BANGKOK — Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej died on Thursday, aged 88, after 70 years on the throne. He was the world’s longest-reigning monarch.
The government immediately ordered all flags to fly at half-mast and told citizens to wear black for 30 days, the Guardian reported.
An official mourning period will last for one year, during which big events like music concerts will be postponed. Alcohol sales will be restricted and bars and restaurants will close or shorten their opening hours.
Thailand expects a record 33 million tourists this year, and it remains to be seen how the mourning period will impact the tourist industry. However, Britain’s Foreign Office warned in a travel advisory that visitors should behave respectfully when in public areas.
King Bhumibol will be succeeded by his only son, the far less popular Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.
The 64-year-old king-in-waiting is a divisive figure in the country, where he has a reputation for womanizing and engaging in bizarre and sometimes cruel behavior, according to the Guardian.
A video, which is banned in Thailand, shows the crown prince holding a weird birthday party for his pet poodle Foo Foo in 2007. The prince granted Foo Foo, who sadly died last year, the rank of air chief marshal in the Royal Thai Air Force.
More recent photos of the thrice-married prince show him in Germany, where he spends most his time shacked up with a former Thai Airways stewardess. He is wearing a boob tube and covered in tattoos.
Of course you can’t say any of this in Thailand, where it’s a criminal offense to insult the royal family, subject to 15 years in jail.
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