Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej has granted a royal audience at the Grand Palace on the occasion of his 82nd birthday. Today was only the third public appearance the Thai king has made since he was admitted to hospital in September. Tens of thousands of well-wishers in Bangkok lined the streets as the king’s motorcade left the Siriraj Hospital en-route to the palace.
Thailand has been in the grip of political disputes and protests in the last few years. At the palace, the Thai monarch made a short speech in which he called for unity and stability for the good of the nation. He said his happiness could be achieved ‘if the country prospers, is stable and is at peace.’ Following the royal audience, the king returned to hospital. Candle lighting ceremonies in honour of His Majesty took place nationwide with the official ceremony in Bangkok beginning at the auspicious time of 19.29.