King's surgery successful
Kingdom rejoices following a day of anxiety over His Majesty's operation
Thais across the country rejoiced after the Bureau of the Royal Household late last night announced that the minor back surgery performed on His Majesty the King at Siriraj hospital yesterday was successful.
The surgery, performed to treat lumbar spinal stenosis, started at 6.05pm and was completed at 8.53pm without complications.
Earlier yesterday, thousands of people wearing yellow and waving flags, chanted "Long Live the King" along His Majesty's route to Siriraj Hospital. The King, in turn, took numerous photos of them with his digital camera.
Crowds of well-wishers were waiting for him when he arrived at the hospital at about 2.15pm.
Accompanied by members of the royal family, His Majesty waved to the crowds and they sang a song in praise of Their Majesties the King and the Queen.
Even after Their Majesties entered the hospital, chants of "Long Live the King" continued.
Well-wishers keenly gazed up to the 16th floor, where His Majesty was staying, and expressed joy every time a curtain was raised to show - with the help of a powerful camera lens - HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nari-ratana waving.
His Majesty was also accompanied by HM Queen Sirikit, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirin-dhorn, HRH Prince Teepangkorn Rasmichoti and the Crown Prince's royal consort HRH Princess Srirasmi.
HRH Princess Chulabhorn Valayalaksana, HRH Princess Som-savali, and Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya arrived at the hospital before His Majesty.
Yupin Theekayu, 62, left her home in Samut Prakan at 8am after hearing a report on television that His Majesty would arrive the Siriraj Hospital at about 3pm. She spent three hours travelling but showed no signs of tiredness and said she would remain at the hospital until nightfall.
"I will come to the hospital every day throughout the period His Majesty is here," Yupin said. She said she wished to offer moral support to His Majesty.
Yupin said she prayed for His Majesty's good health every day.
Well-wisher Suthinee Intaratat said she had planned to be on hand to welcome His Majesty when he arrived at the Siriraj Hospital since the first time she heard he needed to seek treatment.
"I am concerned about his health, and I pray that he has a long, long life," she said.
Suthinee said she would visit the hospital again today to sign a get-well message for His Majesty.
Bang-ern Wattanapruksachart, a 67-year-old heart patient in a wheelchair, was among the crowd.
"Though I can't get close to His Majesty, I really wish to be here with throngs of well-wishers. I am overwhelmed to see the way people show respect and love for His Majesty," she said.
Several well-wishers were seen crying tears of joy.
High-profile figures who showed up at the hospital yesterday included Public Health Minister Pinij Charusombat, Deputy Public Health Minister Anutin Charnveerakul, Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin, Bangkok City Clerk Nathanon Thavisin and Dr Sem Pringpruangkaew.
Residents of Tak province yesterday gave alms to monks in dedication to His Majesty while others queued up to sign get-well messages.
Similar activities are taking place across the country.
At mosques, temples and churches, religious rites are being held to bless His Majesty and pray for a quick recovery and good health.
From today, members of public are welcome to sign get-well messages for His Majesty at Siriraj Hospital, Royal Thai Army units and other public venues across the country.
Foreign Affairs Ministry's spokesman Kitti Wasinondh said Pakistan's President Pervez Musharaf and Bahrain's Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa had sent messages to His Majesty wishing him well.
Thai embassies in Japan, Sri Lanka, Hungary and Australia are displaying books for well-wishers to sign for His Majesty.