Discuss as:

Prime minister meets princess: The symbolism of a royal birthday party

When a thumbnail version of this photo passed in front of my eyes my first thought was "Oh, somebody has fallen over." On closer inspection and on reading the caption, I realized that I was looking at something very different: a gesture of extreme deference.

It's a picture that contains a little more political symbolism than the average birthday party snap.

Royal pardons are often issued to mark the Thai king's birthday, and there was speculation last month that fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, convicted of corruption in 2008, would be among those offered a pardon this year.

The current PM pictured above, Yingluck Shinawatra, is Thaksin's sister. Though she is reported to have sidestepped questions about the proposed amnesty, saying only that the government would act within the law, the proposed pardon was shelved following a political uproar.

Nevertheless, it's prudent to keep in with the royals. There's always next year, after all.

Related content: