Ty­ing the knot

Southasia - - 14 -

Bhutan’s King, Jigme Kh­e­sar Nam­gyel Wangchuk re­cently mar­ried his com­moner bride, 21-year-old stu­dent Jet­sun Pema. The lav­ish cer­e­mony that took place at a 17th cen­tury monas­tic fortress was widely cel­e­brated with com­mem­o­ra­tive plates, badges and posters dis­trib­uted through­out the na­tion. The cou­ple was pre­sented with a se­ries of gifts sym­bol­iz­ing longevity, wis­dom and other pos­i­tive at­tributes. The for­mal cer­e­mony also fea­tured singers per­form­ing to tra­di­tional in­stru­ments and baby ele­phants dressed in Bhutanese robes. Though the wed­ding was grand, it did not fea­ture any world lead­ers, celebri­ties or heads of state but was rather in­tended to be a Bhutanese fam­ily af­fair.

Ox­ford-ed­u­cated, King Wangchuk took the throne af­ter his fa­ther ab­di­cated in 2006. The coun­try to­day is a con­sti­tu­tional monar­chy and King Wangchuk is ex­pected to con­tinue it. He is also largely known in Bhutan for en­hanc­ing de­vel­op­ment projects and push­ing demo­cratic re­form that has es­tab­lished the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. Bhutan only al­lowed for­eign­ers to en­ter the coun­try in 1974 and did not have tele­vi­sion till 1999. A small coun­try known for its Gross National Hap­pi­ness, claims that now that that King has mar­ried, its hap­pi­ness is only in­creas­ing.

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