Two days after their fairy tale wedding, King Jigme Khesar Nagyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema were on Saturday accorded a ceremonial reception by the Royal Bhutan Army on their first visit post-marriage to the seat of government here, an event where Rahul Gandhi was the only guest.
As the dawn broke in the tiny Himalayan kingdom, the newly-wed walked hand-in-hand to the TashichhoDzong, the office of the King, along with a ceremonial procession of over 100 people including traditional artistes and red-robe monks.
Upon their arrival at the Dzong, the Royal couple were received by the King’s father Jigme Singye Wangchuck and chief monk of the country Je Khenpo. The ‘Grand National Flag’ was unfurled and the Guard of Honour presented.
As thy ascended to the dais, around 50 soldiers of the Royal Bhutan Army marched and accorded Guard of Honour and presented the national flag to the Royal couple, who touched it with their both hands.
The ceremony, as part of the Royal traditions, was strictly a family and government affair except for the participation of Mr. Gandhi, the Congress MP from Amethi, whose family shares a close relationship with the Bhutan Royal s.
The importance that the Royal family attached to the Nehru-Gandhi clan was evident from the fact that Mr. Gandhi was accompanied to the huge monastic fortress by none other than the present King’s father.
Mr. Gandhi’s father, Rajiv Gandhi, was a close friend of the present Bhutan King’s father.
Clad in his trademark white kurta with a black jacket, the 41-year-old Congress leader welcomed the King and the Queen with a ‘namaste’ and even bowed for a while along with the members of the Royal family as a mark of respect to the couple.
After the brief ceremony, the couple were escorted to the Royal Chambers where the King ascended the Golden Throne and wore the Raven Crown followed by a series of prayers led by monks.
Throughout the nearly 30-minute ceremony, the young Nehru-Gandhi scion stood along with the members of the Royal family and was seen chatting with them for almost 20 minutes as they waited for the couple to arrive.
Members of the Royal family introduced Mr. Gandhi to senior government functionaries and others.