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"  As built by deities, the administrative center, dazzling palaces and temples, the capital of Thailand. " 

Ceremony of City Key Presentation

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The Key to the City of Bangkok

      

The tradition of the “City Key” or “the Key to the City” presentation was originated around the 16th century (B.E. 2000) in England.  At that time, the Lord Chamberlain had responsibility for receiving and welcoming, and arranging state ceremonies for the Sovereign’s guests.  The Lord Chamberlain had a white staff and a jeweled key as honorable symbols of his position.  During that period of time, after new foreign ambassador presented his credentials to the Lord Chamberlain to consider on behalf of the sovereign and the Lord accepted the credentials, he would present the Key to the City to the ambassador, signifying the acceptance of his stature and welcoming him to the kingdom.  Hence, the tradition of City Key presentation was started.

 

        In the Middle Ages (B.E. 2100-2300), every city in Europe built the city wall to protect the city from attacks.  Likewise, His Majesty King Buddha Yodfa
Chulaloke Maharaj (King Rama I) built the city wall to protect the capital city from aggressors when he moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok.  Every city wall in Europe and Thailand had a large gate representing the entrance to the city which always being locked during night time or in case of emergency

        The presentation of the Key to the City is a tradition presenting to dignitary guests supposing of giving a Key to unlock the gate and enter the city.  In reality, the presented key is not an actual key but a symbol of welcome. Many cities in civilized countries carry on the tradition to honor their visiting guests.

      

         In the past, Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, was governed under the municipal system, i.e. Bangkok Municipality headed by the Mayor of Bangkok, which the presentation of the City Key was started.  Accordingly, the Mayor of Bangkok was the person responsible for presenting the key to dignitary guests. The first presentation of the City Key to the royal guests was in 1661 when H.E. Soekarno, President of
the Republic of Indonesia had an official state visit to Bangkok as a royal guest of Their Majesties King and Queen during 16 to 20 April, 1966.  The City Key presentation ceremony at that time was arranged at Chitralada Royal Railway Station where His Majesty the King waited for delivering a welcome address to the royal guest.  Later, Bangkok Municipality arranged the welcome ceremony and the City Key presentation at the Bangkok Municipality’s pavilion for the ceremony built on one end of the Phan Fa Lilat Bridge for every presentation of City Key to royal guests was organized.  Bangkok Municipality or later called Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (“BMA”) had arranged the ceremony at that place all along until 1990 when BMA built the BMA’s permanent pavilion (in the area which used to be Sala Chalermthai Theatre).  When Their Majesties King and Queen of Malaysia had an official state visit to Thailand as the royal guests of H.M. KING Bhumibol
Adulyadej and H.M. Queen Sirikit from 17 to 21 December 1990, BMA arranged the welcome ceremony on behalf of the people of Bangkok and presented the Key to the City to H.M. King of Malaysia at the BMA’s permanent pavilion of which later, on 6 August 1992, H.M. KING Bhumibol
Adulyadej gave the name of the pavilion as Maha Jetsadabordin Pavilion.  Since then, BMA has always arranged the welcome ceremony and presented the Key to the City to royal guests at Maha Jetsadabordin Pavilion; and at present, the Governor of Bangkok is the person presenting the Key to the City to the heads of states having official visits to Bangkok.

       The ceremony of City Key presentation will take place at Maha Jetsadabordin Pavilion, where the Governor of Bangkok will deliver a welcome address and present City Key as well as a souvenir at the end of the state visit. The Governor of Bangkok will fully dress in an official white uniform with Governor’s royal breast chain decoration, a special uniform for the Governor of Bangkok post.

        On the occasion of 6th Cycle Birthday of His Majesty the King, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration ordered the Key to the City of Bangkok made of solid gold to be presented to Their Majesties King and Queen’s royal guests and guests having official state visit to Thailand; and since then, the golden Key to the City has always been presented in the ceremony.

