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Royal wedding

May 20, 2011

The king of Bhutan has declared that he is to marry Jetsun Pema, a commoner's daughter in October this year. The announcement was made at the seventh session of the country's parliament on Friday.

Bhutan’s King will marry Jetsun Pema, a daughter of a commoner this October
Bhutan's king will marry Jetsun PemaImage: Royal Office Bhutan

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan will marry Jetsun Pema, the daughter of a commoner.

Bhutan's Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley told Deutsche Welle that by doing this the king was fulfilling the wishes of the people, and his own obligation as king to ensure the continuity of the monarchy.

The royal wedding was announced at the seventh session of Parliament
There was joy in the Bhutanese parliament, where the atmosphere is usually restrainedImage: AP

"It's a joyous day for everyone. I think everyone is extremely happy," he said.

He added that the king's statement was particularly moving, and that making a response was difficult under the emotional circumstances he found himself in: "His Majesty spoke about his love and affection for the future queen, and at the same time he said that his affection and love for the people would not be undermined by this marriage. He said that his family is the people of Bhutan."

The 31-year-old king, an Oxford-educated bachelor, made the announcement during his address at the opening ceremony of the seventh session of Parliament in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu on Friday morning.

It was a joyous moment, opposition leader Tshering Tobgyel told Deutsche Welle, saying that the "fact that everybody was overjoyed was very visible and people were having a lot of difficulty restraining themselves from expressing their joy."

The king is not averse to mixing with the commoners
The king is not averse to mixing with the commonersImage: AP

A simple wedding

Weddings in general and royal weddings in particular are an elaborately planned ceremony - as was evident from the British royal wedding in April. The idea is that the whole country come together to be part of a day that goes down in history.

This will be the third royal wedding in the world this year. Prince William and Kate Middleton got married in London in April. While in July, Prince Albert II of Monaco is to marry his swimming champ fiancee, Charlene Wittstock.

In contrast to the British wedding, the Bhutanese royal wedding will not be a grand affair, said Dorji Wangchuk from the royal media office in Thimphu.

The future queen of Bhutan
The future queen of Bhutan graduated from Regent's College in LondonImage: Royal Office Bhutan

"It’s going to be simple. It will be basically like the coronation, where we really didn’t have a large international guest list - very minimal. It’s basically His Majesty’s wishes that the occasion be kept small," he said.

The main religious ceremony will be held at the sacred Punakha Dzong. The exact date is yet to be finalized, but as with most auspicious occasions in the Buddhist country, the chief astrologer has offered three alternative dates which will now be selected through an oracle.

Author: Sherpem Sherpa
Editor: Anne Thomas