Jetsun Pema

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Jetsun Pema
Dragon Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan
Jetsun Pema in 2023
Druk Gyaltsuen
Tenure13 October 2011 – present
Coronation13 October 2011
Born (1990-06-04) 4 June 1990 (age 33)
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Thimphu, Bhutan
(m. 2011)
Jetsun Pema Wangchuck[fn 1]
HouseWangchuck (by marriage)
FatherDhondup Gyaltshen
MotherSonam Choki
ReligionDrukpa Kagyu

Jetsun Pema (Dzongkha: རྗེ་བཙུན་པདྨ་; Wylie: rje btsun padma, born on 4 June 1990) is the Druk Gyaltsuen (Dzongkha: Dragon Queen) of Bhutan, as the wife of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. She is currently the youngest queen consort in the world. She and the King have three children: Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, the heir apparent to the Bhutanese throne, Jigme Ugyen Wangchuck, and a daughter (born 2023).

Early life and education[edit]

Jetsun Pema was born at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu on 4 June 1990.[citation needed] Her father, Dhondup Gyaltshen, is the grandson of two Trashigang Dzongpons, Thinley Topgay and Ugyen Tshering (governors of Trashigang). Her mother, Aum Sonam Choki, comes from the family of Bumthang Pangtey, one of Bhutan's oldest noble families.[1][2] Sonam Choki's father was a half-brother of two queens consort of Bhutan, Phuntsho Choden (great-grandmother of the present king) and her sister Pema Dechen.

Her ancestor is also the 48th Druk Desi and 10th Penlop of Trongsa Jigme Namgyal (father of King Ugyen Wangchuck and of her great-great-grandmother, Ashi Yeshay Choden). The King and Queen of Bhutan are distant cousins.

Jetsun Pema is the second of five children. Her siblings are two brothers, Jigme Namgyel and Dasho Thinley Norbu (the eldest, who is the husband of the king's half-sister, Princess Ashi Euphelma Choden Wangchuck), and two sisters, Serchen Doma and Ashi Yeatso Lhamo (the eldest, who is married to the king's brother, Prince Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck).[3][4][5]

Jetsun Pema's early education took place in Thimphu at the Little Dragon School, the Sunshine School (1995–96) and finally the Changangkha Lower Secondary School (1997–98). She then received a convent education at St. Joseph's Convent in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India, in 1999–2000. She pursued her secondary education at the Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School in Thimphu from 2001 to 2005 and moved to The Lawrence School, Sanawar, in Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India, in April 2006.[6] She joined Lawrence as a Class-XI student and studied English, history, geography, economics, and painting. She completed her Higher Secondary education on 31 March 2008.[7] She then began her tertiary education at Regent's University London,[8] where she graduated with a degree in international relations, with psychology and art history as minor subjects.[3]

Marriage and family[edit]

Royal wedding[edit]

On 20 May 2011, during the opening of the Parliament's seventh session, the king announced their engagement, saying

"As King, it is now time for me to marry. After much thought I have decided that the wedding shall be later this year."[9]

Describing Jetsun Pema, he said

"Now, many will have their own idea of what a Queen should be like—that she should be uniquely beautiful, intelligent and graceful. I think with experience and time, one can grow into a dynamic person in any walk of life with the right effort. For the Queen, what is most important is that at all times, as an individual she must be a good human being, and as Queen, she must be unwavering in her commitment to serve the People and Country. As my queen, I have found such a person and her name is Jetsun Pema. While she is young, she is warm and kind in heart and character. These qualities together with the wisdom that will come with age and experience will make her a great servant to the nation."[9]

The couple married on 13 October 2011, at Punakha Dzong. The ceremony was held in Punakha, followed by a public celebration in Thimphu[10] and Paro.[11] During the ceremony, the King bestowed the Crown of the Druk Gyaltsuen on her, formally proclaiming her the Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan.[12]

The wedding was held in traditional style with the "blessings of the guardian deities." Although Bhutan allows polygamy, the king said that he would never marry another woman.[13] For their wedding, the Netherlands sent the royal couple tulips and named one "Queen of Bhutan" after her.[14]


The Druk Gyalsey with the King and Queen meeting Narendra Modi in New Delhi

Jetsun Pema gave birth to her first child on 5 February 2016 at the Lingkana Palace. The King was present for the birth of the prince, known by the title Gyalsey.[15] The baby's name, Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, was announced on 16 April 2016.[16] On 19 March 2020, the King and Queen's official Instagram accounts reported that she had given birth to her second son in Lingkana Palace in Thimphu.[17][18] On 30 June 2020, the Royal Family announced that the second Gyalsey had been named Jigme Ugyen Wangchuck.[19][20] On 9 September 2023, the King announced that the Queen had delivered their third child and only daughter at the Lingkana Palace.[21]

Royal duties[edit]

The King and Queen being received by the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi in 2013.

