Who is Jetsun Pema?
Jetsun Pema is the queen consort of Bhutan, also known as Druk Gyaltsuen, which literally stands for dragon queen. Born in Thimphu, Bhutan, she comes from a respected and noble family. Her engagement with Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the current king of Bhutan, was announced when she was twenty years of age. Regarding Jetsun Pema, the king said that though everyone has their different idea of what a queen should be like, he personally believed that as an individual, the most important thing was that a queen should be to be a good human being. He also stated that because of her warm-hearted and kind nature, she would be of great service to the nation. Shortly the wedding took place between the current King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Jestun Pema, who became Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck. Although polygamy is allowed in Bhutan, the king has said that he wouldn’t marry again, and Pema would remain his only wife in future. Their first son was born after four years. He was named Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, and he is the heir to King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
Marriage & Rise to Fame
Jetsun Pema first gained attention in May 2011, when the king announced his engagement with her during the Parliament’s seventh season. He stated that it was time for him to marry, and he talked about the important qualities that he believed that were required in a queen. Then he stated that as Pema was a warm and kind-hearted person, the country would be very fortunate to have her as a queen.
The royal wedding between Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Jetsun Pema finally took place on 13th October 2011. It was held at the Punakha Dzong, the second largest dzong structure in the country, situated in Punakha. The wedding was performed in traditional Buddhist style, and included ‘blessings of the guardian deities’.
Notable guests included Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary of the Indian National Congress, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, former King of Bhutan, MK Narayanan, Governor of West Bengal, a state in India, and Jyoti Madhavrao Scindia, Indian Minister of Industry and Commerce. Several Dutch delegates were also present, who presented the couple with tulips, on behalf of the Netherlands. After the initial ceremony in Punakha, public ceremonies were held in Thimphu as well as Paro.
After her marriage, Pema accompanied the king on several visits abroad to countries, such as India, Japan, Singapore, and the UK.
Pema, an advocate for environmental issues, is the Patron of the Royal Society of Protection of Nature. She is also the Patron of the Bhutan Kidney Association and the Bhutan Kidney Foundation. Since 2016, she has also been serving as the President of the Bhutan Red Cross Society. Because of her vibrant traditional clothing, she is often considered a fashion icon as well.
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Queen Jetsun Pema was born in Thimphu, Bhutan, on 4th June 1990 to Dhondup Gyaltshen and Aum Sonam Choki. Pema is the second oldest of five children. She did her schooling from various places such as the Changangkha Lower Secondary School in Thimpu, Bhutan, St. Joseph’s Convent in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India, and The Lawrence School in Himachal Pradesh, India. Later, she enrolled at Regent’s College in London to pursue her higher studies. She is not only fluent in Dzongkha, the National Language of Bhutan, but also in Hindi and English.
Her first child, the heir to King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was born on 5th February 2016. He was named Jimge Nimgyel Wangchuck.