Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej's condition is improving and he is in no danger, his youngest daughter has said, allaying concerns after rumours that his health had deteriorated. Princess Chulabhorn made the comments at the Thai embassy in Berlin, broadcast on Thai TV, after speculation about the 81-year-old monarch's well-being sent the nation's stock market tumbling earlier in the week.
"Therapy is being performed so the king can stand and walk about normally. It will take some more time. That's the reason why his majesty has not been discharged from hospital, but doctors said there is no danger," she said late on Friday. The princess said that during his first week in hospital, her father was confined to bed with a fever, which weakened him, but now his temperature had come down and he was also no longer being fed intravenously.
"His majesty speaks and takes his meals almost as normal," she added. While the queen remained at Bangkok's Siriraj hospital with her husband, Princess Chulabhorn made the trip to Germany this week to receive a medal for her work in science. Her statement was the first public comment from a member of the royal family on his health since the king, who is the world's longest-reigning monarch, was admitted to hospital almost a month ago with a lung infection and fever.
The Thai stock market fell 2.04 per cent on Wednesday and a plunged 5.3 per cent on Thursday on anxieties about his condition, but rebounded 3.52 per cent on Friday. The rumours rattled investors' confidence because the king, revered as a demi-god by many Thai people, is seen to play a crucial role in maintaining the stability of the politically divided nation. The prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Friday that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating whether the markets had been manipulated.
The king's health is a particularly sensitive topic in light of the political turmoil that has rocked Thailand for three years since the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was toppled in a 2006 coup. *AFP