|Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck|
|Dragon King of the Kingdom of Bhutan|
|Reign||9 December 2006 – present|
|Coronation||6 November 2008|
|Predecessor||Jigme Singye Wangchuck|
|Heir apparent||Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck|
|Born||21 February 1980|
Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital, Kathmandu, Bagmati Zone, Kingdom of Nepal (present-day Bagmati Province, Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal)
|Father||Jigme Singye Wangchuck|
Magdalen College, Oxford
|Bhutanese royal family|
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (Dzongkha: འཇིགས་མེད་གེ་སར་རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་ཕྱུག་, Wylie: jigs med ge sar rnam rgyal dbang phyug; born 21 February 1980) is the Druk Gyalpo (Dzongkha: Dragon King), the monarch of the Kingdom of Bhutan. After his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated the throne, he became the monarch on 9 December 2006. A public coronation ceremony was held on 6 November 2008, a year that marked 100 years of monarchy in Bhutan.
Early life and education
Khesar was born 21 February 1980 at Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital in Kathmandu. He 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 Ashi Dechen Yangzom, and brother, Prince Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji, as well as four half-sisters and three half-brothers.
After completing his higher secondary studies at Yangchenphug High School, Khesar was educated in the United States at Phillips Academy in Andover and at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, where he finished high school. He then studied at Wheaton College in Massachusetts before completing the Diplomatic Studies Programme at Magdalen College, Oxford.
The Crown Prince, popularly known to the people of Bhutan as 'Dasho Khesar', accompanied his father on his many tours throughout the kingdom to meet and speak to the people. He also officially represented Bhutan on several international events. On 8 May 2002, he represented Bhutan at the 27th UN General Assembly and made his first speech to the United Nations, addressing issues related to the welfare of millions of children around the world. He attended Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th Anniversary Celebrations on 12–13 June 2006 in Bangkok along with royals from 25 countries.
On 31 October 2004, Khesar was installed as the 16th Trongsa Penlop 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.
Ascension to the throne
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. On 9 December 2006, the former king issued a Royal Edict announcing his abdication, and transferred the throne to Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who was officially crowned on 6 November 2008, in Punakha. Religious ceremonies and public celebrations were also held at Tashichho Dzong and Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu. The coronation ceremony comprised an ancient and colourful ritual, attended by few selected foreign friends of the royal family and dignitaries, including the then-President of India, Pratibha Patil.
To welcome Khesar as king of Bhutan, people painted street signs, hung festive banners and decorated traffic circles with fresh flowers. He received white, yellow, red, green, and blue silk scarves.
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 wedding was Bhutan's largest media event ever. The ceremony was held in Punakha, followed by formal visits to different parts of the country. During the ceremony the king also received the Phoenix Crown of the Druk Gyaltsuen (Dragon queen) from the most sacred Machhen temple of the Dzong and bestowed it on Jetsun Pema, formally proclaiming her queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan. The wedding was held in traditional style with the "blessings of the guardian deities".
The King and Queen announced the arrival of their son Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, who was born in Lingkana Palace in Thimphu, on 5 February 2016. Their second son was born in Lingkana Palace in Thimphu on 19 March 2020. On 30 June 2020, the Royal Family announced that the second Gyalsey had been named Jigme Ugyen Wangchuck. On 9 September 2023, the King announced that the Queen had given birth to their third child and only daughter at the Lingkana Palace.
The young king began his reign overseeing the democratisation of Bhutan by presiding over the last sessions of the parliament where electoral laws, land reform and other important issues were debated. He said that the responsibility of this generation of Bhutanese was to ensure the success of democracy. He traveled extensively to explain and discuss the Draft Constitution of Bhutan with the people and to encourage participation in the upcoming democratic exercises. He continues such visits, speaking mainly to young people on the need for Bhutanese to strive for higher standards in education, business, civil service, and the need for people of a small country to work harder than those of others.
On 17 February 2021, he signed the abolishment of anti-homosexuality laws into law, effectively decriminalising same-sex activity in the kingdom, after the repeal of such laws had been approved by both houses in 2020. Tashi Tsheten, of the LGBT organisation Queer Voices of Bhutan, welcomed the king's decision as a milestone and expressed gratitude to the king and every politician involved in making the decriminalisation possible. Additionally, Tea Braun of the organisation Human Dignity Trust said that Bhutan had made a "step forward" by legalising homosexual activity.
The king signed a new treaty of friendship with India in February 2007, replacing the treaty of 1949. Many government initiatives were undertaken by the new king with a view to strengthen the system in preparation for democratic changes in 2008. The Constitution of Bhutan was adopted on 18 July 2008 after legislation dictated that the National Council and the National Assembly was to be elected democratically.
