King of Bhutan marries beautiful commoner

Thursday October 13, 2011

At 8.20am – a time ordained by astrologers – the fifth Dragon King of Bhutan proceeded up the steps of the country's most sacred monastic fortress on the way to greet his bride.

Monks chanted in celebration as King Jigme Khesar Namguyal Wangchuk, 31, placed a silk brocade crown on the head of 21-year-old student Jetsun Pema.

The gesture made her the new queen of this tiny Himalayan nation that had no roads, hospitals or electricity until the Sixties.

Thousands came down from the surrounding mountains to celebrate with three days of dancing in the ancient capital of Punakha.

It was here where in 2008, the monarch was installed in some splendour on a golden throne.

Unlike his father who wed four sisters in a polygamous ceremony, the reigning sovereign is marrying for love.

He lived with his bride for eight months before the wedding and frequently speaks of his affection for her.

More on the charming couple

Photo:©PA

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