The sister of the King of Thailand has died. HM Princess Galyani Vadhana is of the eldest sister of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). The Thai prime minister has decreed that the nation shall begin 100 days of mourning for the revered princess, and that for 15 days all government officials and agencies will wear black and flags will fly at half mast.
The princess had been in and out of the hospital since June 2007 and was diagnosed with cancer. She passed away at 2.54 am Wednesday at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok.
Among her many philanthropic activities, HM Princess Galyani was a celebrated patron of the performing arts, especially music.
Political parties in Thailand had been negotiating to form a new government. The Bangkok Post reports that on account of the death of the princess, the Chart Thai and Puea Pandin parties have postponed their announcement on joining a coalition government led by People Power party. It is unclear how many seats the coalition will be able to muster as the Election Commission -- presumably pressured by the powerful Privy Council president -- has been issuing "red cards" which can disqualify a candidate from holding office on the grounds of alleged -- but possibly spurious -- electoral irregularities. Bangkok Pundit (here and here) has the latest on the implications of the "red cards."
Other sources: Nation (biography), Wikipedia, AP,