Due to illness, His Majesty the King was unable to deliver his birthday speech yesterday.
The speech had been much awaited, as Thais across all regions were waiting to hear the beloved King's words of wisdom amid the current political turmoil.
His Majesty has been the country's guiding light throughout his decades-long reign.
On the eve of his birthday, he has usually delivered a speech that covers many issues. Sometimes, he talks about floods, politics, energy and his pet dogs.
His subjects always eagerly wait to hear his speech, which is usually broadcast live on national radio and later on television. The anticipation was particularly high yesterday because political conflicts have resulted in bloody clashes and the recent week-long seizure of two airports.
However, His Majesty yesterday assigned HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to represent him in receiving best wishes from government officials and his subjects at the Dusidalai Hall, Dusit Palace, on the occasion of his birthday.
There was therefore no speech given by His Majesty.
Speaking to his audience, the Crown Prince said the King hoped the well-wishers would receive happiness, physical strength, courage and mental strength to fulfil their duty for the country and the public.
"His Majesty is not present today because he has some minor illness. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who just met him, will tell you about his condition," the Crown Prince said after thanking the well-wishers and returning their wishes on his father's behalf.
His Majesty turns 81 today. He is the world's longest-reigning monarch.
The Princess said her father was unwell, exhausted and unable to eat yesterday. "He is given saline solution. He has sputum in his airway … When he regains his strength, he will grant you an audience. Now, he prefers to have some rest," the Princess said.
She said her father has bronchitis and esophagitis. "His doctors may soon explain his condition in accurate medical terms. From what I see, his condition is not serious," the Princess added.
Alongside many other Royal Family members, the Princess accompanied the Crown Prince to the Dusidalai Hall, where he granted the audience to his father's well-wishers.
Up to 22,285 state officials and people received opportunities to express their well-wishes to His Majesty in and around the Hall.
Starting from 8am today, the Royal Household Bureau will also provide books for people to sign their well-wishes for His Majesty in front of Sahathai Samakhom Pavilion, the Grand Palace.