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An evening with Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Being monarch was 'great fun,' but like having an upside-down pyramid on his neck

King Bhumibol Adulyadej with Prince Bhisatdej Rajani who ran the royal hill tribe development projects in northern Thailand.   © Dominic Faulder

BANGKOK -- On the evening of Apr. 21, 2008, nine members of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT) were granted an audience with King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Their purpose was to present him with a 280-page second edition of "The King of Thailand in World Focus," an illustrated book showing how his life had been covered by the foreign media since his birth in the U.S. in 1927. The first edition, published in 1988, was less than two-thirds the length of the second.

There was no doubt that the king liked the book. It even included a photograph of his birth certificate stamped "Commonwealth of Massachusetts." He expressed his thanks three times, but not, it seemed, because the book flattered him. "It will show people what we tried to do," he said. When asked about errors, he said there were a few but none of consequence, and moved on quickly.

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