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Spike in Bhutan's happiness index

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King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (left) and the future Queen, Jetsun Pema.— Photo: AFP/HIS MAJESTY'S SECRETARIAT/GELAY JAMTSHO
King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (left) and the future Queen, Jetsun Pema.— Photo: AFP/HIS MAJESTY'S SECRETARIAT/GELAY JAMTSHO

The 31-year-old king of Bhutan, an Oxford-educated bachelor crowned in the remote Himalayan country in 2008, set up another royal wedding on Friday by announcing his engagement.

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who helped usher in democracy in the Buddhist nation, revealed his intention to marry 20-year-old student Jetsun Pema during an address to Parliament.

“As king, it is now time for me to marry. After much thought I have decided that the wedding shall be later this year,” he announced, according to a copy of the speech sent to AFP.

“While she is young, she is warm and kind in heart and character,” he said of the future queen.

The wedding was scheduled for October.

Educated in India and Britain, where she attended Regents College in central London, Pema likes fine arts, painting and basketball, according to an official biography.

Bhutan is famed for the invention of Gross National Happiness, which is used to measure the progress and well-being of its citizens instead of Gross Domestic Product other countries use to measure wealth.

King Wangchuck, who can take multiple wives under the Bhutanese legal system, is widely revered by his subjects. — AFP

While she is young, she is warm and kind in heart and character, king says of his bride.


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