Thimpu, Nov 6 : United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her family members, who are close friends of Bhutan's royal family, today hogged all the limelight during King Jigmey Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk's coronation ceremony at Tashichho Dzong, the seat of power of Bhutan.
Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka and Robert Vadhera were accorded a rare honour, when they were made to stand along with the new king's mother and other Queens of fourth King Jigmi Singye Wangchuk in the front row as part of their family friends.
Bhutanese Foreign Secretary Yeshey Dorji described the occasion of the King's coronation as historic, and said that the Bhutanese people are overwhelmed by the presence of the Gandhi family and President Pratibha Patil on this auspicious occasion.
The fourth King, Jigmey Singhe Wangchuk, handed over the jewel studded raven crown to the fifth King, abdicating his powers in the holy throne room of the palace.
The formal coronation ceremony began with the traditional 'Marchhang' (ceremonial wine) being offered by the royal chamberlain Dasho Penjore, the Minister for Cultural Affairs Lyonpo Minjur Dorji.
Later, the new King proceeded to the Royal Chambers for the Supreme Golden Throne.
The ceremony was marked by impressive presentation of traditional colourful dance and cultural show.
Apart from dignitaries from India, over 30 diplomatic representatives including US Ambassador to India David Mulford were also present on the occasion.
A large contingent of media from across the globe was here to cover the coronation ceremony of Bhutan's youngest king. By Ravi Shankar