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King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand Makes Rare Public Appearance


King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has made a rare public appearance, amid concerns for his ailing health.

In TV footage released on December 14 by the palace he is seen swearing in judges at a Bangkok hospital where he has been staying.

The 88-year-old king has received treatment for a number of ailments including a lung infection.

The health of the monarch is of public concern as he is widely revered and seen as an arbiter in the country’s divided political arena.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who is the world’s longest serving monarch, was last seen in September in a video released by the palace.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

The king missed his birthday celebrations for the second consecutive year on December 5. The event was marked by a cycling event last week in Bangkok led by his son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Palace officials did not give any further details of the king’s health on December 14.

King Bhumibol has been in and out of hospitals for the past few years and has had operations to remove his gallbladder and to treat hydrocephalus – an excessive build-up of fluid on the brain.

The monarch was re-admitted to Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok in June, shortly after he was discharged.

King Bhumibol’s popularity stems partly from his long reign, but he is also seen as a pillar of stability in Thailand which has been wracked by political strife in recent years and is currently governed by a military-led government.

Strict lese majeste laws ban any criticism of King Bhumibol or the royal family.