At the age of 7, little Jetsun Pema encountered young Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck at a picnic. The young lady was so intrigued by the fine young man that she asked him to marry her. Unbeknown to her, the innocent proposal had secured a place at the young prince’s heart, and he promised to marry her once they found themselves single and in love.
Little did they know that fate had other plans in store. After his father’s abdication in 2008, the 28-year-old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk ascended the throne, taking the title of King of Bhutan as well as the youngest reigning monarch in the world. Three years later and 14 years after their first encounter, King Khesar married 21-year-old Jetsun Pema in a lavish wedding ceremony regarded as Bhutan’s largest media event to date, making his bride the youngest queen consort in the world. Queen Jetsun, a striking natural beauty famous for her impeccable fashion sense, had been known to keep her make-up to a bare minimum, and her wedding day was no exception.
Khesar, the eldest son of the fourth reigning monarch, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, and his third wife, Tshering Yangdon, concluded his Foreign Service Programme and International Relations degree at the University of Oxford. Meanwhile, Pema, a straight-A student at school, earned her degree in Psychology with minors in International Relations and Art History from Regent’s College, London.
Like his father, Khesar is known for his humanitarian efforts and humility, which have won over the nation, earning him the nickname of The People’s King, although the landlocked country, known as “Druykul”, or Land of Dragons in Bhutanese, refers to its ruler as “Druk Gyalpo”, or King of the Dragons.
This story appears in our April 2018 issue, grab yours or subscribe here