BANGKOK - Thailand's new king has carried out his first official duty, attending a solemn religious ceremony to honour his father and predecessor, who died seven weeks ago.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun attended the Buddhist ceremony for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Friday, the morning after he was formally named the kingdom's new monarch, tenth in the 234-year-old Chakri dynasty.

Thailand has been in a state of national mourning since Bhumibol's Oct. 13 death at age 88 after years of ill health, and public reaction to the installation of a new king has been muted but hopeful.

Vajiralongkorn, 64, faces the challenges of helping heal a nation fractured by a decade of political strife, and living up to his father's reputation as a righteous, hard-working monarch dedicated to his country's development.