independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Thais hail king on 85th birthday

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej addresses the crowd during his 85th birthday celebration (AP)

Vast crowds of devoted Thais have turned out for a brief glimpse of their beloved king as he celebrated his 85th birthday with a rare public appearance.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej sat on a throne on a balcony overlooking a plaza in the capital Bangkok, with a crowd that police estimated at 200,000 as he delivered a brief homily on national harmony.

Most of those in the crowd were dressed in the royal colour of yellow, many waving Thai flags and flags adorned with the king's insignia.

The turnout was a vivid demonstration of the affection in which many hold the king, despite political turmoil in recent years which has raised doubts about the future of the monarchy.

His family, including Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, his son and heir-apparent, flanked him for part of his appearance.

Press Association

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