BANGKOK – Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand on Thursday was proclaimed King, two days after Parliament invited him to ascend to the throne.
Now to be known as King Rama X, the 64-year-old was proclaimed by the head of Thailand’s military junta, Prayut Chan-ocha.
He succeeds his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej – known as Rama IX – who died on Oct. 13 at 88 after ruling for seven decades.
The new monarch was proclaimed after an audience with Prayut, the regent General Prem Tinsulanonda, the president of Parliament Pornpetch Wichitcholchai and the president of the Supreme Court, Veerapol Tangsuwan.
His official name as the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynasty will be Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun – “King Descended from Angels” – reported sources from the Royal Palace.
Bhumibol, who before his death was the longest-reigning head of state in the world, was the only monarch most Thai people had ever known and many saw him as a symbol of unity and a guide to the nation.
Rama X, who asked for a period of mourning before becoming king, is to be formally crowned in October 2017 once his father has been cremated.
The new king spent most of his life abroad, disconnected from affairs of the crown, and has not inherited his father’s popularity.
The royal family is a sensitive topic in Thailand, where legislation allows people be sentenced to three to 15 years in prison for insulting them.