Bhutan king Jigme Wangchuk marries commoner Jetsun Pema


Source/Credit: BBC / 13 October 2011

Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk has married his commoner bride in a lavish ceremony at a monastic fortress in the Himalayan nation.

During the Buddhist ritual the king, who is 31, came down from his throne to place a crown upon the head of 21-year-old student Jetsun Pema.

Monks chanted to celebrate the union as the king returned to his seat and Ms Pema took the throne as the new queen.

King Jigme is widely revered in the remote kingdom of some 700,000 people.

Celebrations, which were broadcast live on state television, began at 0820 local time (0220 GMT) – a moment deemed auspicious by royal astrologers.

The wedding has been keenly anticipated in the tiny kingdom. Posters, commemorative plates and a badge have been produced and were widely available across Bhutan for the occasion.

“Wherever he goes he holds her hand. Now young people are starting to copy,” one 16-year-old schoolgirl, Jurme Choden, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

Robed elephants

Wedding formalities began after the king and his father, former monarch Jigme Singye Wangchuk, entered a sacred chamber of the monastery, which holds the embalmed body of the country’s 17th Century founder.

Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, a Tibetan Buddhist lama, is revered in Bhutan for unifying warring valley kingdoms into a single country in the 1630s.

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Categories: Asia

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