Royals take part in rehearsals
Thousands of loyal subjects turn out to watch four processions.
REHEARSALS of four processions for the Royal Cremation of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej took place yesterday at Sanam Luang, attended by two Royal Family members and thousands of officers and loyal subjects clad in black.
It was the second rehearsal at the actual venue and also the fourth rehearsal so far.
Nine checkpoints around the ceremonial ground opened at 5am but thousands of people had already gathered there hours before for a vantage point.
The loyal subjects also knew that the long wait would be worthwhile, because HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana would also be gracing the rehearsals.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn attends the second rehearsal for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Royal Cremation Procession at Sanam Luang ceremonial ground yesterday.
The first, second and third processions for the transfer of the Royal Urn on October 26, the day of the Royal Cremation, and the sixth procession on the transfer of the Royal Ashes on October 29 were rehearsed yesterday.
Princess Sirindhorn arrived at around 7am and joined the second procession, when the Royal Urn would be placed upon the Great Victory Chariot by Naga Conveyor, or Kroen Bandai Nak, and would proceed to the Royal Crematorium at Sanam Luang.
Princess Sirivannavari, grand daughter of the late King and daughter of King Rama X, led the 77-horse cavalry troop in the sixth procession, when the Royal Ashes would be transferred from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in a royal car to be enshrined at Wat Rajabopidh and Wat Bavoranives.
Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana gracefully leads the Sixth Royal Procession in the second rehearsal for the Royal Cremation of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej yesterday.
The procession was also joined by key government officials and Cabinet members, including Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, his deputies Wissanu Krea-ngam and General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, PM’s Office Minister Ormsin Chivapruck, and Culture Minister Weera Rojpotchanarat.
A cavalcade of 2,406 troops, 216 of whom were to pull the 13-ton Great Victory Chariot, led the march.
Prime Minsiter Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday leads four of his cabinet members marching in a procession during a rehearsal of the Royal Cremation of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Sanam Laung.
Marked by a sombre mood, the procession troops marched to the beat of royal funeral songs, and occasional salvos, at a slow pace, finishing at 2pm.
The next and final round of rehearsal will take place next Saturday and will be attended by Princess Sirindhorn.
The length of time they were required to stay there, the blazing sun yesterday and traffic curbs did not deter loyal subjects from turning up for the rehearsals.
Volunteers in blue caps collected garbage. But whenever the marching band played the royal anthem, Sansoen Phra Barami, all of them stood up in unison.
Saichol Chaichum, a middle-aged woman from Lampang who works in Nakhon Pathom province, has paid her respects before the Royal Urn more than 20 times. She intended to join every rehearsal and ceremony of the beloved late King.
Since 1958, the late King made several visits to the northern province where the royal development projects on steam-powered plant and basin were initiated.
Saichol recalled one time when the late King, accompanied by Princess Sirindhorn, came to her village in Mar Mo district.
“My mother had a chance to speak with him back then. This time, unfortunately, she could not come,” Saichol said with teary eyes
“I was too young to talk to him at that time. It is my chance now to pay my respects to him not only on behalf of my mum but the whole village,” she said. “His Majesty left a lot of development legacy for us.”
La-eid Keawsuk, a 63-year-old woman, came for the rehearsals as she would not be able to attend the actual ceremony because she is serving as a volunteer in a Bangkok district.
“I just would like to do good deeds as much as I can for him,” said La-eid, who has paid her respects to the late King 15 times already.
Wichan Jailek, a 65-year-old volunteer, travelled all the way from Kanchanaburi to assist the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration since Friday and hoped to carry on until the end of the month.
“I just wish to do whatever I can to help,” he said. “It is not tiring and instead fulfilling to be able to make a last contribution to the late King.”