BANGKOK – Eleven white-painted elephants, their tusks garlanded, have gathered with their handlers before Bangkok's Grand Palace to pay respects to Thailand's newly crowned king.
Hundreds of mahouts, or handlers, dressed in royal yellow sang the royal anthem and kneeled with their elephants Tuesday before a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn. The ceremony followed a gathering of thousands of Thais before the palace a day earlier to view the king and his family as they waved from a balcony.
The elephants trumpeted at the end of the ceremony.
Thais consider white elephants a sacred symbol of royal power. An elephant adorned the national flag until 1917.
Vajiralongkorn took the throne after the 2016 death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for seven decades.