I got a request to cover the Queen of Bhutan due to the fact that she announced her first pregnancy recently, so I thought I would take the Hot Gut of the Month series – where I highlight a royal gentleman – and tweak it a bit to highlight a royal lady I have never covered before. And her man can come along for the ride. So the Hot Guy and Hot Girl of December are: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema of Bhutan. PS. My god, can you believe it is December already?! Also, I’ll cover more of Prince Harry’s South Africa tour later this week, possibly tomorrow.
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was born on February 21, 1980 as the eldest son of the fourth Dragon King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and his third wife, Queen Tshering Yangdon. Khesar is the fifth and current reigning Druk Gyalpo or “Dragon King” of the Kingdom of Bhutan, having ascended the throne after his father abdicated in 2006. Khesar studied in the United States before graduating form Oxford where he completed the Foreign Service Programme. He gave his first speech to the United Nations in 2002, at 22 years old.
On May 20, 2011, at the opening of the Parliament of Bhutan, Khesar announced his engagement to Jetsun Pema, who was only 20 years old at the time.
Jetsun Pema was born on June 4, 1990 to Dhondup Gyaltshen (the grandson of a former Governor of Trashigang) and Sonam Chuki (who comes from the family of Bumthang Pangtey – one of the oldest noble families of Bhutan). Jetsun Pema went to school in Thimphu (where she was born), India, and London – where she studied international relations with psychology and art history as minors. She was still a student when she became Queen.
Upon announcing his engagement, the King said of his wife-to-be:
“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 October 13, 2011 when Jestun Pema was 21 years old and Khesar was 31 years old. The ceremony took place in a 17th-century monastery (Punakha Dzong) in the old capital of Punakha, where Khesar wore the Raven Crown of the Wangchuck Dynasty and bestowed his bride the crown of the Druk Gyal-tsuen and formally proclaimed her Queen of Bhutan. The proclamation was followed by another ceremony. There were public celebrations after the ceremonies. To be honest, all the different ceremonies confused me – there were about four of them plus the public celebrations which took place on the 13th, 14th, and 15th – so I apologize for not going into more detail.
After the wedding, Khesar said of his new wife:
“She carried her responsibilities superbly well. I was very proud of her. She is a wonderful human being. Intelligent. She and I share one big thing in common: a love and passion for art. It doesn’t matter when you get married as long as it is the right person. I am certain I have married the right person.”
Bhutan allows polygamy, and Khesar’s father had multiple wives, but Khesar claims Jetsun will be his only wife.
BTW, public displays of affection are not common in Bhutan but the King kissed his bride in public on their wedding day.
Khesar is Patron of five organizations: Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry; India Bhutan Foundation; Bhutan Scouts Association; European Convention of Bhutan Societies; Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. And is President of Bhutan India Friendship Association.
Jetsun is an advocate of environmental issues, the UNEP Ozone Ambassador, and Patron of: the Royal Society for Protection of Nature, the Ability Bhutan Society, the Bhutan Kidney Association, and the Bhutan Kidney Foundation.
The couple announced they are expecting their first child, a son, on November 10, 2015.
The King wrote: “I am deeply pleased to announce that Jetsun and I look forward to the birth of our son in the coming Losar. We are overjoyed to offer this news as a gift to His Majesty’s Birth Anniversary*.”
The Losar is the New Year and is celebrated for 15 days. In 2016, the start of the Losar is February 8th. So Jetsun is due sometime between February 8-22.
*They announced the pregnancy on Khesar’s father’s 60th birthday.
The way Khesar talks about Jetsun is interesting. On the one hand he is very pragmatic, knowing that his wife, as Queen, has certain duties to uphold, but on the other hand he seems to be smitten with her. The best of both worlds: finding someone he truly loves while also finding the perfect Queen? I hope so. She is a very beautiful woman, but damn 21 is young to be getting married to a man 10 years older. And becoming a Queen in the process no less. But I wish them all the best in their marriage and for a safe arrival of their little one. Side note: her wedding outfits just made my top 5 favorite royal wedding gowns.
Here are a few more photos of the couple:
On November 1, 2011, Jetsun attended the New Dehli release of the book Bhutan Through the Lens of the King which is a book of photos by Khesar.
The King and Queen traveled to Japan for a six day visit in November of 2011.
Also in November 2011, the couple traveled to the United Kingdom where they met with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
In January of 2013, the King and Queen traveled to India.