Following her marriage to the King, Jetsun Pema has joined him on several visits abroad to India,[22] Singapore,[23] Japan[24] and the United Kingdom.[25]

Jetsun Pema accompanied Jigme Khesar on several of his royal visits to various parts of Bhutan before their wedding, and as Queen of Bhutan, accompanies him on all such visits. The royal visits on road through the country involve meeting and interacting with as many local people, students and public servants as possible.[26]

Jetsun Pema is an advocate of environmental issues, and the Patron of the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN). She is also the UNEP Ozone Ambassador. She works closely with various organisations working with children with special needs as the patron of Ability Bhutan Society. She is the Patron of the Bhutan Kidney Association (Jigten Wangchuck Tshogpa) and the Bhutan Kidney Foundation.[27] Since 2016 she has been the President of the Bhutan Red Cross Society (BRCS).

Personal interests[edit]

The Queen with former Princess Mako of Japan at the inauguration of the 3rd Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition in 2017

The Queen's interests include fine arts, painting, and basketball.[28] She captained her school team in basketball games and maintains an interest in the sport.[3] Her other diversions during her school days included participation in school bands and dance programs. Besides Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan, she is fluent in English and Hindi.[5]


  1. ^ India Today
  2. ^ Bhutan Times, Lhakpa Tshering, 4 June 2017, 'Nation celebrates Gyaltsuen's birthday'
  3. ^ a b c "Know the royal bride". Businessbhutan. Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  4. ^ "Bhutan's King Is Set to Marry – Royal Wedding". Empowered News. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Himachal-educated girl to marry Bhutan king". MSN News. Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  6. ^ Anand Bodh, Bhutan king to wed Sanawar girl dated 22 May 2011, from Times of India at, accessed 14 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Lawrence School, Sanawar in celebration mode". The Times of India. 13 October 2011. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Bhutan king to wed Sanawar girl". The Times of India. 22 May 2011. Archived from the original on 23 December 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Facebook". King's official Facebook page. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  10. ^ "BBT". BBS page. 20 October 2011. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  11. ^ "BBT". BBS page. 20 October 2011. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Proclamation of Queen Jetsun Pema". BBS. 13 October 2011. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Royal Wedding in October". Bhutan Observer. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  14. ^ "Bhutan News" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Our happiness knows no bounds, as we announce the Royal Birth of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey on 5th February 2016". Facebook. 5 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  16. ^ "HRH The Gyalsey to be named on Zhabdrung Kuchoe". Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Her Majesty Queen Jetsun Pema on Instagram: "❀ Announcement ❀ We are honoured to announce the birth of the second Royal Child of Their Majesties The King and Queen, a Prince, on the…"". Instagram. 19 March 2020. Archived from the original on 24 December 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  18. ^ "His Majesty King Jigme Khesar on Instagram: "❀ Announcement ❀ We are honoured to announce the birth of the second Royal Child of Their Majesties The King and Queen, a Prince, on the…"". Instagram. 19 March 2020. Archived from the original on 24 December 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Her Majesty Queen Jetsun Pema's Instagram profile post: "On the auspicious occasion of the Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche (Trelda Tsechu), His Royal Highness the Second Gyalsey to His Majesty…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on 24 December 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  20. ^ Foussianes, Chloe (1 July 2020). "Bhutan's King and Queen Reveal the New Royal Baby's Name". Town & Country. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  21. ^ "His Majesty King Jigme Khesar on Instagram: "Announcement 9th September 2023: We are honoured to share the wonderful news that a healthy baby girl has been born to Their Majesties…"". Instagram. Retrieved 9 September 2023.
  22. ^ "Bhutan's royal couple in India on nine-day visit". Zee News. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  23. ^ "Bhutan's royal couple in S'pore for private visit". Asia One. 1 November 2011. Archived from the original on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  24. ^ "New style icon of the Orient Queen Jetsun Pema makes Bhutan proud on Japan visit". Hello Magazine. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  25. ^ "Queen Jetsun debuts chic sense of style on UK trip". Hello Magazine. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  26. ^ "Kuenselonline". Kuensel. Archived from the original on 4 November 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  27. ^ "Meet the world's youngest queen, 27-year-old Jetsun Pema of Bhutan". Business Insider Australia.
  28. ^ "Spike in Bhutan's happiness index". The Hindu. India. Retrieved 27 May 2011.


  1. ^ Women in Bhutan retain their names upon marriage.

External links[edit]

Jetsun Pema
Born: 4 June 1990
Bhutanese royalty
Preceded by Queen consort of Bhutan