Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has become the new King of Thailand, succeeding the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
In the late 1980's and early 1990's I was working at Capital Children's Museum in DC and one of the exhibits we built was in conjunction with the government of Thailand. We filled a room the size of about three or four classrooms with examples of Thai art, architecture, food, music, language, costume, etc. and the Thai government helped out with money, artifacts and crafts, and even helped construct small buildings.
It was a fun room to wander into. One of the more stunning items sent over was a golden peacock. It was a metal bird made of gold and jewels. Each feather was made of gold wire the size of threads, painstakingly arranged into fine groups and each feather then added to the bird. It was nearly life-sized, and showed the peacock with feathers down (not showing off the plumage). An incredible amount of work had gone into it.
Another fun area had musical instruments, such as drums and a marimba-like device.
To open the exhibit, the Queen of Thailand came to the museum. She was quite nice and toured about with her entourage, which included the Prince and Princess of Thailand. We showed off the exhibit and they told us about Thailand for a couple of hours. Royalty, within talking distance!
The Queen was especially interested in and animated about women doing crafts in Thailand, and how traditional crafts was an industry that kept women and culture going. She liked the golden peacock, too.
The Princess was like her mother and seemed smart, outgoing, and involved.
Her brother, the Prince, not so much. He didn't look that bright. He seemed extremely ordinary. (Maybe he had jet lag?)
Today I read that the King of Thailand had died, and the Prince will become the new King. The BBC announcer said that unlike his late father, he isn't much liked in Thailand. (Maybe it wasn't jet lag?)
It isn't often that someone you've bumped in to becomes King. I'm not sure anyone else I've ever met has ascended to rule a country before.
In honor of this dusty anecdote I wish my close personal friend the best of luck with his new Kingdom, and I wish the Thai people well during their year of mourning.