 

The City Key Presentation Ceremony

City Key Presentation Date

Recipient

16 April 1961

H.E. Dr. Soekarno, President of the Republic of Indonesia

 6 December 1961

H.E. Mr. Arturo Frondizi Ercoli, President of Argentina and his wife

12 January 1962

H.M. King Frederick IX and H.M. Queen Ingrid of Denmark

21 November 1962

H.E. Dr. Heinrich Lübke, President of the Federal Republic of Germany

14 December 1962

General Ne Win, Chairman of National Revolutionary Council of the Union of Burma

14 February 1963

H.M. King Paul I and H.M. Queen of  Hélènes

22 March 1963

H.M. King Sisavang Vatthana of the Kingdom of Laos

22 March 1963

H.M. Queen Juliana of Netherlands and her consort

10 February 1964

H.M. King and H.M. Queen of Belgium

24 February  1964

H.M. King and H.M. Queen of Malaysia

14  December  1964

Crown Prince Akihito of Japan and Princess Michiko (Crown Prince’s consort)

15  January  1965

H.M. King of Norway

2  February  1965

Prince Bertil of Sweden

10  February  1966

H.E. General Park Chung-hee, President of the Republic of Korea, and his wife

10  February  1966

H.E. Mr. Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America

17  January  1967

H.E. Mr. Franz Jonas, President of the Republic of Austria

15  January  1968

H.E. Mr.Ferdinand E. Marcos, President of the Republic of the Philippines

22  January  1968

H.M. Emperor Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and H.M. Empress of Iran

14  May  1968

H.M. Emperor of Ethiopia

28  July  1969

H.E. Mr. Richard M.Nixon, President of the United States of America
19  March  1970

H.E. General Suharto, President of the Republic of Indonesia and his wife

9  February 1972

H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

27  March  1972

H.E. Varahagiri Venkata Giri, President of India, and his wife

1  February  1973

H.M. King and H.M. Queen of Malaysia

4  March  1979

H.E. President and Chairman of the Union of Burma

8 April  1979

H.E. President of the Republic of Bangladesh

3  July  1981

H.E. General Chun Doo Hwan, President of the Republic of Korea

29  February  1984

H.E. President of the Federal Republic of Germany

12  December  1984

H.E. King and H.M. Queen of Nepal

11  March  1985

H.E. Li Sien-nien, President of the People's Republic of China

17  December  1985

H.M. King and H.M. Queen of Malaysia

21  October  1987

H.E. General Zia-ul-Haq, President of Pakistan

18  November  1987

H.M. King Juan Carlos and H.M. Queen Sofia of Spain

28  March  1988

H.E. Hussain Muhammad Ershad, President of Bangladesh

1  November 1988

H.M. King and H.M. Queen of  Brunei Darussalam

17  December  1990

H.M. King and H.M. Queen of  Malaysia

10  June  1991

H.E. Yang Shangkun, President of the People's Republic of China

26  September  1991

H.M. Emperor and H.M. Empress of Japan

6  January  1992

H.E. Mr. Kaysone Phomvihane, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

15 February  1993

H.E. Mr. Árpád Gönz, President of the Republic of Hungary

11  February  1994

H.E. Mr. Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic

14  February  1995

H.E. Mr. Nouhak Phoumsavanh, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

28  October  1996

H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

24  November  1996

H.E.  William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States of America

10  October  1998

H.E. Mr. Tran Duc Luong, President of Socialist Republic of Vietnam

2  September  1999

H.E.  Mr.Jiang Zemin, President of the People's Republic of China

7 February 2001

H.M. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

26  August  2002

H.M. Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah of Brunei Darussalam

25  February  2003

H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M. Queen Sylvia of Sweden

19  January    2004

H.M. Queen Beatrix of Netherlands

17  January   2005

H.M. Mr. S.R. Nathan, President of the Republic of Singapore

17 February 2006

H.E. Mr. Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic

21  February 2006

H.M. King and H.M. Queen of Spain

9  March  2009

H.M. King Al-Wathiqu Billah  Tuanku  MizanZainal  Abidin ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi

Billah Shah (the 13th King of Malaysia)and H.M. Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah of Malaysia

12 May 2009

H.E. Mr. Choummaly Sayasone, President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic

Compiled by International Affairs Division, Office of the Permanent Secretary for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration



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by Dr. Radut