A ceremonial royal barge hit the Chao Phraya River on Tuesday for a dress rehearsal for ceremonies related to King Vajiralongkorn’s coronation.
The Royal Thai Navy sailed the Royal Barge Suphannahong along the river from the Naval Dockyards to the Ratcha Woradit Pier near the Grand Palace – where the vessel will remain berthed until Monday.
The Royal Barge Procession procession won’t take place this weekend but is set for some time before November.
The procession is a nearly 700-year-old ceremony with both religious and royal significance. They take place rarely, marking only the most significant events such as the late King Bhumibol’s 80th Birthday.
The Suphannahong (Golden Swan, or Pheonix) is a 46-meter boat carved from a single trunk of teakwood in 1911. When used, the king and his immediate family sit aboard in a golden pavilion. In 1992, the Suphannahong was named Maritime World Heritage by The World Ship Trust. The Royal Barge will later be kept at the National Museum of Royal Barges until the latter part of the year.
This weekend, 66-year-old King Vajiralongkorn will be crowned King Rama X – the 10th king of the Chakri Dynasty. Though he was expected to ascend to the throne after his father’s death in October 2016, he waited two months for time to mourn. He will be the oldest Thai monarch to take the throne.
Correction: A previous version of the story misstated the date of the rehearsal. It took place Tuesday, not Wednesday.