Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

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Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (edit).jpg
King of Bhutan
Reign 9 December 2006 – present
Coronation 1 November 2008
Predecessor Jigme Singye Wangchuck
Heir presumptive Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck
Prime Ministers
Spouse Jetsun Pema (2011–present)
House House of Wangchuck
Father Jigme Singye Wangchuck
Mother Tshering Yangdon
Born (1980-02-21) 21 February 1980 (age 34)
Dechencholing Palace, Bhutan
Religion Buddhism

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (Dzongkha: འཇིགས་མེད་གེ་སར་རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་ཕྱུག་,[1] born 21 February 1980) is the son of Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the 5th and current reigning Druk Gyalpo or "Dragon King" of the Kingdom of Bhutan.[2] He became King on 9 December 2006. A public coronation ceremony was held on 1 November 2008, an auspicious year that marked 100 years of monarchy in Bhutan.[3] His birthday is a Bhutanese national holiday. As king, he has the power to pardon prisoners,[4] although he usually only pardons those who have committed light crimes.

Early life[edit]

Khesar (pronounced Gesar) is the eldest son of the fourth Dragon King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and his third wife, Queen (Ashi) Tshering Yangdon. He has a younger sister, Princess Dechen Yangzom, and brother, Prince Jigme Dorji, as well as four half-sisters and three half-brothers.[5] After completing his higher secondary studies at Yangchenphug High School, Bhutan, Khesar studied abroad at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Cushing Academy and Wheaton College in Massachusetts, United States, before graduating from Magdalen College, University of Oxford, where he completed the Foreign Service Programme and International Relations.[6] He also attended a year-long leadership development course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie, India, the training academy for the Indian civil service.

Crown prince[edit]

The Crown Prince, popularly known to the people of Bhutan as 'Dasho Khesar', accompanied his father in his many tours throughout the Kingdom to meet and speak to the people. He also officially represented Bhutan on several international events. On May 8, 2002, he represented Bhutan at the 27th UN General Assembly and made his first speech to the United Nations where he addressed issues related to the welfare of millions of children around the globe to world leaders.[7] He attended Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th Anniversary Celebrations on 12–13 June 2006 in Bangkok along with royals from 25 countries.[7] The youngest of the visiting royals, the 26-year-old prince caused a sensation, giving rise to a legion of female fans in Thailand. The Thai press dubbed him "Prince Charming," publishing his photograph and running stories about him as well as Bhutan for several weeks after he had left Thailand.

Trongsa Penlop[edit]

On October 31, 2004, Khesar was installed as the Trongsa Penlop [7] in Trongsa Dzong". The institution of the Trongsa Penlop, started by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1647, signifies the true heritage to the Bhutanese Throne and the investiture ceremony of the Trongsa Penlop is the formal declaration of this status of the Crown Prince.[8]

Accession to the throne[edit]

In December 2005, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced his intention to abdicate in his son's favour in 2008, and that he would begin handing over responsibility to him immediately.[9] On 9 December 2006, the former King issued a Royal Edict announcing his abdication, and transferred the throne to Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck[10] who was officially crowned on 1 November 2008,[11][12] in Punakha. Religious ceremonies and public celebrations were also held at Tashichhodzong and Changlimithang in Thimphu. The coronation ceremony comprised an ancient and colourful ritual, attended by thousands of foreign dignitaries, including the then President of India, Pratibha Patil.[13][14]

During his coronation he gave the following speech: "Throughout my reign I will never rule you as a King. I will protect you as a parent, care for you as a brother and serve you as a son. I shall give you everything and keep nothing; I shall live such a life as a good human being that you may find it worthy to serve as an example for your children; I have no personal goals other than to fulfill your hopes and aspirations. I shall always serve you, day and night, in the spirit of kindness, justice and equality."

