It’s a boy! Bhutan’s royal couple announce birth of baby prince

  • AFP, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 06, 2016 15:02 IST
File photo of Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pemaas . The tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan has a new crown prince. The Royal Media Office in capital Thimphu said Saturday that the baby boy was born on Friday. (AP)

Bhutan’s royal couple on Saturday announced the birth of their first child, a baby prince, delighting the remote Himalayan kingdom where the monarchy is revered.

The newest royal, the son of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema, was safely delivered at Lingkana Palace in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu on February 5, the royal media office said.

“Their majesties and members of the royal family are filled with profound joy on the birth of His Royal Highness,” it said in a statement.

“With the blessings of the guardian deities of Bhutan and protectors of the dharma (divine truth), and the prayers of the Bhutanese people, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness The Gyalsey (prince) are both in perfect health.”

The prince’s birth was marked by sacred Bhutanese traditions with the Je Khenpo, the chief abbot and spiritual leader of the majority Buddhist nation, presiding over religious ceremonies, the office said.

The baby’s name has yet to be announced.

Known as the “last Shangri-La” the South Asian kingdom, home to just 750,000 people, famously shuns conventional measures of economic wellbeing, instead compiling a Gross National Happiness index.

Britain’s own royals, Prince William and his wife Kate, are to visit Bhutan in the spring as part of an official trip that also includes India, British officials announced last month.

The hugely popular fifth Druk Gyalpo, or Dragon King, studied in Britain and the United States and was officially crowned king in 2008 after his father abdicated two years earlier.

He married Queen Pema in 2011 in an elaborate fairytale wedding ceremony that was the biggest media event in Bhutanese history.

Bhutan had no roads or currency until the 1960s, and only began admitting foreign tourists in 1974 -- but has since developed rapidly.

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