Entries in Royal Wedding (74)


King Wangchuck of Bhutan Married in Elaborate Ceremony

PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images(PUNAKHA, Bhutan) -- The king of the tiny country of Bhutan got married Thursday in an elaborate ceremony in Punakha. 

Thousands of Bhutanese witnessed the marriage of King Jigme Khesar Wangchuck and his bride Jetsun Pema. At just 31 years old, Wangchuck is the youngest living king in the world.

Queen Pema, the 21-year-old daughter of an airline pilot, is now part of the Wangchuck dynasty, which has reigned over Bhutan for over a hundred years.

Bhutan is only about the size of Iowa, and has a population equivalent to El Paso, Texas. The country did not have paved roads or post offices until the 1960s, and it installed its first escalator just last month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Royal Wedding Fever Hits Bhutan

Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images(PARO, Bhutan) -- This small country famous for a government program to keep track of happiness is even happier this week as it prepares for the wedding of its popular king, the world's youngest reigning monarch.

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 31, will marry Jetsun Perma, 21, on Oct. 13 in Bhutan's 17th century Punakha Dzong. The ceremony will be broadcast live in a country where television and the Internet were not introduced until 1999.

This landlocked country between India and China, no larger than Vermont and New Hampshire combined, began opening its doors to the outside world when King Jigme's father ascended to the throne at just 17 years old.

Before the 1960s, Bhutan had no major roads and no national currency. Following the death of his father in 1972, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck began modernizing his country and introduced it to the concept of Gross National Happiness. Instead of judging the country's wealth on monetary factors, GHN takes into account people's happiness and well-being.

Bhutan's current King was crowned in 2008 after his father stepped aside to allow a transition to democracy. Many Bhutanese were shocked by the former King's decision, begging him not to leave the throne.

The current King Wangchuck has since become just as popular as his father. Known for his Elvis-style hair and love of basketball and mountain biking, Wangchuck was educated at Boston University and Oxford. His 21-year-old fiancée is a commoner and is currently studying at Regents College in London.

Bhutan's only airport, located in Paro, was built in 1978. Even today it only accepts flights from Druk Air -- Bhutan's national airline. The airline, which typically operates only a couple of arrivals per day, added 28 flights this month to accommodate outside guests traveling for the royal wedding.

While the ceremony takes place Oct.13, Bhutan will observe a national holiday until Oct. 15.

In Paro, an eastern Bhutanese man named Khitu stopped for a glass of Bhutanese whiskey at one of the town's many bars. The 71-year-old nomad says it took him one month to travel to Paro so that he could join in the public celebrations. On Bhutan's television network, the Bhutan Broadcasting Service, the government is airing announcements, asking people across Bhutan with vehicles to donate their services to help transport others to the ceremonies.

For tourists who have traveled to Bhutan, commemorative plates featuring the royal couple are for sale in Paro for 3,500 ngultrum, or $70 U.S. dollars. The souvenirs are too pricey for the average Bhutanese, considering the minimum monthly wage is 4,000 NU.

Tourism has become a major industry in Bhutan, where outsiders are charged a daily fee of $250 to visit. There are more than 220 registered tour operators in Bhutan, while there are only three dentists for a country with less than 700,000 people.

At a dress shop in Paro, weavers are busy threading material that will make "kiras," the elegant national dress for women. The silk outfits take months to finish and can cost as much as $3,000 U.S. dollars.

On the streets of Thimphu, the world's only capital city without a traffic light, workers are busy erecting large gates and banners for the public celebration.

In Punakha, where the actual ceremonies will take place, every hotel room is booked. Tents have been pitched outside the historic Dzong to accommodate the extra people.

No heads of state or other royal families have been invited, though thousands of members of the public will attend, hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Prince William Exposes Queen as Royal Wedding Planner

Lewis Whyld - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- It turns out England’s royal family really is just like any other family: when it comes to planning a wedding, everyone, including grandma, gets involved.

“I wanted to decide what to wear for the wedding,” Prince William told royal biographer Robert Hardman, referring to his April 29 nuptials to then-fiancée, Kate Middleton.

“I was given a categorical: ‘No, you’ll wear this!’ William said of the reaction from his grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who demanded that William wear the Irish Guards uniform the world would eventually see him don at the Buckingham Palace altar where he and Kate wed.

“So you don’t always get what you want, put it that way,” he says of the queen’s insistence.  “I knew perfectly well that it was for the best. That ‘no’ is a very good ‘no.’ So you just do as you’re told!”

The behind-the-scenes details of the royal wedding of the century were revealed by William to royal biographer Robert Hardman for his new book, Our Queen. The book, portions of which were excerpted in the UK’s Daily Mail, will be published Oct. 6 in the U.K. and in the U.S. in the spring.

