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The urn, placed under a nine-tiered white umbrella and accompanied by a palace official, was hoisted into the main chamber of the golden-spired crematorium as monks chanted, traditional instruments wailed and artillery fired in the distance.

New King Maha Vajiralongkorn then climbed the red-carpeted steps to light candles and incense in honour of his father.

Bhumibol will be cremated on Thursday evening within a golden edifice built over a year and representing mystical Mount Meru, where Buddhist and Hindu gods are believed to dwell.

Deceased Thai royals have traditionally been kept upright in urns during official mourning.

Thousands of police and volunteers are on hand to ensure order and entry into the royal quarter, which has been tightly controlled to eliminate the faint possibility of protest against the monarchy or military government.

An activist had been detained earlier this week after writing on Facebook that he planned to wear red clothing on the day of Bhumibol's cremation, a color associated with support for political movements ousted in recent coups.

The ceremony was watched in person by tens of thousands of tearful mourners dressed in black and millions more around the kingdom in broadcasts aired live on most Thai TV stations and shown at designated viewing areas across the country.

Bhumibol's death at age 88 on October 13, 2016, after a reign of seven decades sparked a national outpouring of grief.But Bhumibol, who spent much of his early life in the West, opted to be put in a coffin, with the royal urn placed next to it for devotional purposes.Britain's Prince Andrew (second right) was among the invitees.The main funeral is taking place in Bangkok's historic royal quarter, where tens of thousands of people have gathered to watch the elaborate ceremonies outside the specially built crematorium'I want to be here together with a group of people who dearly love their king,' he said.'Our love won't die until we too pass and follow him.'Thais have braved tropical heat and torrential monsoon rains to secure street-side vantage points to witness the funeral.

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