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November 7, 2008

Bhutan crowns a new King

The United States was not the only country to name a new leader this week. In Bhutan, an insular nation of about 600,000 people located high in the Himalayas, a new king was crowned. 28-year-old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, an Oxford-educated bachelor, was crowned as Bhutan's fifth king - now the world's youngest reigning monarch. Bhutan also has the distinction of being the world's youngest democracy - having held parliamentary elections last March for the first time ever. The young ruler vows to maintain a stance of protection against the worst aspects of globalization, maintaining the "Gross National Happiness", a measurement of national progress that places a high value on spiritual development. Gross National Happiness is a term invented by, and proudly embraced by Bhutanese since 1972. (22 photos total)

Bhutan's fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (right) crowns his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the fifth King of Bhutan, in the Throne room of the Tashichhodzong Palace during the coronation ceremony in Thimphu, Bhutan on November 6, 2008. With medieval tradition and Buddhist spirituality, a 28-year-old with an Oxford education assumed the Raven Crown of Bhutan on Thursday, to guide the world's newest democracy as it emerges into the modern world. (REUTERS/Royal Government of Bhutan/Handout)

His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck smiles during his coronation held at the ceremonial grounds of The Tendrey Thang on November 6, 2008 in Thimphu, Bhutan. The young Bhutanese king, aged 28, becomes the world's youngest reigning monarch. He was handed the Raven Crown by his father, the former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in an ornate ceremony. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

A man decorates the coronation ceremony venue of Bhutan's fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in Thimphu, Bhutan on November 6, 2008. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

Bhutan's 4th King and the new king's father Jigme Singye Wangchuck passes by a window while proceeding to the Throne Room during the coronation ceremony of the 5th King of Bhutan at the Tashichho Dzong, a massive 17th century white-walled fortress that serves both as administrative headquarters and a monastic center, in Thimpu, Bhutan, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) #

Traditionally attired Bhutanese dancers smile during the coronation ceremony of the 5th King of Bhutan at the Tashichho Dzong, a massive 17th century white-walled fortress that serves both as administrative headquarters and a monastic center, in Thimpu, Bhutan, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) #

A Bhutanese monk looks on at the monastery of Wangdue Phodrang, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) east of Thimpu, Bhutan, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008. Bhutan was then preparing for the coronation ceremony of Bhutan's fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, scheduled for Nov. 6th. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) #

Monks help with preparations during the coronation ceremony of Bhutan's fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in Thimphu November 6, 2008. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

Ceremonial dancers line up for the crowning ceremony of his Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 28, at the Dratshang Kuenra Tashichho Dzong on November 6, 2008 in Thimphu, Bhutan. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

Girls in traditional Bhutanese attire sit along with other local people as they line a street awaiting the arrival of Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, unseen,in Thimpu, Bhutan, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) #

An elderly Bhutanese woman watches His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 28, greeting his people at the ceremonial grounds of The Tendrey Thang on November 6, 2008 in Thimphu, Bhutan. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

Monks play ceremonial instruments during the coronation ceremony of Bhutan's fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in Thimphu, Bhutan on November 6, 2008. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

The Taktshang Monastery in Bhutan, also called the Tiger's Nest, is one of Bhutan's most important temples. (Craig Simons/Cox Newspapers) #

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck smells a flower at the courtyard of Tashichhodzong Palace during celebrations marking his coronation ceremony in Thimphu, Bhutan on November 6, 2008. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

A royal procession for his Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 28, parades to the Dratshang Kuenra Tashichho Dzong on November 6, 2008 in Thimphu, Bhutan. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

A Bhutanese woman in traditional attire smiles as she sits amongst the audience during ceremonies coinciding with the coronation of the 5th King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk at the Tendrel Thang ceremonial ground adjoining the Tashichho Dzong in Thimpu, Bhutan, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. The tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan crowned it's 5th king Thursday after a two-year wait for the precise moment deemed most auspicious for a successful reign by court astrologers. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) #

Bhutanese dancers perform a mask dance in the capital Thimphu October 11, 2008. Bhutan held its first ever parliamentary elections in March, to end a century of royal rule. (REUTERS/Sonam Wangdi) #

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck receives greetings from people in the throne room during his coronation ceremony inside Tashichhodzong Palace in Thimphu November 6, 2008. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

Traditionally attired Bhutanese dancers look on during a coronation ceremony at the Tashichho Dzong in Thimpu, Bhutan, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) #

His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck greets his people at the ceremonial grounds of The Tendrey Thang on November 6, 2008 in Thimphu, Bhutan. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #

A Bhutanese dancer performs a mask dance in the capital Thimphu October 11, 2008. Bhutan held its first ever parliamentary elections in March, to end a century of royal rule. (REUTERS/Sonam Wangdi) #

A monk adjusts his robe at the monastery of Wangdue Phodrang, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) east of Thimpu, Bhutan, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008. Bhutan was then preparing for the coronation ceremony of Bhutan's fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) #

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (C) offers gifts to people in the courtyard of Tashichhodzong Palace during celebrations marking his coronation ceremony in Thimphu November 6, 2008. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan) #

 
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