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PRINCE CHARMING
AuthorASSAVANO…    文章CopyFromBangkog Post    Hits802    UpdateTime2007-7-24    
Bhutan's visiting crown prince won hearts with grace, good manners

Story by ANJIRA ASSAVANONDA and ACHADTAYA CHUENNIRAN

He comes from a small, remote country in the Himalayas. His name is long and difficult to pronounce, not to mention remember. But HRH Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan, who is to return to his country this morning, has a place in the hearts of many Thais _ particularly women _ who shorten his name to ''Prince Wangchuck''.

The Crown Prince has become the talk of the town after appearing among the royal guests in the live television broadcasts of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King's accession to the throne.

His admirers say they like him because he is smart, good-looking, polite and gentle. And that's not all.

At the age of 26, the Crown Prince has completed his studies in the foreign service programme at Oxford University, in national defence at the National Defence College in India, and in innovations in governance at the Kennedy School of Governance in the US.

He now has an active role in numerous cultural, educational and economic organisations in Bhutan and is to take over his father's throne in the next two years.

On a three-day private visit to Phuket, the Crown Prince impressed everyone who was granted an audience with him.

Phuket governor Udomsak Asavarangkura, who was in charge of the royal visit, said he was impressed with the Crown Prince's cordiality to everyone.

''He told us to take things easy, so that his visit would not become a burden on us. He thanked everyone for the warm welcome. He told us this was his first time in Phuket. He admired the province's charm and beauty and said he would come back again,''said Mr Udomsak.

Supaporn Singhayakul, a local official from Surat Thani, went with her family and friends to send the Crown Prince off as he left Phuket yesterday evening.

She said she had collected photos of the Crown Prince from newspapers since the day he arrived in Thailand.

''We deeply admire him for his charming and amiable personality. Also, he has shown an interest in following His Majesty the King's sufficiency economy initiative, which has made us admire him more,''said Ms Supaporn.

Crown Prince fever has also gripped the popular www.pantip.com and other websites.

Many Pantip members praised the Crown Prince for his beautiful 'wai' gesture, which showed his humility despite his royal status. He gave a 'wai' back to those he met, no matter who they were.

One member of the web board, who used the name 'Mai Klai Fang', wrote: ''He has a very graceful manner, so humble, and he always gave a wai everywhere he went. Because of the prince, I believe that from now on the relationship between the Thai and Bhutanese people will be tightened.''

Many others said they were impressed to see the Crown Prince wearing a yellow polo shirt bearing the royal insignia, just like many Thai people, while visiting Phuket.

The admiration for the Crown Prince has led more people to search for information about the history and geography of Bhutan and its monarchs. The kingdom's policy of promoting 'Gross National Happiness', initiated by the King of Bhutan, is also admired by many.

It seems likely that Bhutan will attract more Thai tourists after the visit of the Crown Prince. Many have already added Bhutan to their list of favoured travel destinations after finding out more about the country.

The prince ranked highly on Pantip's list of search queries yesterday.

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