Apr 24, 2014, 12:01 am (BST)
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Thai king leaves hospital for cousin's funeral
BANGKOK, April 9 (BSS/AFP) - Thailand's frail king left the hospital where he has been staying for more than two years on Monday for a rare public appearance at the funeral of his cousin.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest reigning monarch, left Siriraj hospital in a wheelchair, wearing the customary white royal uniform and a black armband for the memorial rites of Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda.

Together with his wife Queen Sirikit, he lit candles and incense at a specially constructed royal crematorium at the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground in Bangkok's historic district attended by saffron-robed monks and top officials including Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The monarch, now 84, was admitted to hospital in September 2009 to be treated for a respiratory condition and has rarely left, aside from a few public appearances. He was due to return to hospital after the funeral.

Princess Bejaratana, the only child of late King Vajiravudh, died in July 2011 from a blood infection at the age of 85 and had lain in state since then at the Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall in the Grand Palace.

Her remains were transported in a large golden urn atop a gilded teak chariot pulled by more than 200 men in one of three processions ahead of her cremation due to be held later Monday, which was declared a special holiday.
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