Their Majesties view colourful procession
By James Kon in Bangkok

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pg Anak Hjh Saleha consented to attend the Royal Barge Procession held in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand's accession to the throne on Monday afternoon.

Their Majesty and royal guests from 24 other countries viewed the events from the Royal Thai Naval Institute, RTB reported. Also present were HRH Princess Hajah Masna and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz, RTB said.

Some 2,500 personnel from various units of the Royal Thai Navy took part as oarsmen, signal officers, boat song chanters and senior officers in the Royal Barge Procession which involved 52 ornate barges.

The Royal Barge Procession was a recreation of the royal fleet of rowing boats that were used for battle and ceremonies when Thailand's capital was still in Ayutthaya, RTB reported.

This procession was also held to mark His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th birthday in 1987 and to celebrate the 50th year of his accession to the throne in 1996.

After viewing the Royal Barge Procession, Their Majesties along with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit as well as the other royal guests proceeded to the Thai Royal Navy Convention Hall for the opening ceremony of an exhibition on The King and Development of Thailand, RTB said.

The Thai Prime Minister, Mr Thaksin Shinawatra, expressed his happiness at the attendance of the kings and royal representatives at the exhibition which highlighted the Royal Initiatives of Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej that have brought Thailand to the development era, RTB said.

The exhibition displayed the Thai King's development work over the past 60 years, especially the programmes and projects in developing the rural areas in order to improve the living standard of the poor, sick and underprivileged, RTB said.

Meanwhile, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam also held a four-eye meeting with His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho at Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, RTB said.

The King of Lesotho is also in Thailand to attend the celebration marking the 60th anniversary of the Thai King's accession to the throne. - Borneo Bulletin (14th June 2006)