FILE - In this May 12, 2017, file photo, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn addresses the audience at the royal ploughing ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand. Three days of elaborate centuries-old ceremonies begin Saturday, May 4, 2019, for the formal coronation of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who has been on the throne for more than two years. What Vajiralongkorn - also known as King Rama X, the 10th king of the Chakri dynasty - will do with the power and influence that venerated status confers is still not clear. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
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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)
BANGKOK – 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.