the Royal Cremation Ceremony for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej

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Mourners carrying flowers carved from sandalwood began gathering at the replica of the royal crematorium in Khon Muang Plaza at Bangkok City Hall at 6am on Thursday.

WAVES of mourners have come from all corners of the country to attend the Royal Cremation ceremonies for HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Sanam Luang, with people undeterred in their determination to take part in the historic event.

Hundreds of thousands of people arrived in Bangkok yesterday, and many gathered at nine screening points since Tuesday, in hopes to be among the first to enter the ceremonial grounds to get the best seat to watch the Royal Procession, which will be held today.

With love and loyalty for the beloved King Bhumibol, people said no matter what difficulties they encountered on the road to Sanam Luang, they would endure them with willing hearts, as this was their last chance to bid farewell to the late King.

Sawat Prachachu, a 75-year-old retiree from Nong Khai, said her journey had been difficult, but it had been worth it because she had reserved a good seat beside the Grand Palace’s wall at Dewa Phirom Gate.

“I have been in Bangkok since Tuesday morning. At first, I had a good seat with a view of the Royal Crematorium in front of Thammasat University. However, police asked people at that site to move from the ceremonial grounds, and I had to leave along with many other people,” Sawat said.

The native of the Northeast described the “tremendous struggle” for a woman of her age, as she had been through several thunderstorms, which lashed Bangkok on Tuesday night.

 “It was just like Heaven was crying over the King’s departure. It has shaken my heart to realise that my beloved King has already passed away and I was also shaking literally from the cold rain and wind of the storm, because there was only a little shelter under a tiny awning at a building in the Tha Phrachan neighbourhood, which could not protect me from the storm,” she said.

However yesterday morning, her endurance paid off, as she was among 20,000 people who entered the ceremonial area before the screening points were temporarily closed, with many areas inside the event grounds restricted.

As she followed the crowd from the eighth screening point at Tha Phrachan towards the Grand Palace’s waterfront, she found a seat on the route that will see the Royal Urn transported in the first royal procession out of the Grand Palace to the Royal Crematorium in Sanam Luang.

“I feel very lucky that I was able to get a very good position to witness this historic moment. It is my wish to watch the royal procession this close, as it will be my last chance to be close to my beloved King,” she said with tears in her eyes.

Her long wait was not yet finished yesterday, however, as she faced another night exposed to the unpredictable weather, which has seen high temperatures during the day and cold rain at night.

However, Sawat’s fortitude was symbolic of the determination that many people feel to pay respects to the beloved late King