His Majesty the King will today grant a public audience during a grand state ceremony at Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall on the auspicious occasion of his 84th birthday.
The monarch will make an appearance on the main Mukkhadej balcony before senior civilian and military officials, Cabinet members led by the prime minister, the Supreme Court president and the House speaker at an event starting at 10.30am.
Members of other royal clans, the commanders of the three branches of the Armed Forces, parliamentarians and diplomats are scheduled to gather at 9.30am.
People can write goodwill messages and pay their respects to previous kings of the Chakri Dynasty at Phra Thep Bidorn Throne Hall from 1pm-5pm today and 9am-5pm tomorrow.
The Grand Palace will also be open tonight for visits by the public.
The King’s birthday is also celebrated as Father’s Day.
At today’s ceremony, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will read out a message on behalf of the Thai people commemorating His Majesty’s birthday and wishing him a long life.
Their Majesties the King and Queen will arrive at the venue by 11am to a 21-round salute by the Armed Forces and Royal Thai Police and a trooping of royal guard units in full military dress.
His Majesty will deliver an address in reply, which will be greeted with three hails of “Long Live the King”, before Their Majesties leave the venue.
The government is staging grand festivals for seven days and seven nights until Friday to mark His Majesty’s seventh 12-year birthday cycle, including a spectacular light and sound show using the wall of the Grand Palace as a 200-metre-long screen.
Once a day, a 90-minute show is performed by 150 actors on a 60-metre stage in a 4,200-seat amphitheatre in Sanam Luang. The audience includes those standing watching in outer areas.
People can sit along the route of His Majesty’s motorcade, which will leave at about 10am from Siriraj Hospital, where he is receiving treatment.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will sponsor morning prayers of five religions – Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hindu and Sikh – at Sanam Luang, in honour of His Majesty.
Trees and power poles along Ratchadamnoen Avenue have been festooned with colourful lights until Friday, along with 39 insignias and signs carrying emblems and messages praising the King and wishing him a long life.
In the Deep South, an event called “Fathers Hugging Sons” was organised to mark the King’s 84th birthday. Insurgents who have renounced violence or laid down their arms were reunited with their families.
In Lampang, elephants at a shelter under the supervision of the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre gave alms to Buddhist monks while an exhibition featured stories and the history of Thai kings with war elephants. Six jumbos under royal patronage are in the custody and care of the centre.
More than 1,751 hilltribe people and people born in Thailand without Thai citizenship joined a ceremony in Chiang Rai to honour His Majesty on his 84th birthday, while a mini-marathon took place in Si Sa Ket with some 3,000 local and foreign runners.
A Buddhist monk well-known for his meditative ability – Phra Phat Ariyo – is conducting a special three-day session until tomorrow, without eating or sleeping, to mark the King’s 84th birthday, while making merit for him and his long reign.