Thai people were overwhelmed with joy at the sight of Their Majesties the King and Queen officiating at the ceremony to unveil the Statue of King Rama VIII by the bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bang Phlat area yesterday.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in white official uniform, and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit in purple Thai silk dress, accompanied by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, arrived at the foot of Rama VIII Bridge where the statue is situated, at about 5.30 p.m. amidst cheers from waiting crowds numbering several thousands who had braved an hour-long heavy rain that stopped just before the royal arrival.
The royal monument was built in the middle of the 35-rai Suan Luang Rama VIII Park in remembrance of King Ananda Mahidol, the elder brother of HM the King. The statue, mainly made of copper and in a standing posture, is 3 times larger than life-size, making it the largest statue in Thailand. The monument is raised on top of a 3-storey building which serves as the monument’s base sending the statue to stand as high as the level of the Rama VIII Bridge and giving the monument a majestic look from afar.
Before the unveiling ceremony, Their Majesties the King and Queen viewed the exhibition on King Rama VIII’s life and work in the hall underneath the royal monument. Completing the tour, His Majesty the King unveiled the curtain for the monument by pushing an electric knob. Their Majesties the King and Queen then attended a merit-making ceremony dedicated to Their Royal Highnesses the Prince Father and the Princess Mother, HRH the Princess of Naradhiwas, and His Majesty King Ananda Mahidol or King Rama VIII. The religious ceremony saw a chapter of 10 high-ranking monks chanting prayers, followed by a special sermon by the Abbot of Galyanamitr Monastery, after which Their Majesties the King and Queen returned to Siriraj Hospital.