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BANGKOK – The Latest on the coronation of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn (all times local):
Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, wearing a simple white robe, has gone through the first of three major rites to consecrate him at his coronation ceremony.
The king entered a small pavilion on the grounds of the Grand Palace, where he was briefly showered with water from several holy rivers and ponds and other sources. Other water was poured on him from old royal water vessels.
The rite Saturday, known as the Royal Purification Ceremony, took place amid music from drums, conch shells and other instruments. Outside the palace, artillery was fired in a salute to the monarch.
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.