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The Royal Wedding on 13 October 2011
Royal Wedding - Jetsun Pema as the Druk Gyal-tsuen (Queen of Bhutan)
The youngest reigning monarch of the world's youngest democracy, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 31, will wed Jetsun Pema, 21, in a rich and solemn traditional religious ceremony fulfilling the wishes of the Bhutanese people in the Punakha Dzong that sits where the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers meet.

The sacred nuptial ceremony, which starts as early as four in the morning, will also proclaim royal bride Jetsun Pema as the Druk Gyal-tsuen (Queen of Bhutan).

She has been accompanying His Majesty on royal tours around the country in recent months.

Sharing his idea of a queen, His Majesty said that many will have their own idea of what a Queen should be like - that she should be uniquely beautiful, intelligent and graceful. "I cannot say how she might appear to the people." And after a brief pause he added, "But to me, she is the one," His Majesty said, which generated some hesitant laughter in the otherwise formal and sombre parliament hall.

"But for the Queen, what is most important is that, at all times, as an individual she must be a good human being; and as Queen, she must be unwavering in her commitment to serve the people and country," His Majesty said. "I think, with experience and time, one can grow into a dynamic person in any walk of life with the right effort. I have found such a person and her name is Jetsun Pema.

While she is young, she is warm and kind in heart and character. These qualities, together with the wisdom that will come with age and experience, will make her a great servant to the nation."

His Majesty said that his union does not mean that he would be starting his own family. "From the very day I received the Dhar Ngay-Nga from the sacred Machhen, the people of the 20 dzongkhags became my family. Such is the duty and privilege of all Kings of Bhutan. It is through this union, that I shall have a Queen, who will support, and work with me, as I serve the people and country."

His Majesty said the royal wedding would be in accordance with age-old tradition, to seek the blessings of our Guardian Deities, and asked the government not to make any plans for a grand celebration. "The happiness of my beloved father and the blessings of our people would give me the greatest joy and happiness," said His Majest

The Gyal Tsuen Tashi Ngasoel (sacred nuptial ceremony) will be sanctified in a traditional religious ceremony, which will be performed at an auspicious hour in the grand Kuenra (congregation hall) of Punakha dzong, the main seat of Drukpa Kagyue tradition, which has witnessed epoch making events that shaped Bhutan's religious, cultural and political history.

Yesterday, royal bride Jetsun Pema was escorted from her home in Langjophakha, Thimphu, and visited the Chang Gangkha lhakhang before she left for Wangduephodrang where she stayed over night at the Tencholing royal cottage.

The religious ceremonies for the royal wedding begins with His Holiness the Je Khenpo conducting the prayer of Zhabdrung Dag Nangma at Machhen lhakhang; while the Dorji Lopon and 100 monks initiate Tshepa Mey prayers at the grand Kuenra.

His Majesty the King will then receive the Dar Na Nga, an arrangement of silk scarves in the five auspicious colours, representing the five elements, which is a direct empowerment from the Zhabdrung himself.

The Fourth Druk Gyalpo will receive the Dar Na Nga for the royal bride from the Machhen, and bestow the silk scarves on her in the antechamber.

After receiving empowerment from the Zhabdrung Machhen, His Majesty and the royal bride will proceed to the Kuenra at around 10:15am for the sacred nuptial ceremony. The royal bride will offer His Majesty the Golden Bumpa filled with ambrosia of eternal life, signifying her devotion to the continuity of the Wangchuck dynasty. His Majesty the King will also make a symbolic offering of the ambrosia to the Triple gem and to the guardian deities.

His Holiness the Je Khenpo will begin chanting sutras for the crowning of the Queen with the accompaniment of the monastic orchestra. His Majesty will then bestow the crown of the Druk Gyal-tsuen upon the royal bride who will then be proclaimed as the Queen of Bhutan, Her Majesty the Queen, Jetsun Pema Wangchuck. Her Majesty will then ascend the throne of the Queen of Bhutan.

His Holiness the Je Khenpo will then initiate the chants of the Ngoe drup langwa for the accumulation of spiritual and worldly virtues. The representatives of the zhung dratshang, government, and the people will offer the Mendrey, Ku, Sung, Thud, Yonten and Thrinley (mandala, body, speech, mind, qualities and deeds), Tashi Ze-gye (eight auspicious articles), Gyal Sid Naduen (symbols of the universal emperor) and Tashi Tagye (eight auspicious symbols) to Their Majesties the King and Queen. This traditional and sacred ceremony will be followed by the presentation of Tashi lekdar (offering felicitation) and a celebration with the public of Punakha.

This article was contributed by Ugyen Penjore, KUENSEL, Bhutan's national newspaper, 2011

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Bhutan king Jigme Wangchuk marries commoner Jetsun Pema

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