CNN reported that, in order to welcome Khesar as King of Bhutan, people painted the street signs, hung festive banners and decorated traffic circles with fresh flowers.[15]

Engagement and royal wedding[edit]

As he opened the session of parliament on Friday, 20 May 2011, the King announced his engagement to Jetsun Pema, born in Thimphu on 4 June 1990. They were married on 13 October 2011 in Punakha Dzong. The royal wedding was Bhutan's largest media event in history. The royal wedding ceremony was held in Punakha followed by formal visits to different parts of the country. During the ceremony the King also received the Crown of the Druk Gyal-tsuen (Queen) from the most sacred Machhen temple of the Dzong and bestowed it on Jetsun Pema, thereby formally proclaiming her the Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan. The wedding was held in traditional style with the "blessings of the guardian deities".[16][17][18]

Accomplishments as King[edit]

The young king began his reign overseeing the democratization of his country by presiding over the last sessions of the parliament where electoral laws, land reform and other important issues were deliberated.[19] He stated that the responsibility of this generation of Bhutanese was to ensure the success of democracy. He also travelled extensively around the country to encourage participation in the upcoming democratic exercises, speaking mainly to the youth of Bhutan on the need for Bhutanese to strive for greater standards in education, business, civil service and the need for people of a small country to work harder than those of others.[20][21] He also grants scholarships to students from different parts of the country. The recipients of His Majesty’s Scholarship Kidu go to various colleges and schools in Bhutan, India, Thailand, The Philippines, Singapore, Japan and Europe. Several scholarships, like the Trongsa Penlop Scholarship, have been offered by universities abroad to His Majesty as a gesture of goodwill, and appreciation of, His Majesty The King. [22]

He signed a new treaty of friendship with India in February 2007, replacing the treaty of 1949.[23] Many government initiatives were undertaken by the new King with a view to strengthening the system in preparation for the democratic changes in 2008. The Constitution of Bhutan was adopted on 18 July 2008, by the first elected parliament.

King Jigme Khesar's first landmark project after his formal coronation was the launching of the National Cadastral Resurvey in March 2009. The programme is aimed at resolving long-standing land issues of excess land that affects every Bhutanese household.[24] The King has also been giving land to landless farmers around the country. The on-going project takes the King to remote villages and communities.[25] He personally supervised the rebuilding efforts following major earthquakes and floods in 2009.[26][27]

In 2012, Nu.100 million from the Armed Forces was granted by the king to the Zhung Dratshang for the Dzong Reconstruction Fund, as on the 24th of June, the historic Wangduephodrang Dzong was destroyed by fire. Thankfully, through the efforts of the armed forces, dzongkhag officials, De-suups and concerned citizens many things were saved from the fire. [28] Furthermore, the dzong was being renovated at the time, and some especially important objects were already off-site. [29]

In 2014, he pardoned 45 prisoners who had been imprisoned for possessing an excessive amount of tobacco. The Royal Pardon was granted to those who were not repeat offenders and who had good prison records.[30] The prisoners still had to pay a fine as the tobacco law had changed.

Public perception and popularity abroad[edit]

Portrait of HM Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

Following his 2006 visit to Thailand as Crown Prince, the King has been immensely popular in Thailand. The number of Thai tourists visiting Bhutan has increased steadily since the visit.[31] In November 2011, the King with Queen Jetsun made a state visit to Japan; they were the first state guests to Japan since the 2011 earthquake. The Royal Visit had a similar effect, with reports that the Japanese were infatuated with the King and country.[32] The young monarch has been frequently described by international media as 'charming' and 'handsome'.[33] He is known for his personal touch with his people, and often referred to as the 'People's King'.[34]


Monarchical styles of
King of Bhutan
Emblem of Bhutan.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Druk Gyalpo
  • 1980–2004: His Royal Highness Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck
  • 2004–2006: His Royal Highness Chhoetse Penlop Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck
  • 2006–present:


National orders[edit]

Foreign orders[edit]


  • Honorary Degree of the Doctor in Laws, University of New Brunswick, Canada, October 2005 [37]
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Rangsit University, Thailand [38]
  • Honorary Degree of the Doctor in Laws, University of Calcutta, India, October 2010 [39]
  • Honorary Degree of the Doctor in Economics, Keio University, Japan
  • Honorary Royal Bencher, Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, UK
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree in Public Health, Naresuan University, Thailand
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree in Environment and Natural Resources, Rajamangala University of Technology, Thailand
  • Honorary Doctorate in Arts in the Public and Private Management, Christian University, Thailand


