There was cause for celebration in the South Asian state of Bhutan this week with the happy news that their monarch is to wed.King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck made the announcement at the opening session of parliament. The 31-year-old Oxford-educated monarch will wed stunning Jetsun Pema, who comes from an ordinary background.
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"I have thought it over for a long time and decided to marry," the king said in his statement, which was broadcast live on national TV. "People might think that my queen should be highly educated, beautiful and best of the best," he said, with a huge smile on his face. "Jetsun Pema is a kind hearted girl who is very supportive and whom I can trust. I don't know what my people will say about her, but I find her complete with all the qualities a woman needs to have." The couple will wed in October, in what is sure to be a joyous and momentous occasion for the country. King Jigme has been hugely popular with his people ever since his2008 coronation
, when he became the youngest monarch on the planet.
Back then he spent time over the course of four days mingling with the thousands of well-wishers who joined in the festivities. The remote state, sandwiched between India and China, had waited two years for the coronation so it could be held on an auspicious date. Previously Jigme's much-loved father, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, stepped down in December 2006 as part of a plan to bring democracy to his people. The elder Wangchuck had been gradually reforming a country which had no roads until the Sixties and only allowed TV in 1999. Since he came into power, the new monarch - known as the Dragon King - has striven to continue the elder Jigme's philosophy of promoting what he once referred to as 'Gross National Happiness'. "Destiny has put me here. I will protect you as a parent, care for you as a brother and serve you as a son," he promised as he was crowned. "I shall give you everything and keep nothing. This is how I shall serve you as king."