By Rinchen Dorji
Ten years ago, on October 13, 2011, Bhutan witnessed one of the most historic milestones in our modern history –His Majesty The King wed commoner Jetsun Pema – the fairytale had begun then.
The union of these two souls permeates even more significance in our historical perspective as it would ensure the continuity of the Wangchuck lineage, who are the pioneers and founders of this sovereign modern Kingdom.
The wedding of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Her Majesty Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema took place on 13 October 2011 at the majestic Pungthang Dewachhenpoi Phodrang in Punakha, the erstwhile capital of Bhutan.
It was a moment that has been engraved in the hearts of all Bhutanese, and in the depths of our history, as a day when the nation was ensured of the continued legacy of the Wangchuck dynasty, the irrefutable knot that binds us all.
The news also took the world by storm as Their Majesties’ Royal nuptials were extensively covered by newscasters from across the globe.
The BBC on Oct. 13, 2011 wrote: “Today, in a remote isolated country that considers itself to be the happiest place on earth, a dashing king transformed a beautiful commoner into a queen. At 31, King Jigme Khesar, known as the “Asian Elvis,” because of his hair style, is apparently the youngest king in the world”
And, as the nation celebrates a decade of this wonderful union on October 13 this year, Bhutan TODAY has compiled a range of beautiful messages from across the country and through all walks of life, and looks back at some golden memories down the decade.
Golden Words from His Majesty
As the nation celebrates a decade of love and unity, we also reflect on the golden words His Majesty uttered just months before the historical Royal Wedding.
“As King, it is now time for me to marry,” His Majesty said, smiling, towards the end of his address at the opening of the seventh parliament session, which was attended by royal family members, government officials, representatives of international organisations, students and the public.
“After much thought, I have decided that the wedding shall be later this year,” His Majesty, who was then 31, said.
Sharing his idea of a queen, His Majesty said that many will have their own idea of what a Queen should be like – that she should be uniquely beautiful, intelligent and graceful.
“I cannot say how she might appear to the people, but to me, she is the one,” His Majesty then said, which generated some hesitant laughter in the otherwise formal and sombre parliament hall.
“But 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,” His Majesty said.
“I think, with experience and time, one can grow into a dynamic person in any walk of life with the right effort. 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.”
His Majesty said that his union does not mean that he would be starting his own family. “From the very day I received the Dhar Ngay-Nga from the sacred Machhen, the people of the 20 dzongkhags became my family. 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 the royal wedding would be in accordance with age-old tradition, to seek the blessings of our Guardian Deities, and asked the government not to make any plans for a grand celebration.
“The happiness of my beloved father and the blessings of our people would give me the greatest joy and happiness,” His Majesty then said.
Message of Love from across the nation
The Royal nuptials was one of the most significant milestones and highlights in Bhutan’s modern history as it was an assurance that the nation will continue to be blessed by the Wangchuck dynasty, the strength and uniting force of our nation.
And, exactly five years later on February 5, 2016, His Royal Highness The Gyalsey was born painting the nation in joy and merriment.
While the birth of HRH The Gyalsey was a moment of great national pride and unity, the birth of HRH Jigme Ugyen Wangchuck on 19 March, 2020 ensured the nation that it will be continued to be blessed by successions of our beloved monarchs.
As Bhutan celebrates the joyous occasion of ten years of our Royal nuptials, the mood of the nation can be best surmised through the words of 12-year-old Pema Choki, a class VII student in one of the schools in Paro.
Pema Choki said their Majesties are symbols of ultimate beauty and grace. “Their Majesties are the most beautiful couple on this planet and, more importantly, Their Majesties have a big heart which is the most beautiful thing about them. I am blessed to be ruled by such a handsome and caring King and Queen.”
Like this 12-year-old student, all Bhutanese through all ages and social status have a common and sacred bond with Their Majesties because of their acts of kindness and deeds that are always an inspiration for all.
“Their Majesties presence ensures that Bhutan will have a stable and beautiful future because, unlike any politicians, Their Majesties rule with compassion and a feeling of love for all citizens,” Tshering Wangchuck, a retired civil servant said.
The 72-year-old ex-serviceman from Trashiyangtse said Bhutan would never have progressed to this extent had it not been for the huge sacrifices our monarchs have made to improve the lives of all Bhutanese.
He said Their Majesties rule the country with the interests of the nation as their core, while politicians would always work to fulfill their vested interests.
“We should always revere our Kings to ensure that our future is in safe hands. The Royal Wedding and birth of successive Gyalseys is indeed a moment of pride for all Bhutanese because we are ensured of the continuity of the Wangchuck dynasty without whom the country would have been left far behind,” the 72-year-old said, adding that Bhutan is presently under a golden era under the guidance of the Great Fourth and our present Druk Gyalpo.
Photo: Royal Office for Media