  • Patron, Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Patron, India Bhutan Foundation
  • Patron, Bhutan Scouts Association
  • Patron, European Convention of Bhutan Societies
  • Patron, Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies
  • President, Bhutan India Friendship Association


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Legacy of Two Kings". Bhutan Department of Information Technology. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  2. ^ Das, Biswajyoti (18 December 2006). "Bhutan's new king committed to democracy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  3. ^ Royal Ark
  4. ^ "His Majesty grants pardon to 45 prisoners convicted under TCA". Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Lawson, Alistair (4 November 2008). "Profile: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck". BBC News. 
  6. ^ "His Royal Highness Crown Prince Dasho Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck". RAOnline. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c "Crown Prince addresses the United Nations". Kuensel. 
  8. ^ Wangdi, Dorji. "A Historical Background of the Chhoetse Penlop". Centre for Bhutan Studies. 
  9. ^ "Bhutan king announces abdication". BBC. 18 December 2005. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  10. ^ "Bhutanese king steps down early". BBC. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 8 November 2008. 
  11. ^ His Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
  12. ^ ‘Prince charming’ is now king of Bhutan (Profile, To go with: celebrations in Bhutan as new king is crowned – Lead)
  13. ^ "Lavish coronation for Bhutan king". BBC. 6 November 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  14. ^ "Coronation fever in Bhutan as people's king bonds with subjects". 208-11-10.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. ^ "Himalayan nation of Bhutan crowns new king". CNN. 6 November 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2008. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Royal wedding: Bhutan king weds Jetsun Pema". NDTV. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Bhutan's 'Prince Charming' king marries student bride". The Daily Telegraph (UK). 12 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011. "Bhutan's 31-year-old king has married a student 10 years his junior in an isolated valley high in the Himalayas where thousands of nomads and villagers gathered to celebrate" 
  18. ^ Plowright, Adam (20 May 2011). "Bhutan's 31-year-old king to marry". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "Last National Assembly session begins". Bhutan Observer. 19 January 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  20. ^ "His Majesty to attend mock election in Dungkhar". Kuensel. 22 April 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  21. ^ "His Majesty speaks on Bhutan’s future". Kuensel. 11 April 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  22. ^ "Official Facebook". Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  23. ^ "Bhutan and India sign new treaty". BBC. 8 February 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  24. ^ "A promise is kept". Kuensel. 14 March 2009. 
  25. ^ "Taking kidu to the people". Bhutan Times. 28 September 2008. 
  26. ^ "His Majesty visits flood-affected areas.". Kuensel. 30 May 2009. 
  27. ^ "His Majesty visits Narang". Kuensel. 22 October 2009. 
  28. ^ "Official Facebook". Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  29. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wangdue_Phodrang#History
  30. ^ "His Majesty grants pardon to 45 prisoners convicted under TCA". Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  31. ^ "Bhutanese take up Thai language course". BBS. 2 June 2007. 
  32. ^ "Bhutan royals' visit to Japan boosts interest in travel to their country". Japan Today. 22 November 2011. 
  33. ^ Denyer, Simon (5 November 2008). "Bhutan's charming king emerges from father's shadow". Reuters. Retrieved 6 November 2008. 
  34. ^ "Coronation fever in Bhutan as people's king bonds with subjects". Hello Magazine. 8 October 2011. 
  35. ^ a b c d e Royal Ark, Bhutanese Orders
  36. ^ Royal Ark, Bhutanese genealogy details - p.4
  37. ^ "Crown Prince conferred honorary doctorate". Kuensel. 26 November 2006. 
  38. ^ "An Honorary Doctorate for the Trongsa Penlop". Kuensel. 22 October 2005. 
  39. ^ Ananya Dutta (October 6, 2010). "Bhutan King calls for ‘new kind of individualism'". The Hindu. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Born: 21 February 1980
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Jigme Singye Wangchuck
King of Bhutan
Heir presumptive:
Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck