Thais celebrate 85th birthday of revered king

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Associated Press

Posted on December 5, 2012 at 3:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 5 at 3:33 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — Vast crowds of devoted Thais have turned out for a brief glimpse of their beloved king as he celebrates his 85th birthday with a rare public appearance.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej sat on a throne on a balcony overlooking a plaza with a crowd that police estimated at 200,000 Wednesday as he delivered a brief homily on national harmony. Most in the crowd were dressed in the royal color of yellow, many waving Thai flags and flags adorned with the king's insignia.

The turnout was a vivid demonstration of the affection in which many hold the king, despite political turmoil in recent years that has raised doubts about the future of the monarchy.

Bhumibol's family flanked him for part of his appearance, including Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, his son and heir-apparent.

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