CHIANGRAI TIMES – Their Majesties the King and Queen on Monday presided over the royal cremation of the late Princess Bejaratana, the only child of King Rama VI, at the Royal Crematorium at Sanam Luang ceremonial ground.
His Majesty King Bhumibol and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, along with members of royal family, attended the symbolic royal cremation of late Princess Bejaratana at 4.30pm.
Their Majesties were also to preside over the actual royal cremation of the princess which is scheduled to take place at 10pm.
Their Majesties were greeted by throngs of Thais who gathered along the route of the royal motorcade to pay their last tribute to the late Princess Bejaratana.
Early in the morning His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn presided over the ceremony moving the royal urn containing the remains of the princess from the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace to the specially-built Royal Crematorium at Sanam Luang.
Despite rainfall during the day, the public thronged to Sanam Luang in the afternoon to lay ‘dok mai jan’ (sandalwood flowers) at three designated spots around the royal ceremonial ground for the symbolic royal cremation in honour of Princess Bejaratana as well as to bid their last farewells to the late beloved princess.
Meanwhile, the public were allowed to present sandalwood flowers in the other round sandalwood flower tribute before the actual royal cremation to be held at night.
Bangkokians flocked into 46 temples across the Thai capital to lay the sandalwood flowers, while resident’s upcountry also visited designated temples to pay their last respects to the princess.
The sandalwood flowers used in cremation ceremony were originally made of very thin slices of sandalwood tree trunks, assembled into flower forms. They were used exclusively among elite citizens. Later, the practice of laying fragrant-sandalwood flowers before the deceased prior to cremation rite had spread to the general public, leading to an enormous demand for the product.
Contemporary sandalwood flowers are generally symbolic, in name only, not actually made from sandalwood due to the scarcity of the trees and price-driven products led to adaptations of raw materials used to make sandalwood
Throughout Monday night, public performances including Khon traditional Thai drama, great shadow plays and puppet shows will be held on three open-air stages at Sanam Luang from 7pm through 6am tomorrow.
On Tuesday, representing His Majesty the King, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will perform a ceremony to transfer the royal relics and ashes of Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana from the Royal Crematorium to the Royal Merit-Making Pavilion (Phra Thinang Songtham) for a religious function at 8am. – MCOT online news