Thailand’s king was hailed by well-wishers as he attended a traditional full moon festival Monday, making only his second public appearance since he was admitted to hospital more than six weeks ago.
Doctors pushed the widely revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 81, in a wheelchair so he could take part in Loy Krathong, a colourful festival of floating water lanterns, local television showed.
Wearing a pink polo shirt and white jacket, the 81-year-old king lit candles at a pier attached to the riverside Siriraj hospital and aides set them on the water, the footage showed.
Hundreds of people had gathered near the hospital to see the king, waving national flags and holding postcard-sized pictures of the monarch.
Queen Sirikit, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and other members of the royal family also attended the ceremony.
The health of the king is a sensitive topic in Thailand, where he is regarded as a demi-god by most people and has been a stabilising force during his six politically turbulent decades on the throne.
He has been in hospital since mid-September with a lung infection and fever. He made his first appearance since his admission on October 23, a public holiday marking the death of his grandfather, King Chulalongkorn.
Police said Monday they had charged two people with spreading false information after rumours about the king’s condition last month sent the Thai stock market plunging.