As I mentioned earlier in the week, it was 18 years ago today, after dozens of deaths in a confrontation between Thai security forces and a pro-democracy protest, that King Bhumibol Adulyadej invited the opposing leaders for an audience. On their knees they crawled into his presence.

Televised images of King Bhumibol humbling the two political leaders, General Suchinda Kraprayoon and General Chamlong Srimuang, have been fused, ever since, to the palace’s mythology of a just and democratic monarch. The king’s late intervention helped stop days of violence in Bangkok. Of course much damage, and loss of life, had already occurred.

18 years later the world has once again turned its attention to Bangkok and violence on its streets.

Any effort to draw a strong analogy between the events of May 1992 and May 2010 is doomed to fail. But, on 20 May of all days, there is surely a question about the silence of the palace as the kingdom teeters ever closer to the precipice. Far be it for me to suggest that some royal intervention is now appropriate or, more importantly, even likely to succeed. But such a dramatic move is not beyond the realms of possibility; particularly if an auspicious alignment now forces some interventionist symmetry — 18 years to the day.

To speculate even more wildly, could Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and/or Princess Sirindhorn play a role as they did in 1992? If they don’t, and if their father remains silent, will many Thais start to wonder more publicly about where the royal peacemakers have gone?