On Thursday, 50 days after Thai King Bhumibol died, his only son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, accepted the throne in a televised ceremony. Officially King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty, he will be known as King Rama X. The new king, 64, will not have his coronation until after King Bhumibol is cremated, at least a year after his death on Oct. 13.
Vajiralongkorn had requested the delay in accepting the crown so he could mourn along with the Thai people, but on Thursday, the accession was made retroactive. "A kingdom should not be without a monarch on the throne," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said after the ceremony. "The commencement of the new reign is therefore effective as of 13 October 2016."
King Bhumibol, who ruled for seven decades, was a widely revered and unifying figure for his politically fractured nation. Since the Thai royal family is protected by strict lese-majeste laws, limiting what can be said about them in the press, the Thai people don't know much about their new king or how he will rule. The thrice-married Vajiralongkorn has been crown prince since 1972. He was educated in Britain and Australia and has spent years living mostly in Germany; he has seven children. You can learn more in the BBC News primer below. Peter Weber