01 June 2012

Flashback Friday: The Thai Diamond Jubilee

Talk of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee this year is bringing everyone back to the last time that happened in Britain: Queen Victoria, all the way back in 1897. But if it's Diamond Jubilee examples you're looking for, you needn't go so far back - you can simply widen your scope to an international scale. And so we're off to Thailand for a quick peek at another impressive jubilee before the British festivities kick into full gear this weekend.
The King and Queen of Thailand during the 60th anniversary celebrations
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand (also known as King Rama IX) celebrated 60 years on the throne in 2006; he took the reins at the age of 18 in 1946 after the mysterious shooting death of his older brother, King Ananda Mahidol. (Click here for a very interesting article on this royal mystery.)
A few royal guests at the first tiara event, left to right: Princess Máxima and Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Queen Sofia of Spain, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Queen Silvia and King Carl Gustaf of Sweden
Celebrations for the jubilee were extensive, even including the presentation of the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award to the king by Kofi Annan. The king and his wife, Queen Sirikit, hosted a lavish few days of concentrated celebrations in June to mark the occasion.
Group photo with the foreign royal guests
The Thai royals were joined by a huge gathering of royal attendees for the main festivities. A selection of sovereigns, consorts and representatives were in attendance from more than 20 different countries to pay tribute to Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Some royals at the second tiara event: Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Queen Sofia of Spain, Princess Máxima and Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
Festivities for the foreign royals began with a tribute ceremony, followed by an impressive royal barge procession. After indulging in a hefty dose of Thai culture, the royals were sent home after a glittering banquet at the Grand Palace.
Again at the second tiara event: Princess Mathilde and Prince Philippe of Belgium, Queen Silvia and King Carl Gustaf of Sweden, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan
The king still reigns today, though he has suffered from health problems in the past few years. He is the longest-reigning monarch in the world. Second on that exclusive list is of course Queen Elizabeth, who is currently celebrating her own Diamond Jubilee in a less tiara-filled, but still extensive, fashion.

Photos: Profimedia/Thai Monarchy