Bhutan Royal Wedding: Dragon King Marries Commoner

Bhutan had its very own royal wedding on Thursday, as the nation’s “Dragon King” married an educated commoner 10 years his junior. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 31, and his new bride, Queen Jetsun Pema, 21, were joined by thousands of royal enthusiasts, as the ceremony took place at a Himalayan monastic fortress.

The king and queen, draped in traditional attire that included a raven’s head and a silk-embroidered crown, also sipped on a chalice of ambrosia that symbolized eternal life, according to Reuters. The ceremony, which included dance performances, baby elephants and a procession of singers, aired live on national television for Bhutan’s 700,000 people.

Pema, who is the daughter of an airline pilot, is educated just like her new husband. The young queen studied subjects including English and economics at the prestigious Lawrence School Sanawar in India before pursuing her college degree at Regents College in London, where she focused on International Relations, Psychology and Art History.

The king has a degree in Foreign Service Programme and International Relations from Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. “I am happy. I have been waiting quite some time . . . she is a wonderful human being, intelligent. Her and I share one big thing in common – love and passion for art,” Wangchuck told reporters following the ceremony.

The royal couple first announced their engagement on May 20, during the opening of the seventh session of parliament.

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his new bride, Queen Jetsun Pema pose for pictures at the Punkaha Dzong in Bhutan’s ancient capital Punakha October 13, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

Queen Jetsun Pema walks towards the Punkaha Dzong to take part in her wedding to King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in Bhutan’s ancient capital Punakha October 13, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (L) and his bride Jetsun Pema take part in a purification ceremony at the Punkaha Dzong during their wedding ceremony in Bhutan’s ancient capital Punakha October 13, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck greets journalists after his marriage to Queen Jetsun Pema at the Punkaha Dzong in Bhutan’s ancient capital Punakha October 13, 2011. Bhutan’s “Dragon King” married a commoner in a Himalayan monastic fortress on Thursday, sipping a chalice of ambrosia symbolizing eternal life, in a wedding that has transfixed a reclusive kingdom slowly embracing globalization. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck holds hands with Queen Jetsun Pema while greeting villagers in Bhutan’s ancient capital Punakha October 13, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema greet villagers after their wedding in Bhutan’s ancient capital Punakha October 13, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema greet villagers after their wedding in Bhutan’s ancient capital Punakha October 13, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

Men carry a portrait of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his fiancee Jetsun Pema before hanging it along a road in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu on October 12, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

A woman signs to a neighbor next to a portrait of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his fiancee Jetsun Pema hanging outside her residence in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu on October 12, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

A school girl shows off a pin, with the images of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his fiancee Jetsun Pema, while taking part in a rehearsal ceremony ahead of the royal wedding in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu on October 11, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

Bhutanese men in traditional costumes take part in a rehearsal ceremony at the Changlimithang Stadium, ahead of the royal wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu on October 11, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

Jetsun Pema, fiancee of Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is seen in Bhutan in this undated handout photograph released May 20, 2011. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his fiancee Jetsun Pema pose in Bhutan in this undated handout released May 20, 2011. The young and dashing Bhutanese king on Friday announced his engagement to a commoner, sending his adoring subjects into rhapsody at the prospect of a grand wedding later this year in the last of the Himalayan kingdoms. (REUTERS / Adrees Latif)

A Bhutanese student carries a portrait of King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and future Queen Jetsun Pema, before hanging it outside the Lungten Zanpa School, their alma mater in the capital of Thimphu, Bhutan. The 31 year-old reformist monarch of the small Himalayan Kingdom will wed his commoner bride in a series of ceremonies set for Thursday. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press)

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