Connect with us

Thai Life

Looking Back: Planning a Royal funeral

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Royal funerals are solemn affairs that take months to plan. When a monarch or a high-ranking royal passes away, their body is taken to the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace complex. There, the body lies in state while craftsmen build the royal funeral pyre, an intricately crafted structure which takes up to nine months to construct.

In the weeks since the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, thousands have flocked to the hall to pay their last respects. Built by King Rama I in 1790, it has served as the final throne room for many deceased royals of the Chakri Dynasty.

Inside lies the royal urn, a large gold plated octagonal structure perched high atop a multi-tiered pedestal. The urn is 95cm high, with a diameter of 65cm.

In the past, Royal funerals were usually held in the dry season. Cremation takes place at Sanam Luang, the royal ground situated outside the Grand Palace. Funerals for Royal members who passed away during the rainy season would therefore have to wait for the dry season.

The royal urn has played an important part in every royal funeral. A monarch’s urn, referred to as ‘Phra-Boroma-Kot’, is made of fine wood and covered in gold, with a crown top.

King Rama I commissioned the first royal urn of the Chakri Dynasty in 1808, to be used to carry his own body when he passed away. However, not long after it was completed, the King’s fifth daughter passed away. King Rama I, in his grief, asked for her body to be laid in state in his royal urn. This marked a precedent where a deceased member of the royal family was granted the use of the royal urn.

In the reign of King Rama V, a new royal urn was commissioned in 1900. It was built to temporarily serve royal funerals while the existing urn was being refurbished. However, it would go on to serve in several royal funerals and is currently being used ceremonially at King Bhumibol’s funeral.

The practice of housing a royal’s remains in the royal urn has now been done away with, with the exception of Princess Bejaratana, who wished for her funeral to be carried out according to the ancient traditions of Thai royals.

Currently King Bhumibol’s body is placed in a coffin at the Grand Palace, which is hidden behind a screen. Mourners will see the royal urn perched atop the wooden pedestal. The king’s body will lie in state until the cremation ceremony is held.

— Anand Singh


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Tourism27 mins ago

TAT announces 1,500 travellers arriving in Phuket July 1

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

5 million Moderna vaccines for Thailand, half of expectation

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid-19 round-up for expats 3: Are countries helping Thailand?

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid-19 round-up for expats 2: Will your country give a vaccine?

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid-19 round-up for expats 1: Should you travel to Thailand?

Thailand6 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Lockdown for BKK? Demonstrations back on, Pathum Thani shooter arrested

Thailand6 hours ago

Myth busted: Drinking alcohol does not kill Covid-19 – VIDEO

Phuket7 hours ago

Power outages coming to Kathu, again

Tourism7 hours ago

List of countries by Covid-19 risk level, classified by Thailand’s DDC

Thailand8 hours ago

Legalised marijuana up next? Courts get closer to legalising kratom

Phuket9 hours ago

Phuket police raids nab suspects for allegedly having guns, drugs, kratom

World9 hours ago

Antivirus legend John McAfee apparent suicide in Spanish prison

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: 4,108 new cases; provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Bar girls in Pattaya arrested for allegedly violating Covid restrictions while live streaming

Protests11 hours ago

Gathering for 89th anniversary of constitutional monarchy

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8