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The Royal Cremation Ceremony for Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother will be an event full of pomp and pageantry, as decreed by tradition. The splendour of the grand procession will reflect the high status and the rank of the deceased, as does the gilded crematorium that has been built temporarily on Sanam Luang.
The Royal Funeral, being held from March 9 to 14, is surely one of the most spectacular of all state ceremonies, a tribute to a Princess who was the mother of two kings.
The entire sequence of observances that will make up the five-day ceremony beginning on the evening of March 9 with religious rites that will take place in the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall. The actual cremation will follow on the next day, March 10, when three processions will transfer the Royal Urn from the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall to the Royal Cremation Ground at Sanam Luang. On the following days, until March 14, three more processions will transfer the Royal Remains to Wat Ratchabophit, Wat Chetuphon and to the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall.
Of the five-day ceremony, the events of March 10 will be most significant. The public will be able to see the spectacular sight of ancient grand funeral rites on a grand scale. The procession will be joined by more than 4,000 officials clad in colourful, rarely seen traditional uniforms, as well as the intricately crafted Great Funeral Chariot (Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharoth) and the Supreme Patriarch's carriage (Ratcharoth Noi). These golden vehicles, as well as palanquins, traditional regalia, and ancient funeral music, will imbue Sanam Luang and its vicinity with an air of both the royal and the sacred.
Starting at 7 a.m., the First Procession will proceed from the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall to the Great Funeral Chariot. This will be a grand procession, divided into four lines, two each on the left and the right.
Leading the procession will be bearers carrying standard flags, followed by armed forces personnel in full dress uniforms, royal attendants, and a high-ranking monk, seated on the Phra Saliang Kleebbua, a palanquin with two poles, reading the Abhidharma.
Walking on both sides of the palanquin will be high-ranking officials and traditionally dressed officials carrying silver and golden floral offerings. The Phra Yannamas Sam Lamkhan, a golden palanquin with three poles which carries the Royal Urn, will be followed by a procession of the late Princess Mother's relatives carrying the Royal Regalia and Decorations. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will follow the Royal Urn.
At the end of the procession will be the Naliwan, or Brahmin priests. This procession will consist of tiered Royal Umbrellas of Rank, Royal Weapons, pipes, trumpets, horn-shaped Siamese bugles, conch shells, and victory drums. Traditional music befitting the occasion will be played.
The procession will move along Khuenkhan Nives Road inside the Grand Palace, then along Phra Chetuphon Road and Sanam Chai Road.
Once the first procession moves to the area in front of Wat Phra Chetuphon, it will merge with ten Royal Honour Guard companies. It is at this point that the Royal Urn will be moved from the three-poled palanquin to the Great Funeral Chariot using the kroen, the traditional ramp. The second procession, the main one, will then move to Sanam Luang through Sanam Chai Road and Rajadamnern Not Road.
This procession will include the following components, in the following order, preceding the Great Funeral Chariot:
-Companies of the lst and llth Infantry Regiments of the Royal Guards, and of Army, Navy, and Air Force cadets.
-Corteges of Royal Regalia, divided into four lines and flanked by two lines of Army, Navy, and Air Force officers on either side; followed by the Supreme Patriarch's carriage (Ratcharoth Not) carrying the high-ranking monk.
-Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa; Gen Chavalit Yangchaiyudh, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Committee for Organising the Royal Cremation Ceremony; Deputy Prime Minister ACM Somboon Rahong; Gen Viroj Saengsanit, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces; and Army Cornmander-in-Chief Gen Pramon Palasin.
The procession will be accompanied by conch shell blowers, buglers, Siamese buglers, and drummers, as well as by army bands playing the funeral dirge, Phayasok, composed by His late Royal Highness Prince Nagor Svarga. HRH Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will walk behind the Great Funeral Chariot preceded by royal attendants and officers of the King's Own Bodyguards Regiment.
Behind the Crown Prince will be the Royal Aides-de-Camp and Royal Pages carrying the Crown Prince's Regalia. Following the Princess will be the Grand Chamberlain Pol Lt Gen Prayoon Komalakul na Nagara and Her Royal Highness's guard.
Next in the procession will be the male Royal relatives, Royal pages at Sra Pathum Palace, teachers and students from schools under the Royal Patronage of the late Princess Mother, and educational institutions and members of the Businessmen's Association of Thailand.
At the rear part of the procession will be five companies of troops from the armed forces consisting of marching bands, the lst Cavalry Regiment, the 1st Artillery Regiment, the 1st Corps of Engineers, the Royal Thai Marine Regiment, and the Royal Thai Air Force Security Force Regiment, all of the Royal Guards.
Materials from Bangkok Post