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Bachelor king of Bhutan to marry 20-year-old commoner

The 31-year-old king's wife-to-be is a foreign-educated, basketball-loving beauty
Bhutan king married 2011 05 20Enlarge
King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is engaged to a 20-year-old commoner. (RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The 31-year-old king of Bhutan is off the market.

"As king, it is now time for me to marry," he announced today, according to AFP.

And with that, the small, poor, Buddhist Himalayan kingdom learned its suave, raven-haired bachelor king would take a wife.

News reports identify the bride-to-be as Jetsun Pema, a 20-year-old student educated in London. Her interests, according to the palace, include fine art and basketball.

Her photo is posted here at Hello! Magazine's Web site. Confusion may confront anyone who Google Image searches Jetsun Pema's name and sees an elderly, robed woman staring back at them.

That's the Dalai Lama's sister and, though they share the same name, they are quite different in age and appearance.

Bhutan, a tiny nation home to fewer than 700,000 people, is famed for its "Gross National Happiness" index, which it prizes over the traditional GDP measure of wealth. According to the AFP, the country had no roads or currency until the 1960s and first allowed television only in the late 1990s.

The king has adopted a staunch anti-globalizaiton stance, vowing to protect Bhutan's culture from the corrupting influences seeping in from the outside world.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/bachelor-king-bhutan-marry-20-year-old-commoner