Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan, The World's Current Youngest Queen Consort

Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan

Her Majesty, Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan is the youngest Queen consort in the world today. She is the wife of Bhutan's reigning monarch, His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The UK-educated Queen consort is only 32 years old.

On September 19, 2022, the usually low-key Queen caught the attention of royal watchers, when she accompanied her husband to the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London.

Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan
Front: Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan. At the back: King Jigme and Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan 

Bhutan is a landlocked country nestled deep in the scenic Himalayas, between China and India, so we rarely hear news about their royals. So today, let's talk about their much-loved Queen consort. 

Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan
In front: The King and Queen of Bhutan at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II 

Jetsun Pema became Queen consort at the age of 21 in 2011 when she married her distant cousin, King Jigme Khesar of Bhutan, who was 31 at that time. She is fluent in English, Hindi (language of India), and Dzongkha -the national language of Bhutan. 

Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan
The King and Queen of Bhutan ©QueenJetsunPema IG

Unlike most wives of princes and kings today who are non-aristocratic commoners, Queen Jetsun Pema is born of noble blood. Two of her siblings also married into the Bhutanese royal family.

Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan
The Queen and her two sons
©QueenJetsunPema IG 

She was born on June 4, 1990, in Thimpu, Bhutan to Dhondup Gyaltshen, a pilot whose father was once a governor in one of the provinces in Bhutan, and Aum Sonam Choki, who comes from the family of Bumthang Pangtey, one of Bhutan's oldest noble families.

Queen Jetsun's maternal grandfather was a half-brother of two Queen consorts of Bhutan, Phuntsho Choden (great-grandmother of the present king) and her sister Pema Dechen, making Queen Jetsun a second cousin once removed to her husband.

She has a brother who married her husband's half-sister, Princess Ashi, and a sister who married her husband's brother, Prince Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. 

Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan
Her Majesty The Queen

Queen Jetsun Pema pursued her secondary education at the Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School in Thimphu before moving to The Lawrence School, Sanawar, in Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India, where she studied English, history, geography, economics, and painting. 

Both Queen Jetsun Pema and her husband, King Jigme Keshar, are educated in the United Kingdom. The Queen obtained her International Relations degree from the Regent's University London while King Jigme obtained a degree in Diplomatic Studies from Oxford University. 

Despite their blood and family ties (where most people suspected their marriage was arranged), King Jigme Keshar maintained their romance is real love and not arranged. 

In Bhutan, it is also public knowledge that he was besotted with Jetsun Pema, vowing to never take multiple wives.

"I have been waiting for quite some time to get married. But it doesn't matter when you get married as long as it is with the right person", he told the reporters. "I am certain I am married to the right person. She is a wonderful human being, intelligent. She and I share one big thing in common: a love and passion for art."

Prior to their wedding in 2011, it was reported that the Queen first met her future husband when she was only seven years old at a family picnic. King Jigme at that time was 17 years old.

Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan
Queen Jetsun Pema performing royal duties in Bhutan ©QueenJetsunPema IG 

Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan
The King and Queen with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2016

Queen Jetsun Pema is often regarded by the natives as the Druk Gyaltsuen, which translates to the “Dragon Queen”. In the Dzongkha language, Bhutan itself is known as “The Land of the Thunder Dragon” and thus their King is traditionally called "The Dragon King".

Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan
The Bhutanese royal family ©QueenJetsunPema IG 

On February 5, 2016, Queen Jetsun Pema gave birth to their eldest child, a son, Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, now known as the Crown Prince. He is the youngest heir-apparent in the world today.

On March 19, 2020. the Queen gave birth to their second son, Jigme Ugyen Wangchuck, now known as  His Royal Highness Gyalsey Ugyen Wangchuck.

They like to keep a modest lifestyle and live a good part of their time in a cottage where they often receive members of the public.

Queen Jetsun Pema is known for her charity work for organizations like the Bhutan Red Cross Society, Ability Bhutan Society, and Bhutan Kidney Association.

The Kingdom of Bhutan

Bhutan is a mountainous country in South Asia, perched above the Eastern Himalayas. It borders India and China, but despite being located in the Himalayas, Bhutan does not share a border with Nepal. 

It is one of the smallest countries in the world, measuring 14,824 square miles, with just more than 700,000 population as of 2021.

The Kingdom of Bhutan

Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy and ranked first in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in economic freedom, ease of doing business, peace, and lack of corruption in 2016. 

Surrounded by nature, Bhutan is characterized by steep mountains and deep valleys. It has one of the largest water reserves for hydropower in the world. 

More than 70% of Bhutan is forested. It is also the first carbon-negative country in the world.

Bhutan is a democratic constitutional monarchy since 2008 when King Jigme Singye Wangchuk abdicated the throne in favor of his son, now King Jigme Keshar Wangchuk.

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