King makes unity call in birthday message

HUA HIN, PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN : His Majesty the King on Thursday stressed the importance of unity and solidarity among the Thai people and the need for them to work together for the sake of the common good.

In his speech marking his 86th birthday, His Majesty said that Thailand has been a peaceful country for a long time due to the unity and solidarity among Thai people who perform their duties to support each other for the national interest.

"All Thais should realise this point and behave and perform their duties accordingly for the sake of the common good, and the security and safety of the nation of Thailand, " His Majesty said in a speech that was broadcast live on television and radio nationwide.

The King was addressing a congregation of members of the royal family, privy councillors, cabinet ministers, members of the judiciary, civil servants, military leaders and foreign dignitaries inside Rajpracha Samakhom Pavilion at Klai Kangwon Palace in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district.

It was the first time in his reign that His Majesty the King had marked his birthday before a grand congregation in a provincial royal palace.

Prior to the King's arrival at the palace yesterday, royal guards and military bands paraded in full military regalia along Phetkasem Road to the palace.

Tens of thousands of well-wishers wearing yellow shirts and waving national flags and yellow flags _ the colour yellow symbolising the King _ lined Phetkasem Road, eager for the opportunity to catch a glimpse of His Majesty on his short trip from Piamsuk Villa inside the palace to the venue of the grand audience.

Many were noticeably emotional, and some were seen crying with tears of joy when the royal motorcade of His Majesty and members of the royal family passed by to the loud cheers of "Long Live the King!".

At 10.34am, His Majesty made his appearance at the Rajpracha Samakhom Pavilion at Klai Kangwon Palace along with the members of the royal family. However, there was no appearance by Her Majesty the Queen.

The military fired a 21-gun salute as the King made his appearance.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and House Speaker and Parliament President Somsak Kiatsuranon each wished His Majesty a happy birthday.

The Crown Prince said Thai people were grateful to be living in Thailand during the reign of His Majesty.

"We vow to behave well and work to the best of our ability to follow the good example set by His Majesty," he said.

Prime Minister Yingluck said the King, out of kindness, initiated the first royal project at Khao Tao water reservoir in Hua Hin at the beginning of his reign. His kindness had been shining out for a long time, she said. The Thai people wish that the King is free of worries and full of happiness.

Supreme Commander Tanasak Patimapragorn then led the military in taking an oath of allegiance to His Majesty.

Two big outdoor screens installed in front of the palace broadcast the ceremony from inside the palace. Many people were crying when they saw the king appearing.

Sukjai Sukhani, 57, a retiree from Kanchanaburi, said: "I'm so glad just to see his car passing by".

Ms Sukjai said she was happy to see the King is still in good health.

Pornpun Kangwan, 40, from Nakhon Sawan, said she joined the celebrations every year and has never once missed it.

"I feel very refreshed and overwhelmed by participating in this ceremony. I wish he stays with us for a long time," she said.

Benjawan Satawethin, 45, from Hua Hin, said she was delighted that the King decided to stay in Hua Hin for his birthday this year.

Karen Frosdick, 56, a British national, said the ceremony was so emotional that she cried as she saw the King's motorcade passing and thousands of Thais waving their flags and chanting "Love Live the King".

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 06/12/2013 at 06:46 AM
Many years ago, I was in a Cinema in Chonburi waiting to see a 'Harry Potter' Movie, and before the feature, we were asked to stand, remove our hats if we were wearing one, while A short film giving tribute to the life and times of his Highness the King played. It was a very moving experience for me, an American, because our leaders are never shown this level of affection or respect. The King and his people have a very special relationship, and it is beneficial for both. Happy Birthday, Your Majesty! A Happy day for all, I hope.

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