Thailand: Tears for late King as final rehearsals end
The final full-dress rehearsal for the grand royal procession that will bring HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s cremains to the Grand Palace took place Sunday amid tears from onlookers.
Thousands of black-clad people lined roads from Sanam Luang, where the Royal Crematorium is situated, to the Grand Palace to watch the rehearsal out of their overwhelming love for the late King. Many could not help but cry when the procession moved past.
“I would be willing to give up my life if that could mean my beloved King is still alive,” Chaweewan Singharattana, 78, said from the crowds of mourners who had waited patiently under the scorching sun and then rain for hours just for a glimpse of the rehearsal.
Held on Sunday were the final full-dress rehearsals of three royal processions that will be staged as part of the Royal Cremation of the late monarch. These three are the fourth, fifth and sixth processions in the Royal Cremation Ceremony schedule.
The rehearsal started at about 10 am, with HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn leading an 834-member-troupe in the final full-dress rehearsal of the fourth royal procession. It included the royal chariots and palanquins that will be used for the Collection of the Royal Relics and the Royal Ashes.
On October 27, the real procession will take place to carry the Royal Relics and Royal Ashes of the late king from the Royal Crematorium at Sanam Luang to the Grand Palace.
During the procession, the Royal Reliquary Urn containing the Royal Relics will be transferred to the Royal Palanquin with Four Poles, or Rajendrayan Busabok Palanquin. It then will proceed from the Royal Crematorium to Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace.
The Royal Ashes, in a cone-shaped container carried on the Small Royal Palanquin with Four Poles or Rajendrayan Noi, will be transferred to the Phra Sri Rattana Chedi in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The rehearsal for the fourth procession covered a 1,074-meter stretch and lasted about half an hour. The rehearsal for the fifth and the sixth Royal processions took place later in the day.
The fifth procession is for the Royal Relics to be transferred by the Royal Palanquin with Four Poles from Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall to be enshrined in the Heavenly Abode in Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall. It is scheduled to take place on October 29.
The sixth procession, meanwhile, is the procession of 77 cavalry troops to accompany the transfer of the Royal Ashes from the Phra Sri Rattana Chedi by a Royal Car to Wat Rajabopidh and Wat Bavoranives. The real ceremony will also take place on October 29.
HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, granddaughter of the late King and daughter of the current monarch, led the cavalry troops during the rehearsal. She will also do so on the day of the actual procession
The Royal Cremation Ceremonies will run from October 25 to October 29, with the actual cremation to take place on October 26.
The late King reigned over Thailand for seven full decades until his passing on October 13 last year. Known for his devotion to his people, he commanded great love and loyalty. His Royal Cremation has special significance for Thais across the world.
Members of several royal families and distinguished representatives from around the globe will attend the Royal Cremation Ceremony.
Sopita Kunchornwichai, a former state-enterprise employee, said she would start sleeping on the pavement as close as possible to the Royal Cremation ceremonial ground from today, because she hoped to be able to get to one of the vantage points for members of the public during the Royal Cremation. Those in the prime zones will get a full view of the royal ceremonies in honor of the late King.
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