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The Queen of Bhutan

The Queen of Bhutan

Jetsun Pema is the queen consort (Druk Gyaltsuen, literally meaning Dragon Queen) of Bhutan, as the wife of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

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 the Queen of Bhutan are distant cousins.

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, from 1999–2000. She then began her tertiary education by enrolling at Regent's College in London, where she graduated international relations with psychology and art history as minor subjects.

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."

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."

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

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, and that Jetsun Pema will be his only wife in the future. For their wedding, the Netherlands sent the royal couple tulips and named one "Queen of Bhutan" after her.

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