By CHAKRAWAN SA-LETU,
And as the final numbers have not been confirmed, more countries are expected to attend.
Don said the Command overseeing the Royal Funeral is preparing the reception for foreign dignitaries.
He said that his ministry did not send invitations to foreign countries and attendance was open to any country.
“The government and Royal Household Bureau will give importance to people attending the funeral. For foreign guests, we are ready to welcome them,” Don said.
Referring to the placing of the sandalwood flowers for the late King at Thai missions abroad, Don said all missions are ready and the ministry will discuss whether the placement will happen according to Thai time or the local time in the foreign country.
Royal dignitaries who will attend the Royal Cremation include Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema; Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands as well as Prince Akishino, the younger son of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, and his wife, Princess Kiko. Singapore President Halimah Yacob will also attend.
Meanwhile, His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn will preside over a ceremony today to install the nine-tiered umbrella or “Nopphapadon Maha Sawetta Chat”, at the top of the Royal Crematorium for his father.
The ceremony marks the completion of the construction of the Royal Crematorium, with the auspicious time set between 5.19pm and 9.30pm. A live telecast will begin at 4.50pm.
In accordance with ancient royal traditions, the Nine-Tiered Great White Umbrella of State is reserved for the King who has performed a royal coronation ceremony.
The Nine-Tiered Great White Umbrella of State is made of white cloth in nine-tiers, each decorated with three levels of golden bands. It weighs 80 kilograms and is 5.1 metres high and 1.1 metres wide. It is made of black steel, which is durable, light, and will resist any water leaks that could damage the crematorium.
Traffic police announced yesterday that some roads would be closed during the Royal ceremony today. The closure will be from 3pm until the event is over.
The roads to be closed are Rajinee Road from the Parnpipop intersection to Phra Arthit Road; Na Pratart Road from Rajinee Road to the Prajan intersection; Prajan Road from the Prajan intersection to the Maharaj intersection; and Maharat Road from the Thanon Prajan intersection to the Ta Tien intersection.
Following the installation of the nine-tiered umbrella, all scaffolding will be removed from the construction site at Sanam Luang, marking the official completion of the Royal Crematorium for HM the late King.
Pornpitak Maensiri, an official of The Public Relation Department, said that as requested at the first two rehearsals for the royal grand processions, people attending the final rehearsal this Saturday are urged to use black or dark coloured umbrellas and should not make any noise while the royal families walk past. Taking selfies is prohibited.