In Thailand, Concerns Mount Over King's Health

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Concern is mounting in Thailand about the condition of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has reigned since 1946. 


His youngest child, Princess Chulabhorn, made an unusual public appeal last week for recitations of the Buddhist Pochangkaparitra healing prayer for her 87-year-old father, who has spent much of the past several years in a hospital in the capital.


King Bhumibol, also known as Rama IX, last appeared in public earlier this month when he briefly left his suite inside Siriraj Hospital. Since then, palace medical bulletins have noted blood infections, fever, and lung inflammation. He is said to have improved, but national anxiety persists.


The heir apparent, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, has not attained the exalted level of adoration given to his parents.


On a scorching Sunday in mid-August he led a 43-kilometer mass bicycle ride in tribute to his ailing 83-year-old mother, Queen Sirikit. The nationally televised event, with more than 145,000 cyclists and 9,000 police officers, was seen as demonstrating to a nation under army rule that the military backs the crown prince to succeed his father.

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