The king's first landmark project after his formal coronation was launching the National Cadastral Resurvey in March 2009, aimed at resolving long-standing issues of excess land that affect every Bhutanese household. A variation of land reform focuses on improving the lives of people living in remote and difficult areas, with the Rehabilitation Project. The pilot Rehabilitation Project at Khinadang in Pemagatshel was initiated in June 2011, and inaugurated by Prince Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck on 28 October 2014. The Project resettled people living in less accessible areas to villages, and provided them with basic amenities and services, as well as support in agriculture. The project saw tremendous success, and similar projects are in the pipeline in other parts of Bhutan.
One of the most important and ongoing works of the king involves Kidu, a tradition based on the rule of a Dharma king whose sacred duty is to care for his people. The people can access Kidu in several ways: by applying to the Office of the Royal Chamberlain, which accepts applications during working hours; by sending applications through Dzongkhag Kidu Officers in every district, whose responsibility is to collect such applications as well as identify people who need help; and by appealing to the king directly. To give the people the opportunity for direct appeal, the king on his numerous road trips across the country stops for every potential appellant along the road.
There are several Kidu schemes designed to help certain groups of people, such as students unable to afford even the free education available in the country, elderly citizens, and those requiring medical treatment. The king has also continued the tradition of giving state land to landless farmers around the country. The ongoing project takes him to remote villages and communities. Kidu includes providing immediate assistance to victims of natural disasters. The king personally supervised the rebuilding efforts following major earthquakes and floods in 2009 and 2011.
In 2012, the king granted Nu.100 million from the Armed Forces to the Zhung Dratshang for the Dzong Reconstruction Fund, as on 24 June, the historic Wangduephodrang Dzong was destroyed by fire. As Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, he commanded the armed forces and De-Suups to the site immediately, and with help from dzongkhag officials and citizens, many things were saved from the fire.
DeSuung Training Programme
The king initiated military-style training for volunteers known as the DeSuung Training Programme, DeSuung meaning "Guardians of Peace", in 2011, on the request of the youth. The programme aims to equip volunteers with the skill to provide assistance during emergencies, and has been hugely successful, with more than 3000 volunteers having completed their training and volunteering for public events and emergencies. Graduates of the program are known as DeSuups and wear orange jumpsuits. They live by the DeSuung Honour Code, which is to "keep service to their nation before their own safety and comfort".
Gyalsuung National Service
In December 2019, during the 112th National Day, the king announced the initiation of a one-year national service for all eighteen-year-olds, starting in 2024. The training includes four months of military-style training and a nine-month educational course on agriculture, entrepreneurship, computers, coding, and health sciences. The first batch will start training in September 2024 for four months, and from second batch it will be a year-long training, with 4 months of military training.
The Constitution of Bhutan empowers the king to grant amnesty to prisoners. In 2014 he pardoned 45 prisoners who had been imprisoned for possessing an excessive amount of tobacco, following an amendment of the Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan 2010 by the Parliament of Bhutan, since the amended law could not be enforced retroactively, and previous offenders who would not be liable now would still be tried under previous laws. The Royal Pardon was granted to those who were not repeat offenders and had good prison records.
Public perception and popularity abroad
The "People's king", like his father, enjoys exceptionally warm relations with India. He has visited India on several occasions, and was invited as the Chief Guest for India's 64th Republic Day celebrations in 2013.
In November 2011, the King and Queen Jetsun Pema made a state visit to Japan; they were the first state guests to Japan since the 2011 earthquake. It was reported that the Japanese were fascinated by the king and queen of Bhutan.
The King and Queen were also present at the 2023 coronation of King Charles III.
|Ancestors of Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck|
- "Rspnbhutan". Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
- "I have emotional tie with Nepal as i was born in there; Bhutan King". Retrieved 5 June 2022.
- "A Legacy of Two Kings". Bhutan Department of Information Technology. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
- Das, Biswajyoti (18 December 2006). "Bhutan's new king committed to democracy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
- "I have emotional tie with Nepal as I was born in there : Bhutan King Jigme Khesar". www.southasiatime.com. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
- WANGCHUCK DYNASTY. 100 Years of Enlightened Monarchy in Bhutan. Lham Dorji
- "Genealogy". Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- Lawson, Alistair (4 November 2008). "Profile: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck". BBC News.
- "Crown Prince addresses the United Nations". Kuensel. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010.
- "Crown Prince in Thailand". Kuensel. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Crown Prince receives Red Scarf". Kuensel. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016.
- Wangchuk, Rinzin (17 December 2016). "The significance of observing National Day in Trongsa". Kuensel. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
- Wangdi, Dorji. "A Historical Background of the Chhoetse Penlop" (PDF). Centre for Bhutan Studies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2012.
