In Pictures

A life in pictures: King Bhumibol Adulyadej

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand is the world's longest reigning monarch who is seen as having been a stabilising influence in a country that has seen a number of military coups, 17 constitutions and even more prime ministers.

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King Bhumibol Adulyadej (left) acceded to the throne on 9 June 1946 after his brother, King Ananda Mahidol (right), died in an unexplained shooting accident at the Royal Palace in Bangkok. They are seen here in a photograph from 1935 whilst at school in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his father was studying, and he was later educated in Switzerland. He met his wife, then Lady Sirikit, whilst in Europe.

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The couple went on to have four children, but are pictured here in 1955 with Prince Vajiralongkorn and Princess Ubol Ratana. The status of the monarchy had been in decline since the abolition of absolute monarchy in 1932, and then the abdication of King Prajadhipok, King Bhumibol's uncle, in 1935.

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King Bhumibol rebuilt the monarchy's profile through a series of tours in the provinces, and through numerous royal projects that established his lifelong concern with agricultural development. He was also seen with world leaders, here with US President Dwight Eisenhower during a state visit to Washington.

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And here with Queen Elizabeth in London in 1960.

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In 1972 the Queen returned the gesture and toured Thailand on a five day state visit.

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King Bhumibol's first public intervention in Thailand's chaotic politics occurred in 1973, when pro-democracy demonstrators were fired on by soldiers and were allowed to shelter in the palace, a move which led to the collapse of the administration of the then prime minister, General Thanom Kittikachorn.

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In 1981, King Bhumibol stood up to a group of army officers who had staged a coup against the prime minister, and the king's personal friend, General Prem Tinsulanond (left). Units loyal to the king then retook Bangkok.

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King Bhumibol enjoyed a wide variety of pursuits, including photography, playing and composing songs for the saxophone, painting and writing. He is seen here (right) playing with his son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, and other Thai musicians. He has also played with jazz legends like Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, Lionel Hampton and Benny Carter.

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During the crisis that erupted over the leadership of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006, the king was frequently asked to intervene but insisted this would be inappropriate. That year also saw the country celebrate the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne.

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A year later on 5 December 2007 the country celebrated King Bhumibol's 80th birthday.

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