Even as the Queen prepares to celebrate her diamond jubilee marking 60 years at the head of the British throne, William reveals that his grandmother, 85, has no intentions of cutting back on her royal duties.

“We do hint at taking some things off her, but she won’t have anything of it,” he says. “She’ll want to hand over knowing she’s done everything she possibly could to help, and that she’s got no regrets and no unfinished business.”

At least one possible regret for the queen is captured in Our Queen.  In 1954, Hardman writes, a royal videographer filmed the Queen chasing her husband, Prince Philip, out of their villa while throwing tennis shoes and a tennis racquet at him. While the story exists, the footage will never be seen. The cameraman who captured the action destroyed the film, and was rewarded by the royals with a sandwich and a beer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kate Middleton’s Wedding Dress on Display at Buckingham Palace

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Those shoes. Those diamonds. That dress.

The nuptials were months ago and the duke and duchess are already settling into married life, but there's no reason to forget Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding day.

Beginning Saturday, Buckingham Palace will host an exhibit with some of the most memorable ornaments from William and Kate's special day: the 3-foot-high wedding cake, the glittering Cartier tiara borrowed from the Queen and, of course, the gown that spurred a ripple of copycats and envious brides around the world.

"I think the thing that people will really see when they come here to view the dress is just how beautiful the detail is," said curator Caroline de Guitaut of the Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen design.

The satin-gazar and lace wedding dress was handmade at the Royal School of Needlework by staff, tutors, graduates, and students from around the world. As they applied yards-long lace appliqué to the dress, they washed their hands every half hour to ensure it stayed immaculate.

Although visitors might not get close enough to slip their feet into the bride's size 8 Alexander McQueen heels, it's still a treat for those who didn't get a coveted invite to the wedding.

The display runs until October as part of the palace's Royal Faberge exhibit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Monaco's Prince Albert to Wed Former South African Olympian

Tony Barson/WireImage(MONACO) -- All of Monaco is preparing for the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Albert and his fiancée, Charlene Wittstock.

The flags are flying, the harbor is crowded with yachts, and those who want to land their jets in nearby Nice must prove that they are invited guests at the multi-day affair later this week.

"I think it's a huge deal for Monaco," Catherine Ostler, a contributing editor to the Daily Mail, told ABC News. "They haven't had a wedding this big for 50 years, since Rainier married Grace Kelly."

The entire world was fixated on that fairytale wedding -- of Monaco's Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, an American movie star -- in 1956.  The union produced three children -- Prince Albert and his sisters, Princess Stephanie and Princess Caroline.

Wittstock competed in the 2000 Olympics for South Africa. The 33-year-old was born in Zimbabwe to working-class parents: her father, Michael, is a sales manager and her mother, Lynette, is a retired swim coach.

After the wedding, Wittstock will assume the title of Her Serene Highness, the Princess of Monaco.  Her future husband is 53 years old.

The event is already being compared to the recent royal wedding of Britain's Prince William and Catherine Middleton.  But those in the know say the three days of festivities planned at Monaco's royal palace will outshine the April 29 ceremony in Britain.

A concert by rock legends, the Eagles, will start the countdown on Thursday.

There will be a civil ceremony on Friday and a religious one on Saturday.  About 3,500 people have been invited, and a fireworks display is planned.

Rumors that Wittstock had thought to escape the marriage by escaping to South Africa were quickly extinguished by the palace.

Recent reports have said that she has been overwhelmed by the preparations, by her lack of friends in Monaco and by her failure to speak French, the official language of the tiny but wealthy European nation.

Of the rumors, a palace spokesperson told People magazine: "None of this is true, and we think it comes from utter jealousy."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Prince William Marks 29th Birthday Quietly

Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- So long to the carefree birthday celebrations of his youth and bachelor days. Just-married Prince William is marking the final birthday of his 20s on Tuesday at work.

William, a helicopter search and rescue pilot in the Royal Air Force, will remain on duty at a base in Anglesey, an island off the coast of Wales, and may even be pulling a 24-hour shift, palace officials confirmed.

"William has got to work on his birthday," Duncan Larcombe, royal correspondent for the UK's Daily Sun newspaper, told ABC's Good Morning America. The prince, he added, would have endured media and professional glare had he taken a birthday vacation.

"For an ordinary Royal Air Force pilot, it would be horrible if he was given the day off," he said.

A quiet day, away from the media spotlight may be just what the prince himself wanted for his 29th birthday, coming on the heels of what has been a whirlwind year for the royal.

"We see how William wants to start out," said Larcombe. "He will be a full-time, working royal."

