The handsome 31-year-old King Of Bhutan was wed in an elaborate and vibrant ceremony today in the Himalayas, and his bride, a beautiful 21-year-old, is not of royal blood, but a "commoner." Jetsun Pema is the Kate Middleton of Bhutan.
King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck first met his new wife, Jetsun Pema, at a family picnic about fourteen years ago. (Which means she was, uh, seven.) He went Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Cushing Academy and Wheaton College in Massachusetts and then graduated from Oxford. She attended Lawrence High School in Sanawar, India, and Regents College in London.
According to the AP:
The celebrations began at 8:20 a.m. - a time set by royal astrologers - when the king, wearing the royal yellow sash over a golden robe with red flowers and multicolored boots, walked into the courtyard of the 17th century monastery in the old capital of Punakha and proceeded up the high staircase inside.
A few minutes later, his 21-year-old bride, the daughter of an airline pilot, arrived at the end of a procession of red-robed monks and flag bearers across a wooden footbridge over the wide, blue river beside the fort and followed him inside.
In addition to Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan, the new Queen is fluent in English and Hindi. Her interests include fine arts, painting and basketball.
The Wall Street Journal reports that after the ceremony, several thousand people gathered to watch a performance of traditional music and dance with the royal entourage.
Following the music performance, the royal family supplied box lunches of rice, vegetables and meat for the crowd. Then, the king and queen walked through the crowd to shake hands and receive ceremonial white scarves from well-wishers.
The King, who is a big Elvis fan and likes to ride his bike through the streets at night, is known for giving away land to landless farmers around the country.
From the BBC:
When the king of Bhutan was asked about what it felt like to be married he replied: "It's great - you should try it yourself."
A villager told reporter Ian Williams from the Today show that she traveled six hours on foot to see the king get married. The celebrations will last for three days, and no other royals or heads of state have been invited. Just the citizens of the kingdom of Bhutan.
King of Bhutan Weds Commoner Bride in Elaborate Ceremony [ABC News]
Bhutan Celebrates Royal Wedding With Music, Dance and Free Lunch [WSJ]
Bhutan king Jigme Wangchuk marries commoner Jetsun Pema [BBC News]
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck [Wikipedia]
Jetsun Pema [Wikipedia]
Images via Getty.]