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Thailand's crown prince succeeds to the throne

Gemma Strong

Thailand's crown prince has become the country’s new king, following the death of his much-revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October. The 64-year-old assumed his position on Thursday, taking the title His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun. He will also be known as Rama X, the tenth king in the Chakri dynasty, which was founded in 1782.

A televised broadcast showed the prince officially accepting the formal invitation to become king in a ceremony held in Bangkok. A palace staff member could be seen shuffling on his knees to hand a microphone to the new monarch, through which he delivered his words of acceptance. "I would like to accept in order to fulfil his majesty's wishes and for the benefit of all Thais," he proclaimed.

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Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has become Thailand's new king

The crown prince had been expected to become king the day after his father's death, but Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said at the time that the royal had asked to delay the official proclamation so he could mourn. Instead, he was anointed in a ceremony 50 days after the death of the late Thai king.

Mr Prayuth, who was among the government figures who attended Thursday's ceremony, said the new king would become the "heart and soul" of the nation.

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The 64-year-old has succeeded his much-revered later father King Bhumibol Adulyadej

King Bhumibol was the world's longest-reigning monarch, serving for 70 years and 126 days, and was seen by many as a pillar of stability during seven decades of political unrest in Thailand. An official statement from the palace confirmed that the 88-year-old had passed away in hospital "peacefully" on 13 October 2016.

The new king's official coronation will not take place until after the cremation of his father, expected next year.