- "Bhutan king announces abdication". BBC. 18 December 2005. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
- "Bhutanese king steps down early". BBC. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
- His Majesty, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Archived 2 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, bhutanakingdomofhappiness.com; Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- 'Prince charming' is now King of Bhutan (Profile, To go with: celebrations in Bhutan as new king is crowned – Lead) Archived 8 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, thaindian.com; accessed 21 April 2015.
- "Lavish coronation for Bhutan king". BBC. 6 November 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
- "Coronation fever in Bhutan as people's king bonds with subjects". 18 November 2008.
- "Himalayan nation of Bhutan crowns new king". CNN. 6 November 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
- "Bhutan has a new crown prince, PM Modi congratulates Royal couple". 6 February 2016.
- Vanity Fair
- "Royal wedding: Bhutan king weds Jetsun Pema". NDTV. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "Bhutan's 'Prince Charming' king marries student bride". The Daily Telegraph. UK. 12 October 2011. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. 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
- Plowright, Adam (20 May 2011). "Bhutan's 31-year-old king to marry". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Bhutan's Queen Jetsun Pema gives birth to crown prince". BBC. 6 February 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- "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 26 December 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "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 26 December 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "The king and queen of Bhutan announced the birth of their second child". North East Today. 19 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
- Canada, HELLO!. "Bhutan royals King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pemawelcome second baby boy". ca.hellomagazine.com. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
- "His Majesty King Jigme Khesar on Instagram: "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 26 December 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- Foussianes, Chloe (1 July 2020). "Bhutan's King and Queen Reveal the New Royal Baby's Name". Town & Country. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "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.
- "Last National Assembly session begins". Bhutan Observer. 19 January 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2008.[permanent dead link]
- "His Majesty to attend mock election in Dungkhar". Kuensel. 22 April 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
- "His Majesty speaks on Bhutan's future". kuenselonline.com. 11 April 2006. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
- "King's assent leads Himalayan nation of Bhutan to become latest country to decriminalise same-sex activity". Human Dignity Trust. 18 March 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
- "Bhutan and India sign new treaty". BBC News. 8 February 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
- "Border to be Sealed Ahead of Bhutan Polls". The Hindu News online. 27 December 2007. Archived from the original on 6 November 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- "Farmers Build Village Called Khinadang=Bhutan Observer". 8 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2 November 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
- "Rehab Village for Indigent Inaugurated=Kuensel". 29 October 2014. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
- "A Mobile Royal Court". Kuenselonline.com. 21 February 2014. Archived from the original on 4 November 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
- "Taking kidu to the people". Bhutan Times. 28 September 2008. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "His Majesty visits flood-affected areas". Kuenselonline.com. 30 May 2009.[permanent dead link]
- "His Majesty visits Narang". Kuenselonline.com. 22 October 2009.
- "Official Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
- "DeSuung: A Vision in Realization". Kuensel. 4 April 2020.
- "125 volunteers take part in the De-Suung training programme". BBS. Archived from the original on 11 May 2021. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
- "The historic new year gift- Gyalsung – our constitutional duty". Kuensel. 28 December 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
- Denkar, Tshering (19 December 2019). "Historical 112th National Day". Daily Bhutan. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
- "His Majesty grants pardon to 45 prisoners convicted under TCA". Retrieved 13 September 2014.
- "As China-India feud ebbs, tiny Bhutan reexamines its place in the world". The Washington Post. 28 August 2017. Archived from the original on 29 August 2017.
- "Republic Day: Bhutan King chief guest at 26th Jan parade". The Economic Times. 26 January 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
- "Bhutanese take up Thai language course". BBS. 2 June 2007. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "Bhutan royals' visit to Japan boosts interest in travel to their country". Japan Today. 22 November 2011.
- Denyer, Simon (5 November 2008). "Bhutan's charming king emerges from father's shadow". Reuters. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
- "Coronation fever in Bhutan as people's king bonds with subjects". Hello Magazine. 8 October 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "Bhutan Queen's Facebook post on national flag at half-mast on Sunday to mark Mr Lee Kuan Yew's funeral". The Straits Times. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
- "The 2nd Annual Report of the Honorable Prime Minister to the Fifth session of the First Parliament on the State of the Nation" (PDF). Government of Bhutan. 1 July 2010. p. 90. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 September 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
His Majesty King George Tupou V of Tonga [...] presented the insignia of the Order of Queen Salote III
- Official Facebook Page
- Bhutan's Royal Family
- More Royal Family Background
- Tim Fischer: Wise heads prevail in capital of happiness
- Bhutan 2008 Coronation of the Fifth King (Official Website)
- BBC, In pictures: Bhutan coronation
- Bhutan crowns a new King (gallery)
- Of Rainbows and Clouds: The Life of Yab Ugyen Dorji As Told to His Daughter