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It was a wedding for the ages. A ‘Voyage of Love’ as the carefully choreographed theming put it. One woven with joy and laced with poignancy.
The wedding in question was that of King Power Group CEO Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha and his long-time partner Nuntisa ‘Oil’ Tunyongvej in Bangkok on Sunday.
I was privileged to be asked to attend this extraordinary celebration, sponsored by the Thai royal family and held next to the King Power Srivaree shopping complex.
The pictures capture the ravishing, flower-laden setting for the wedding reception, an event attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana of Thailand and Prince Abdul Mateen Bolkiah and Princess Azemah Bolkiah from Brunei. What they cannot entirely capture is the emotion.
The ‘Voyage’ I referred to recounted the journey of bride and groom, their respective sojourns in life culminating in them finding each other and ultimately marrying. Acclaimed British singer Ellie Goulding (below) performed some of her biggest hits, including How Long Will I Love You and Love Me Like You Do, embracing the sentiment of the evening.
Khun Top is also Chairman of Leicester City Football Club in the UK, the club his late father Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought in 2010 and which achieved the near-impossible feat of winning the Premiership in the 2015/2016 season, a feat capped by the 2021 FA Cup triumph.
Khun Vichai, such a remarkably influential figure in travel retail as well as football circles, was tragically lost in a helicopter crash close to Leicester City’s ground in late October 2018. Amid all the celebrations on Sunday evening, there was a deeply poignant moment as a giant image of Khun Vichai appeared on the screen after the happy couple made their entrance into the giant hall and onto the stage.
Before I flew out of Bangkok to Hong Kong on Monday morning I paid my personal respects to Khun Vichai by visiting the honorary statue of him in place at King Power Rangnam. I took a quiet moment to remember him and particularly the immense kindness he showed me during the darkest moments of my life.
The words of his family, stated with heartbreaking simplicity, sum up the extent of his loss. ‘In our hearts you will always be. You are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.’
How sad Khun Vichai could not be there to view his beloved son’s wedding. But equally, how joyous it was to see Khun Top’s own happiness all these years on. No-one could deserve it more. ✈