The son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana was married to the former Kate Middleton at London's Westminster Abbey on April 29 in a fairy tale wedding that was watched by billions around the globe.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Royal Couple's Trip to US, Canada Will Mark Reinvention for Catherine

David Cheskin - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- From Westminster Abbey to a delayed honeymoon in Seychelles, to the grocery store, Duchess Catherine Middleton has been on the move since marrying Prince William at London's Westminster Abbey April 29.

Now, as the new royal and her groom prepare for their royal coming out -- a full-fledged tour to Canada and the United States later this month -- royal gazers are closely watching how the young couple will put their own stamp on centuries of royal tradition.

"This is our chance to really see the royal couple for first time since the wedding," ABC News royal correspondent Katie Nicholl said Tuesday on Good Morning America.

William and Catherine -- now formally the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge -- will embark June 30 on a nine-day, eight-city tour that will take them from Ottawa and Montreal through the Northwest Territories of Canada before making their way down to Los Angeles for a grand finale.

The overseas trip will mark their first as a married couple, and an opportunity for the newlyweds to showcase the new breed of monarchs that some are calling the "modern royals": going to college, having careers, and marrying for love.

"They'll be visiting the rodeo.  He'll fly a helicopter," Duncan Larcombe, ABC News contributor and royal correspondent for Great Britain's Sun newspaper, said of the couple's planned itinerary. "I think they'll have a few more surprises for us."

Even as they attempt to live the royal life on their own terms, William and Catherine will not escape the scrutiny to which the royal family is subjected.  And on this trip, that scrutiny will most heavily be focused on the new bride, and part two of her royal reinvention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Prince William, Catherine Depart for Royal Honeymoon

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince William and his wife, Catherine, have taken off for their honeymoon, according to St. James' Palace.

The news comes as no surprise since Prince William's car was spotted Monday near his Royal Air Force base along with a police vehicle piled high with luggage.

The big question remains: Where did he and Catherine go?

Rumors have been swirling around that the newlyweds may have gone to places like Jordan, the Caribbean or Australia.  But according to British media, the most speculated spot is a quiet, private island in the Seychelles, off the east African coast.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Where Will Prince William and Catherine Honeymoon?

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Now that all the pomp and pageantry is over, the world is dying to know where Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, will be honeymooning.

That location, for obvious reasons, is undisclosed.

For the time being, the couple will be staying at a rented cottage on an island off the coast of Wales in western Britain.  Then, it's off to who knows where.

Rumored destinations for the newlyweds, who were married in spectacular style last Friday before a world audience, are Kenya, Jordan, Australia or a Caribbean island.

In the meantime, Britain can get back to serious matters, such as whether the new groom's brother, Prince Harry, is courting Philippa "Pippa" Middletown, the younger sister of the bride.  The two served as best man and maid of honor at the royal wedding.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Where Will the Royal Couple Honeymoon?

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince William and Kate Middleton take their vows, the bells of London toll, and the royal wedding becomes a part of history -- but in the meantime one last mystery swirls: where will the newlyweds honeymoon?

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen not to depart for a honeymoon immediately. Instead, after spending the weekend privately in the United Kingdom, The Duke will return to work as a Search and Rescue pilot next week," said a St James's Palace spokesman in a statement released Saturday.

"The locations of both their private weekend before The Duke returns to work and their future honeymoon, which will be overseas, will not be disclosed in advance.

"The Couple have asked that their privacy be respected during the coming weekend and during their honeymoon."

The honeymoon speculation has included destinations all over the world, with many sources reporting that William and Kate will travel to Australia. Last month, when he visited there, William told the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, "I love scuba diving, I have always wanted to dive the barrier reef." He playfully told cheering locals, "I will have to come back; maybe we'll have a honeymoon in Cairns?"

The Mirror is also predicting that the royal couple will head down under after their wedding, with The Mirror naming Lizard Island, a national park on the Reef, as the most likely destination.

Some beach destination contenders include Mauritius and the Seychelles, businessman Richard Branson's private island in the British Virgin Islands and the private Caribbean island Mustique, where the late Princess Margaret had a house. It was also reported that Kate Middleton recently purchased two bikinis during a shopping trip on King's Road in London, further suggesting a honeymoon in the sun.

Others predict William will bring his bride back to Kenya, where he proposed and where he once said he hoped they would be able to return soon.

Wherever they end up, they only have two weeks to duck from paparazzi and enjoy their newlywed bliss. Prince William is only allowed two weeks' leave by the Royal Air Force until he has to be back at his base in Wales. His parents, Charles and Diana, had the fortune of a honeymoon that lasted more than two months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio