Queen Elizabeth becomes world's longest reigning monarch after King of Thailand dies

King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away peacefully at Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital

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The Independent Online

The Queen has become the world’s longest reigning monarch after the King of Thailand's death.

The palace confirmed King Bhumibol Adulyadej had passed away peacefully on Thursday at Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital after seven decades on the throne. He has rarely been seen in public life in recent years and spent a great deal of the last year in hospital.

King Bhumibol was widely cherished as a demigod in Thailand and served as a unifying paternal figure throughout the country’s unsettled history, remaining a strong anchor in times of upheaval.

Hundreds of people came together to weep and chant prayers for him outside the hospital in recent days. The 63-year old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, his son and heir apparent, is thought to replace him as the new king.

King Bhumibol's death means that Queen Elizabeth becomes no longer just Britain’s longest-reigning monarch but also the world’s longest reigning monarch.

The Queen became the longest serving monarch in British history in September of 2015, overtaking Queen Victoria's mammoth reign of 63 years, seven months and two days.

Since becoming Queen in 1952, she has witnessed everything from the fall of the British Empire and the Berlin Wall and met many of the major figures of the last century.