King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, born 21 February 1980, is the son of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and is the current reigning Druk Gyalpo or Dragon King, of the Kingdom of Bhutan. He became King on 9 December 2006. A public coronation ceremony was held on 1 November 2008, an auspicious year that marked 100 years of Monarchy in Bhutan.
His Majesty\’s education was in schools within the country followed by high school and university in the USA and the UK. His Majesty also attended the 2005 program of the National Defence College in New Delhi, India. Furthermore, His Majesty has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, Rangsit University, Thailand, Calcutta University, India, and most recently from Keio University, Japan.
In addition to the King’s official functions, His Majesty oversees the Royal University of Bhutan as Chancellor; Patron of the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Patron of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies and the European Convention of Bhutan Societies; President, Bhutan India Friendship Association.
Prior to Bhutan’s full transition to parliamentary democracy, His Majesty travelled across the country to meet with the people and discuss the then draft constitution introducing the new political system. Under the guidance of His Majesty the King and His Majesty the fourth King, the country has been advancing towards democratic governance from the early ‘80s. Following these consultations and detailed discussions in the National Assembly, the constitution of Bhutan was put to a nationwide referendum in June 2008, and adopted. His Majesty has stated that as King, one of his biggest and most sacred responsibilities is to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Bhutan.
Since the formal coronation, King Jigme Khesar’s first landmark project was the launching of the National Cadastral Resurvey in March 2009. The programme is aimed at resolving long-standing land issues of excess land that affects every Bhutanese household. The King has also been giving land to landless farmers around the country. The on-going project takes the King to remote villages and communities.
On 20 May 2011, the King announced his engagement to Jetsun Pema. They Royal Couple were married on 13 October 2011 in the Punakha Dzong. During the ceremony the King also received the Crown of the Druk Gyal-tsuen (Queen) from the most sacred Machhen temple of the Dzong and bestowed it on Her Majesty Jetsun Pema, hereby formally proclaiming her the Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
“A King’s sacred duty is in looking after the wellbeing and Kidu of our people. Thus, I have spent these years meeting my people in their homes and villages as I fulfill this duty. I pray that my people will utilize to the fullest the Kidu I strive to bring to them, and ensure that its benefits accrue, not only them but to the future generations.”
– His Majesty the King, 26 July 2012.
“In all my work, I consider my personal interactions with the people to be of greatest importance. Wherever I travel, I make it a point to enter every household and meet every family. Besides this, I have also tried to meet every day, small groups of people from all walks of life. In the two years since 2008, I have met about fifty thousand such people in my home. It is a source of great happiness for me that I am able to meet you, my people. With the old, I have the satisfaction of being able to express personal gratitude for their long service to the nation. With the young, I build the beginnings of a life-long relationship through which we will serve the people and nation together.”
-His Majesty’s Royal Address to the Nation, 17 December 2010