Thailand has a new king after Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, accepted an invitation from parliament to succeed his father. His succession comes 50 days after the widely loved and revered King Bhumibol died in October, aged 88. Prince Vajiralongkorn will be known as King Maha Vajiralongkorn. He will also be known as Rama X, or the 10th king of Thailand's Chakri dynasty. He addressed his people in a televised statement on Thursday. He said: "I would like to accept the invitation for the benefit of the Thai people." Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said: "May all the Thai people unite to pray that…he may long reign as an idol and guardian of the Thai people."
The coronation of the new king will not take place until after King Bhumibol's cremation early next year. The new king was born on July 28, 1952. He went to schools in Australia and the UK before doing his military training in Australia. King Maha Vajiralongkorn is widely travelled and has a home in Germany. Over the past few years, he has undertaken more of his father's ceremonial duties in Thailand when the late king was ill and needed medical treatment. He also organized and participated in high-profile events such as cycle rides around the Thai capital Bangkok. One of his first acts as monarch will be to endorse Thailand's new constitution that has been backed by the Thai people.