His Majesty and Jetsun Pema
(Photos from His Majesty's Facebook page)
His Majesty the King announced to the nation at the opening of the 7th session of parliament today that he will marry in October this year. “As King, it is time for me to marry. After much thought I have decided that the wedding shall be later this year,” His Majesty announced.
Before revealing the name of the future Queen of Bhutan, His Majesty 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.” What is most important for Queen, His Majesty said, 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,” His Majesty announced. “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.”
Jetsun Pema, the future Queen of Bhutan, was born in Thimphu on June 4, 1990. She received her education from Regents College in London, the UK; the Lawrence School, Sanawar, in Himachal Pradesh and St. Joseph’s Convent in Kalimpong, India; and Changangkha Lower Secondary School and Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School in Thimphu, Bhutan.
Jetsun Pema’s father, Dhondup Gyaltshen, is the grandson of Trashigang Dzongpon Dopola. Her mother, Sonam Chuki, comes from the family of Bumthang Pangtey. Jetsun Pema has two brothers and two sisters. She is the second eldest.
His Majesty said that his wedding with Jetsun Pema did not mean that he was starting his own family. “From the very day I received the Dhar Ngay-Nga [five-coloured scarves] from the sacred Machhen, the people of the 20 Dzongkhags became my family,” His Majesty said, adding that such is the duty and privilege of all Kings of Bhutan.
“It is through this union that I shall have a Queen who will support, and work with me, as I serve the People and Country,” His Majesty said.
His Majesty announced that the wedding will be in accordance with age-old tradition, to seek the blessings of the guardian deities. He, however, said, “I ask the government not to make any plans for a grand celebration. The happiness of my beloved father and the blessings of our People will give me the greatest joy and happiness.”
In recent times, Jetsun Pema has begun to accompany His Majesty on royal tours around the country.
In the parliament hall, Prime Minister Jigmi Y Thinley and the members of parliament expressed their happiness on the announcement of the royal wedding and highlighted the pivotal role of the Throne in Bhutanese nationhood. They offered good wishes to the future queen of Bhutan.
Outside the parliament hall, a wave of excitement and joy swept across the country as the people of 20 dzongkhags watched His Majesty announce his wedding on live television. The feeling of joy at the news is palpable on every face.
Even as His Majesty announced the wedding, people across the kingdom shared the news real-time on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Some excitedly text-messaged the news to their friends and relatives living in remote pockets of the country where television and internet have not yet reached.
In the capital, the news of royal wedding is a talking point wherever – in the offices, on the streets, in hotels, bars and restaurants.