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Three rehearsals for HRH Princess Bejaratana's funeral scheduled

Three rehearsals of the April 9 funeral service for Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana have been scheduled for later this month.

Two minor rehearsals are set for March 18 and March 25, before a grand rehearsal on March 31, it was announced after yesterday's meeting at Government House of a funeral-organising committee chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

A meeting on March 24 will be attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the chief adviser to the panel, at the suggestion of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is the executive chair of the panel.

As Yingluck is scheduled to visit South Korea on March 24, the princess has granted permission for Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit to chair the meeting on that day.

Construction of the main pavilion and crematorium, and other preparations are 90-per-cent complete, officials told Yingluck and Cabinet members who visited the site at Sanam Luang yesterday. The entourage also visited the nearby National Museum to inspect the main chariot and a motorcade to be used in the funeral.

The main pavilion, crematorium and other buildings will be open for the public to visit on April 11-17. A permanent exhibition in honour of the late princess will be installed at Nakhon Pathom's Sanam Chandra Palace, which was built by King Rama VI. Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana, who passed away on July 27 last year at the age of 85, was the only child of King Rama VI.

Paper flowers, known as Dokmai Chandra, for mourners to use in paying their last respects to the late princess, will be accepted at five pavilions - three on the grounds of Sanam Luang, one on the sidewalk opposite, and one at Chang Pier. The flowers will be accepted at 46 temples in Bangkok and possibly at temples across the country, with one temple being designated in each district. The names of the temples would be announced later.

Traditional performances will be held from 7pm on April 9 until dawn the following day at three locations: a Ramayana play and grand shadow play will be performed on a stage on the Pra Pin Klao Bridge side of Sanam Luang; a puppet show and a play will be performed on a stage on the Supreme Court side; and, on a stage on the Thammasat University side, performances will be held by the Public Relations Department's band, a Chulalongkorn University Band, and a choir from the Santirat Institute of Business Administration under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana.

The late princess' ashes will be collected on the morning after the April 9 cremation and escorted to Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall. On April 12, a ceremony will be held to mark the ashes' permanent placement in the Throne Hall.


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