Oxford-educated Bhutan king weds commonerOctober 13th, 2011 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS
Punakha (Bhutan), Oct 13 (IANS) The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan Thursday witnessed a historic event with 31-year-old King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk entering into a wedlock with his commoner heartthrob, 21-year-old student Jetsun Pema at a lavish ceremony.
The Buddhist marriage rituals were held at the 17th century monastic fortress in Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan with the Oxford-educated king coming down from his throne to place the crown on the head of the stunning Pema. Punakha is about 80 km from capital Thimphu.
And soon the fortress echoed with chants of Buddhist hymns by monks clad in maroon and yellow robes as the newlywed Pema was escorted by the king to the throne.
Former king Jigme Singye Wangcuk, who abdicated the throne in favour of his son and ushered in transition from absolute monarchy in the Himalayan kingdom, and his four queens as also the entire royal family were present to bless the newly weds.
“Now we have a king and a queen and for the Bhutanese people. This is like a symbol of body, spirit and mind coming together. It is so important because we see it as reminding people of family values,” said Kinley Dorji, Bhutan’s information secretary.
Pema was dressed in a yellow-red jacket and skirt, and her crown glittered as a select 300 guests inside the fortress looked in awe as the deep-throated chanting of Buddhist hymns echoed in the fortress.
The king is thought to have known Pema, the daughter of an airline pilot, since she was a young girl. A biography released by the palace listed her interests as fine arts, painting and basketball.
Jetsun Pema, who was born in Thimphu June 4, 1990, stands pretty at 5 feet 10 inches.
She had joined the Lawrence School at Sanawar in Himachal Pradesh in 2006 and cleared her plus-two examination in 2008. Before joining Sanawar, she studied at St. Joseph’s Convent in Kalimpong in West Bengal and Changangkha Lower Secondary School and Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School in Thimphu, Bhutan. She graduated from Regents College, London.
Pema comes from the Bumthang Pangtey family and her father, Dhondup Gyaltshen, is an airline pilot. Jetsun Pema has two brothers and two sisters.
The king and the queen acknowledged the guests after the marriage rituals by waving.
King Jigme is widely revered in the Bhutan, a nation of some 700,000 people that made a historic shift from absolute monarchy to parliamentary democracy in 2008.
King Jigme was enthroned as the monarch in 2006 after his father Jigme Singye Wangcuk abdicated the throne in favour of his son.
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