Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is new Thai king

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is new Thai king
This handout received from the Royal Thai Bureau on December 1, 2016 shows Thai Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn reading a statement accepting the invitation to ascend to the throne in Bangkok. - AFP PHOTO
BANGKOK: Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn ascended to the throne today, after accepting formal invitation from the country's National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to become Thailand's new king.

The 64-year-old Crown Prince will now be known as King Rama X or the 10th King of the Chakri Dynasty, succeeding his late father, the widely revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 89, who passed away exactly 50 days ago on Oct 13.

His official new name is King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, according to a statement by the Public Relations Department.

His ascension to the throne was formalised after accepting an invitation presented by the NLA for him to become the new king in a royal audience tonight, said NLA president Pornpetch Wichitcholsai in a televised address last night.

Also present in the audience at Ampornsathan Hall which was recorded and shown on local television stations were Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, Regent who is also former Royal Advisory Council head, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda and Supreme Court Justice Weeraphol Tangsuwan.

Speaking at a televised address after Pornpetch, Prayut proclaimed that Thailand had a new king to succeed the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his reign began on Oct 13, the day his father, King Rama 9 breathed his last.

Today's audience to formally invite the Crown Prince to become the new king, followed NLA's special session two days ago where the 250-member assembly acknowledged his ascension to the throne, as according to the constitution.

The acknowledgement by the NLA came after the cabinet, chaired by Prayut issued formal notification on the Crown Prince's succession to the throne, following a special meeting at the Government House.

The official coronation of King Rama X is expected to be held after the royal cremation ceremony, possibly late next year, according to Prayut.

The new king, who was born on July 28, 1952 at Ambara Villa, Bangkok is the second of four children of the late King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, and the only son.

He had been named by the late King Bhumibol as the heir to the throne on Dec 28, 1972 when he was 20 years of age.

King Rama X received his primary education at Chitralada School in Bangkok and later at private colleges in the United Kingdom and Australia.

With a keen interest in military affairs, he enrolled and graduated from the Royal Military College of Duntroon in Canberra and New South Wales University, majoring in military studies.

As a military officer with the Royal Thai Army since 1975, he also trained with the Australian, British and United States armed forces personnel.

According to the local media, in the 1970s as a young military officer in the Royal Thai Army, he personally led a campaign against the communist insurgency in the North and the Northeast of the country .

He is a certified pilot and can fly fighter as well as transport aircraft. - Bernama