After a more than a decade of political strife, including a military coup and a contentious election less than two months ago, the people of Thailand are witnessing this weekend the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn in a centuries-old royal tradition that last happened seven decades ago.

The coronation represents a renewal of the monarchy’s power after the October 2016 death of Vajiralongkorn’s revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The 66-year-old Vajiralongkorn has served as king since then. But to be fully and formally invested with regal power and to ensure his legitimacy, he will be consecrated in an elaborate series of ancient rites that culminate in three days of elaborate pageantry. It includes a parade and an appearance by the monarch on a balcony of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

In this Thursday, May 2, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Thailand Royal Household, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, left, and Queen Suthida sit at Bangkok City Pollar Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand. On Wednesday, May 1, the King suddenly announced his fourth marriage, to a former flight attendant who is a commander of his security detail, and appointed her Queen Suthida.  The coronation ceremonies for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Thursday, May 2, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Thailand Royal Household, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, left, and Queen Suthida sit at Bangkok City Pollar Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand. On Wednesday, May 1, the King suddenly announced his fourth marriage, to a former flight attendant who is a commander of his security detail, and appointed her Queen Suthida. The coronation ceremonies for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, center, pays homage to the Equestrian Statue of King Chulalongkorn in Bangkok, Thursday, May 2, 2019. The coronation ceremonies for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Pool Photo via AP)
Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, center, pays homage to the Equestrian Statue of King Chulalongkorn in Bangkok, Thursday, May 2, 2019. The coronation ceremonies for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Pool Photo via AP)
In this photo released by the Public Relation Department, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, foreground, lights a candle with Queen Suthida , centre backgrond, during a ceremony to pay homage to Vajiralongkorn's royal ancestors, at Paisarn Taksin Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 3, 2019. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Public Relation Department via AP)
In this photo released by the Public Relation Department, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, foreground, lights a candle with Queen Suthida , centre backgrond, during a ceremony to pay homage to Vajiralongkorn’s royal ancestors, at Paisarn Taksin Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 3, 2019. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Public Relation Department via AP)
In this photo released by the Public Relation Department, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn lights a candle during a ceremony to pay homage to Vajiralongkorn's royal ancestors, at Paisarn Taksin Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 3, 2019. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Public Relation Department via AP)
In this photo released by the Public Relation Department, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn lights a candle during a ceremony to pay homage to Vajiralongkorn’s royal ancestors, at Paisarn Taksin Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 3, 2019. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Public Relation Department via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, left, and Queen Suthida make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, left, and Queen Suthida make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, second from right at front, and Queen Suthida make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, second from right at front, and Queen Suthida make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Queen Suthida, left, and Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, right, make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Queen Suthida, left, and Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, right, make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, center, hugs his sister Princess Ubolratana, with Royal family and Queen Suthida, sitting at right, before make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, center, hugs his sister Princess Ubolratana, with Royal family and Queen Suthida, sitting at right, before make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Queen Suthida, right, and Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, second from right , make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Queen Suthida, right, and Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, second from right , make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, lights candle during a religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, lights candle during a religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, center right, make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Householdvia AP)
In this Friday, May 3, 2019, photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, center right, make the religious ceremony at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. The coronation ceremony for 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also known as King Rama X, will be held on May 4-6, 2019. (Bureau of the Royal Householdvia AP)

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