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King Maha Vajiralongkorn was officially crowned on Saturday, but has been the southeast Asian nation’s constitutional monarch since October 2016 following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Tradition dictates the first royal command is issued during the crowning and serves to capture the essence of the new king’s reign.

The monarch said: “I shall reign in righteousness for the benefits of the kingdom and the people forever,” the king said, before taking his seat on a high throne under a nine-tiered umbrella in full royal regalia, including a gold-enameled, diamond-tipped crown.

The coronation comes after a period of mourning for the late king, who ruled for 70 years.

It also falls amid an unresolved election battle between the ruling military junta and a “democratic front”, which is trying to push the army out of politics.

Thailand ended absolute rule by its kings in 1932, but the monarchy remains highly revered as the divine symbol and protector of the country and Buddhist religion.

Thai kings’ coronation rituals are a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu Brahmin traditions dating back centuries. One of the many official titles King Vajiralongkorn will take is Rama X, or the 10th king of the Chakri dynasty founded in 1782.

Saturday’s rituals were about transforming him into a “Devaraja”, or a divine embodiment of the gods.

The coronation takes place inside the Grand Palace throne hall where the royal guardian deity Phra Siam Devadhiraj is said to reside.

The king had earlier announced his former body guard as the new Queen of the kingdom, making her the forth wives.

The 66 year-old King is expected to begin a three-day rites from today.

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By Roving

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