King of Bhutan Weds, Will Visit Japan with Queen Soon

Bhutan Royal Wedding
The King and Queen of Bhutan after their wedding ceremony on October 13. Photo by Eki Arai.

King of Bhutan Weds, Will Visit Japan with Queen Soon
Yomiuri Shimbun: 新婚のブータン国王夫妻、国賓として訪日へ
Eki Arai reporting from Punakha, Western Bhutan October 13, 2011

On October 13 in Punakha, the ancient capital of the tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (age 31) married Jetsun Pema (21), a woman from a common family.

The ceremony was held in Punakha Dzong, which doubles as a monastery and a state administrative center. It strictly followed traditional customs. Afterward, the bride and groom went to the plaza, where tens of thousands of citizens were gathered, and enjoyed a traditional dance while receiving well wishes.

Under the direction of the former king, Bhutan’s government changed from a hereditary monarchy to a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy in 2008. The current king, who took the throne the same year, is open-hearted and popular, and “he is playing a centripetal role in the country during this time of transition,” in the words of the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper.

The new queen’s father was a pilot for the national airline. She has studied abroad in India and England. It seems the crowning of a queen from a common family is having a positive influence on the democratization of the country.

Since the new king and queen announced their plans to wed in May, they have frequently made official visits together, but in November, they will make their first foreign tour as husband and wife, and they are planning to visit Japan. They are also considering visiting the Great Tōhoku Earthquake disaster area.

Original/原稿:
新婚のブータン国王夫妻、国賓として訪日へ
13日、プナカで結婚式を挙げたブータン国王夫妻(新居益撮影)

【プナカ(ブータン西部)=新居益】ヒマラヤの小国ブータンの古都プナカで13日、ジグメ・ケサル・ナムゲル・ワンチュク国王(31)が、一般家庭出身のジェツン・ペマさん(21)と結婚式を挙げた。

式典は、僧院と行政庁舎を兼ねるゾン(城)の中で、伝統的な様式に従い厳かに行われた。夫妻は挙式後、市民数万人が集まる広場に移動し、伝統舞踊などを鑑賞しながら祝福を受けた。

ブータンは、前国王の主導で、国王親政から2008年に議会制民主主義に基づく立憲君主制に移行した。08年即位の現国王は気さくな人柄で人気が高く、「過渡期の国家で求心的な役割を演じている」(地元紙編集長)と評されている。

新王妃は、父が元国営航空パイロットで、インドと英国への留学経験がある。一般家庭出身の王妃誕生は、民主化進展を印象づける効果もありそうだ。

新王妃は、今年5月の結婚発表以来、国王の地方訪問などには度々同行しているが、11月には夫妻そろっての初の外遊となる、国賓としての訪日が予定されている。東日本大震災の被災地訪問も検討されている。
(2011年10月13日20時32分 読売新聞)

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