|The State Banquet given by Their Majesties the King and Queen tonight is at the Barommaratchasathit Maholan Hall (below), a new extension at the rear of the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall (right) in the Grand Palace.|
|The building of the Barommaratchasathit Hall actually began some years back, but was stopped in 1997 during the financial crisis. The building continued during the present government, but the plan was changed drastically. It was planned as an extension to the Chakri Throne Hall, thus the decorations was to be similar. But, with the present government, even the interiors were changed.|
The last official function in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of His Majesty the King is the Royal Banquet. The event starts at 7.30pm with a reception, follows by a five-course dinner with fish, lobster and vegetables from the Royal Project. First course is the lobster salad, follows by clear vegetable soup. Then rainbow trout with sweet source, follows by a veal dish. Desert is apple chalotte and icecream, follows by tea, coffee and sweets. The chef in charge is Norbert Kostner from the Oriental Hotel. It was a grand event. Towards the end of the dinner, the Sultan of Brunei, as the most senior representative of all the royals attending, made a very beautiful speech in honour of HM the King, beginning with a very eloquent Muslim prayer of good wishes, before proceding with his speech in English.
Your Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej,
Your Majesty Queen Sirikit,
Your Royal Highnesses,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have the honour and great pleasure to join Your Majesties today for two reasons.
Firstly we are here, like the people everywhere in this proud and ancient Kingdom, to offer a very simple personal message to Your Majesty and your beloved Queen Sirikit.
We offer our warmest congratulations and our heartfelt best wishes to you both and to the people of Thailand . We do this with the deepest of respect.
This occasion, however, demands much more than our simple goodwill no matter how warmly and sincerely it is expressed.
So, there is another equally important reason for our presence in your beautiful country. If there is a single word to express it, Your Majesty, I believe it would be the word, "honour".
We are here, Your Majesty, to honour you and your people and to honour your life as their leader, their inspiration and their revered Head of State.
Your Majesty's reign is one of the longest in history. That, however, is a matter of academic record and we are not here to celebrate mere records.
We are here to honour the substance of that reign. We are here to express our profound esteem for the personal qualities with which Your Majesty has so enriched it.
Its 60 years are not just 60 years in the history of Thailand . They are, in so many ways, the history of our times, the good and the bad, the joyous and the sad, the exciting and the desperate.
These times have brought the most rapid and far-reaching changes ever seen in man's history. They have challenged every aspect of our existence, above all as sovereign nations. They have presented moments when great decisions and judgement have been called for.
To these moments, Your Majesty has brought the dignity, wisdom, courage that we all seek to offer those we are called upon to lead.
You have never sought to distance yourself from the lives of your people. You have never asked them to be followers or mere subjects. You have shared their joys, fears and disappointments.
You have made them deeply proud of their heritage and their identity. You have made your people feel that the Kingdom of Thailand is indeed their own Kingdom. Above all, I feel, you have given them confidence.
Much of this comes from Your Majesty's own personal achievements. These have rightly been a source of great inspiration to your people whether academic, artistic, and scientific, or in the most human of terms the simple example of a good and loving father.
All these achievements have now been recognised by the international community. And we offer you our warmest congratulations on the Lifetime Achievement Award that has been conferred by the United Nations.
Your Majesty, in recognising all these accomplishments some accounts of your reign have accorded you the title 'The Great". We can all understand why.
But, for us who have come to honour you here, a simpler title expresses our feeling. It is a dear and very special title.
You are Our Friend and Our Most Respected colleague.
You inspire us all and we, Your Majesty's peers and admirers, honour you most deeply for this.
We are also extremely grateful to Your Majesty's Government and to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for the opportunity we have had to express these feelings of great respect in person.
In arranging this unique gathering, they honour us as well. It has been a privilege to share their celebrations on this wonderful occasion and we wish Your Majesties and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand many more years of great happiness and prosperity.
HM the Sultan of Brunei during his speech
Inside the Barommaratchasathit Maholan Hall
TM the King and Queen gave HM King Abdullah II of Jordan a commemorative coin at the reception, as the King of Jordan had to return to his kingdom, and took leave of TM before the banquet. Standing to the extreme right, I believe, is Prince Hamzah, son of Queen Noor and half-brother of the King of Jordan.
The Prince of Oman, the Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein and the Crown Prince of Bhutan are seen entering the Banquet Hall.
Warm greetings with the King and Queen of Sweden
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