• King of Bhutan welcomes Willem-Alexander and Maxima to his homeland

    Princess Maxima and Prince Willem-Alexander were in Bhutan at the invitation of its king, 27-year-old Jigme Kesar Namgyal Wangchuck. Treated to a warm welcome from officials at the kingdom's only airport, the husband and wife team then attended a spectacular reception hosted by the Oxford-educated monarch in their honour at his official residence of Dechenchoeling Palace. Nestled between India and China in the Himalayas, Bhutan comprises a diverse terrain, ranging from icy mountain peaks in the north to subtropical plains in the south. One of the world's most isolated nations, its very remoteness has helped ensure the preservation of its

  • King of Bhutan too popular for reform plans

    The King of Bhutan has found himself facing a conundrum that most political leaders can only dream of. His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who has spent the last 30 years working hard to bring peace and prosperity to his homeland, appears to have become a victim of his own popularity. As ruler of the tiny Asian country, the monarch has made it his life's work to modernise the territory while also maintaining its traditional customs and values. His desire to bring democracy to the Himalayan kingdom, by ceding power to a directly elected parliament, has been met with stiff opposition

  • Enter the Dragon King after a two-year wait on astrologers' orders

    At exactly 8.31am on Thursday a 28-year-old Oxford graduate received the silk embroidered Raven Crown worn by Bhutan's kings, and became the youngest monarch on the planet. Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, a bachelor, was given the title of Druk Gyalpo, meaning Dragon King, during a ceremony in the Himalayan kingdom.   CLICK ON THE PHOTO FOR FULL GALLERY The coronation was delayed for two years until astrologers could find an auspicious date. The young royal's much-loved father, 52-year-old Jigme Singye Wangchuck, announced he was stepping down in December 2006 as part of a plan to bring democracy to his people. The elder

  • Coronation fever in Bhutan as people's king bonds with subjects

    By any yardstick this was no ordinary royal walkabout. Bhutan's newly crowned king followed Thursday's lavish coronation ceremony with four days of festivities for his subjects - and greeted thousands of them in person. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel, an Oxford graduate and - at 28- the world's youngest monarch, surprised foreign visitors by mingling with his people in the capital of Thimpu's Changlimithang stadium. The scene was a riot of colour as the crowds enjoyed dance performances and traditional events such as a cap-snatching competition and pillow fights over a tub of cold water. Meanwhile the Dragon King, as he

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