The Wangchucks Vs. the Windsors: Bhutan's Royal Wedding

The small country of Bhutan is experiencing its own royal wedding fever as its king prepares to marry Thursday.

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 31, the world's youngest reigning monarch, announced his engagement to Jetsun Perma, 21, a commoner, in May -- three weeks after the British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Thursday's ceremony will be held in Bhutan's 17th century Punakha Dzong and will be broadcast live for the country's 700,000 inhabitants. While there will be no heads of state or other royal families present, thousands of members of the public will attend.

According to The Associated Press, Bhutanese TV has been running a wedding countdown clock and showing footage of the royal couple. As was the case for William before he wed, the Bhutanese have been waiting patiently for the king to find a bride and settle down since his father retired his throne.

Here's a quick look at a few similarities shared by the Bhutanese and British royal couples:

The Couples

The Oct. 13 wedding of Bhutan's 31-year-old King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to 21-year-old Jetsun Pema is drawing comparisons to the April 29 wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The Venues

The Punakha Dzong, site of Bhutan's royal wedding, was constructed in 1638. Punakha served as Bhutan's capital for more than 300 years. The first king was crowned there in 1907. At right, London's Westminster Abbey was built in 1745 and was the site of Prince William's marriage to Middleton.

The Brides

Jetsun Pema, 21, and the future queen of Bhutan, is a commoner majoring in international relations at Regents College in London. Her father is a pilot for Bhutan's airline. At right, Catherine Middleton, the duchess of Cambridge. Middleton, 29, was also considered a commoner. Her parents worked as airline attendants before owning their company.

The Grooms

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 31, of Bhutan. At right, 29-year-old Prince William, duke of Cambridge. The Oxford-educated king has been lauded for pushing development and democratic change. His looks and reputation for being a laid-back leader also made him a sought-after bachelor.

The Mothers

Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck is one of four wives and queens of Bhutanese King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. King Jigme passed power to his son in 2006. Queen Mother Ashi founded Bhutan Nun's Foundation, a group aimed at empowering girls and women through education and economic self-sufficiency. At right, Princess Diana is photographed before her death in 1996. Diana was involved in more than 100 charities.

The Fathers

The current king's father, 55-year-old former King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, poses with his four wives. He stepped down from the throne in 2006 after 34 years of rule and handed over power to his son. At right, 62-year-old Prince Charles married his second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, in 2005. He is still waiting for his chance to be king.

The Grandmothers

The Queen Grandmother Kesang Choden Wangchuck was married to the country's third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. She became queen in October 1952, when her husband's father died. The queen reigned with her husband until his death in 1972. At right, Elizabeth became the queen nine months earlier in February 1952, with the death of her father.

The Brothers

Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck is the 27-year-old brother of the king and is next in line to the throne. He has an older sister as well as four half-brothers and four half-sisters. At right, Britain's Prince Harry, 27.

The Royal Balconies

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck stands on the balcony at the stadium in Thimphu, Bhutan, for his coronation in 2008. The king is pictured with his mother and her sisters. At right, the balcony at Buckingham Palace, where the British royal family makes public appearances.

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