Bhutan King set to marry commoner

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will tie the knot with Jetsun Pema, daughter of an airline pilot

Bhutan's king, an Oxford graduate and 'prince charming of the Himalayas', is set to marry today at what promises to be an emotional moment for the 7,00,000 adoring subjects of his isolated nation.

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (31) a mountain-biking fanatic and Elvis fan, crowned in 2008, will wed a photogenic student 10 years his junior called Jetsun Pema, the daughter of an airline pilot.

No frills: King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck will marry
commoner Jetsun Pema today in a simple and traditional wedding. No
heads of state and other royals have been invited for the nuptials that
are to be conducted in a 17-century fortress. pic/afp

The main wedding ceremony takes place today in a stunning 17th-century fortress surrounded by mountains and built at the confluence of two fast-running rivers in the ancient capital Punakha.

The announcement of the nuptials in May broke the hearts of the king's many admirers -- he was once mobbed on a trip to Thailand by weeping teenagers � but it has brought joy to his people, who idolise the royal family.

Cheerfulness abounds on the streets of the country that invented 'Gross National Happiness' -- a development philosophy that sees the government measure the mental well-being of citizens, not their material wealth.
"I have no words to describe it," said 21-year-old student Chencho Dorji.

"They are the perfect match."
Organisers of the wedding and celebrations have promised the style will be "simple and traditional".

No heads of state or other royals have been invited, and even Bhutanese ministers have been asked not to bring their wives to the private ceremony  because of the lack of seating.

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