Following King Bhumibol’s death, 96-year-old Prem Tinsulanonda served as regent. Tinsulanonda was the head of the royal advisory council. King Vajiralongkorn was not immediately crowned as the king after his father’s death; it was believed he needed time to grieve.
Paul Chambers, director of research at Chiang Mai’s Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs, said the interval served as a chance for the heir-apparent to solidify his strength before his ascension.
“The delay in his ascension to the throne served the purpose of shoring up public support for the new sovereign, giving some time for Thais to recover from the sudden departure of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and thus making the son appear magnanimous in the people’s eyes,” he said. “Second, the delay has been used to put together a new coalition of aristocrats and military senior brass around the new sovereign.”
The new king has lived in Germany for many years. He is immune from public criticism due to the legislation, which provides for up to 15 years in jail. Prime Minister announced the retrospective commencement of the new reign from 13 October.
King Bhumibol is to be cremated around a year from his death.