Queen of Thailand due in Russia on state visit
( RIA Novosti ) - Queen Sirikit of Thailand arrives in Russia Monday on a nine-day state visit timed to coincide with the 110th anniversary of Russian-Thai diplomatic relations.
The queen will spend four days in the capital, Moscow, before heading on to the nation's second city, St. Petersburg, where she is scheduled to meet with Mayor Valentina Matviyenko.
In a message of greetings sent Monday to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, President Vladimir Putin said:
"We see Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's visit as a landmark event. I am sure it will open a new page in Russian-Thai relations, helping to further strengthen them."
Putin, who invited the Thai queen to Moscow for the anniversary celebrations, will host a banquet in her honor Thursday.
King Adulyadej is the world's longest-reigning monarch. Last June, he celebrated his 60th anniversary on the throne in a lavish party which brought together royalty and heads of state from 25 countries.
Thailand's royal couple are seen as a symbol of unity and modernity in their country, where monarchs traditionally play a pivotal role in providing social cohesion and stability.