Thimphu: Bhutan's popular King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will tie the knot on Thursday with India- educated commoner Jetsun Pema at a fairy tale wedding, an occasion considered as a watershed event in the history of the tiny nation. Over 20 special tents stacked with cushions and chairs have been erected at the nearly 100-acre venue where the wedding will take place. (Agencies)
The 31-year-old Oxford-educated King will marry an airline pilot's daughter Pema, 10 years younger to him, at a grand ceremony in line with Buddhist traditions at an impressive 17th century fortress in the historic city of Punakha 71 km from here.
Pema did her higher secondary schooling from Lawrence School in Himachal Pradesh's Sanawar from 2006 to 2008. Currently, she is a student of the Regents College in London.
The Punakha Dzong, as the fortress is known, has been spruced up for the Royal Wedding ceremony and the prayer wheels on the wooden bridge that connects the palace have been repainted.
The Royal Couple will exchange vows before nearly 1,500 guests, including those from India like West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan, at the fortress, which is surrounded by mountains and river.
A majority of the nearly 7 lakh Bhutanese population are expected to be glued to their television sets as the wedding will be telecast live on local TV.
Youngsters in and around Thimphu say it would be a "watershed" event as majority of the current population has never witnessed a Royal Wedding.
The Royal Bhutan Government has announced a three-day public holiday beginning on Thursday to enable people to celebrate the wedding. Known for his simplicity and soft-spoken nature, Wangchuck, who was coronated as King of Bhutan on November 6, 2008 after his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated and transferred the throne to him, likes to cycle across the capital and invite his subjects for a cup of tea, a thing which is uncommon with monarchs.
As per the promise made by the King when he announced in May his plans to get married, authorities say the ceremony will be simple and traditional, but people of this tiny kingdom are already elated over getting a new Queen and will celebrate the occasion for two days beginning Friday.
Excitement could be seen in the air in the capital city, where the celebrations are to be held, with people painting their houses, hanging festive banners and decorating roads with fresh flowers to celebrate the occasion.
The newly-wed King and the Queen will appear before the people on Saturday, two days after they enter into wedlock.
Besides the 1,500-odd invitees, around 10,000 Bhutanese can watch the event from outside the venue.
Authorities said no heads of state or other royals have been invited for the ceremony.
The invitees would treated to a lavish feast that will have around 54 items of traditional Bhutanese cuisine, but no imported wine or food will be served, local media reported.
This is the second much publicised Royal Wedding this year after Kate Middleton wed Prince William of Britain in April this year.
Like Middleteon, Pema is also a commoner. The future Queen has already started appearing with the King in public functions. Pema is second eldest among five children.
Thimphu: Bhutan's popular King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will tie the knot on Thursday with India- educated commoner Jetsun Pema at a fairy tale wedding, an occasion considered as a watershed event in the history of the tiny nation.
Over 20 special tents stacked with cushions and chairs have been erected at the nearly 100-acre venue where the wedding will take place.