled the Royal Plaza to cheer His Majesty the King of Thailand. With the majority of the crowd wearing yellow and waving Thai national flags and the yellow royal flag, it was a colourful and emotional scene with a number of the onlookers wiping away tears as they shouted ‘Long Live the King’ to honour the Thai monarch who is 85 years old today.
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This morning, the royal cavalcade made the journey from Siriraj Hospital to the Royal Plaza where His Majesty was able to address the crowds from the balcony of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. Since the king was admitted to hospital in September 2009, his public appearances have been limited but greatly anticipated. Today’s events were covered on national television and during his speech His Majesty said he felt overwhelmed by the reception and thanked the people who had shown up in such vast numbers to wish him well.
There will be a candle-lit event at Sanam Luang this evening and fireworks are scheduled in some areas of Bangkok including Benjakiti Park. Away from the Thai capital, many provinces throughout Thailand are hosting concerts, displays and fireworks as part of a national day of celebration. The Thai king is viewed as the ‘Father of the Nation’ and as such his birthday on December 5th is also celebrated as Father’s Day in Thailand.