His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej – who is the world's longest serving head of state – watched the euphoria unfold from the balcony of the Grand Palace. The December 5 celebrations which mark the sovereign's birthday are known as Wan Chalerm and bring an outpouring of love and reverence by Thai people throughout the country and around the world.
The date is a national holiday and is also celebrated as Father's Day. It is reflective of the depth of feeling that exists for the frail royal, who holds a special place in people's hearts but limits his public appearances due to poor health.
As well as enjoying rare contact with his subjects, King Bhumibol was also surrounded by the comfort of his family, including his daughters, the princesses Ubolratana, Chulabhorn and Sirindhorn. His son and heir Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn was also present, although Thailand's queen Sirikit missed the lavish event on the advice of her doctors.
The united royal family all wore yellow – the colour which is identified with the king and is deeply symbolic.