Bhutan announces day of mourning
Leaders of countries around the world expressed their condolences to the people of Thailand yesterday on the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
In a message addressed to the Royal Family, the government and people of Thailand, United States President Barack Obama said: “As the revered leader and only monarch that most Thais have ever known, His Majesty was a tireless champion of his country’s development and demonstrated unflagging devotion to improving the standard of living of the Thai people.
“With a creative spirit and a drive for innovation, he pioneered new technologies that have rightfully received worldwide acclaim,” the White House press release read. “His Majesty leaves a legacy of care for the Thai people that will be cherished by future generations.”
Obama met His Majesty in 2012.
At the United Nations headquarters in New York, representatives of member countries held a minute’s silence before their meeting as a mark of respect on the passing of the monarch.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he hoped Thailand would honour the King’s legacy of commitment to universal values and respect for human rights, his spokesman said in a statement yesterday.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak paid tribute on his Facebook page, saying “King Bhumibol was a towering presence whose contribution to Thailand, and the rest of the region, is beyond words. We join the Thai people in mourning his loss.”
The Myanmar President Office also extended condolences on Facebook.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, tweeted: “[The] people of India and I join the people of Thailand in grieving the loss of one of the tallest leaders of our times, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.”
Jesus Miguel Sanz, ambassador and head of the European Union delegation to Thailand, posted on Facebook: “During my time here I have felt the true love of the Thai people for King Bhumibol, whose contributions touched the lives of many and will be remembered for many generations to come.”
Britain’s Ambassador to Thailand Brian Davidson said on Facebook: “Deeply saddened to hear of death of His Majesty. He will be sorely missed within and outside Thailand. I offer our heartfelt condolences.”
Bhutan has gone one step further by announcing today as a day of mourning. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and the Royal Grandmother are scheduled to lead prayers today to mark His Majesty’s passing. Bhutan’s national flag will be flown at half-mast, while offices and schools will be closed so people can visit temples and offer prayers for the beloved monarch. Special prayers will be chanted and butter lamps lit at several sacred spots in Bhutan for the next seven days.
“His Majesty the King [Jigme] received the news of the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand with immense sorrow,” said a statement posted on the Bhutanese royal’s Facebook page.
“His Majesty the late King Bhumibol has been an exceptional leader, a comforting presence in the lives of every Thai citizen. His Majesty’s enduring service for the welfare and well-being of his people will be remembered with honour and respect,” the statement said.
“The Royal Families of Bhutan and Thailand have shared exceptionally warm relations over the years, which have be mirrored by strong bonds of friendship between the two countries,” it read.