Photos: Free download from here and here and here / Getty
60 thoughts on “Hot Guy (and Girl) of the Month – December: The King and Queen of Bhutan”
Yay for the Bhutan couple! Jetsun is one gorgeous woman, but I’ve always wondered what she thought about getting married a such a young age and becoming queen right after. She must have felt overwhelmed, but she is being very gracious about it. I’m happy that Khesar has no intention of taking another wife and that they waited a few years for a child. Congrats to them!
I was wondering that as well. In terms of her age she has a similarity to Princess Diana. Diana was married at 20 to a man who was almost 13 years older than her. So I wonder if Jetsun is feeling any of the feelings Diana felt. Granted, Khesar seems to be much more loving and supportive than Charles was. And they’ve waited several years before having kids. But it did give me a sense of Diana when I read Jetsun’s age at time of marriage.
I think she had it easier than Diana. I think that the fact that her husband is crazy about her, that there were no other women that she had to be concerned about and that her family was close by helped greatly in the transition from girlfriend to wife and queen. Diana from the beginning was put in between a rock and a hard place and had to learn how to play dirty to survive in court.
Jetson also had time on her side. They rushed into the wedding, but they waited before having a child so she had time to get used to her role, found same charities and causes to fight for.
Definitely the Queen has it easier than Diana ever did.
Lauren, this is what I thought when reading about Jetsun’s age and the age difference with her husband. Who knows about the truth within any marriage, but her husband certainly seems supportive and doesn’t appear to have a third party in mind. Thus, Jetsun can avoid a ‘crowded’ marriage and not have to deal with some of the difficulties Diana faced.
I don’t think they rushed into the wedding. They’ve known each other since she was 9 and he was 19 (or 7 and 17 I don’t remember). They lived together for 8 months or so before they announced the engagement and wedding. It feels more like an arranged aristocratic marriage of two willing parties who now love each other.
Their families must spend some time together, or be in the same circles, as one of her older sisters ended up marrying one of the king’s younger brothers.
Jetsun comes from an aristocratic family. She’s lived and attended school in three different countries. She’s probably come in contact with a lot of different kinds of people and she didn’t chase the ring for 8 years. She also didn’t dump her studies when she got married to completely focus solely on her husband.
Obviously he supported her in this because she finished and he seems extremely proud of her. He also seems to have taken the time to make sure that she was comfortable in her role as Queen.
She’s also a patron of things she really seems to believe in. Not just some things picked from a list because they are hot button topics of the day.
I think at 21, Jetsun was far more mature than Kate is at 33. She is obviously a heck of a lot more intelligent (international relations, art history and psychology???) I can’t ever seeing her making a “can you smell the tea by smelling it” or whatever mistake. I hope you continue to cover them. They really do work their butts off and the country is amazing. A lot of the photos just take my breath away.
Wow! She is really beautiful! I wish them the best! They both sound very intelligent.
I absolutely love this royal couple. They work their backsides off. Every time I check their topic on RD it’s another set of pictures of one or the other (or both) in some part of their country meeting their people.
Also very happy for their future son. If takes after his parents he will be gorgeous.
Thank you for this post KMR!
They are also pretty social media savvy. I was checking out their Facebook page and they post a lot about the stuff they do. Plus releasing those free to download monthly calendars with pictures of them. That’s some smart marketing.
Thank you so much for doing a write up for this interesting couple. I hope you continue to keep and eye on them(and the other Asian Monarchs too!).
oh. and aside: Married at 21, has clear and supported charities, obvious work, and sharing new of the child to be. …. take not W+K… take note.
They have a Facebook page which makes it easier to follow them. I’ll see how much interest there is them and if there is enough interest then I will keep tabs on them going forward.
I am embarrassed to say that this is the first I have heard of them. After doing some reading, I am quite impressed. I love the way that he speaks of his wife. Respect, honor, tradition, and love. They seem in love and smitten with each other. What a nice and lovely choice to end the year, KMR.
I had never heard of them until I read about the pregnancy announcement and Halia, I think, asked me to cover them. So I had to do some research on them myself. I liked learning about them.
Me neither, but glad to learn of them! And I agree with you, he knows what is expected of his Queen, but also seems to be quite in love. She sounds highly educated and worldly, besides the fact she comes from an ancient family. 10 years, no big deal, I’m sure she’s more than capable and up to the challenges.
Congratulations to Khesar and Jetsun!!! After their wedding I did a little research on the country of Bhutan and found out that instead of using their Gross National Product as an indicator of how well the country is doing, they use a Gross National Happiness scale. It seems that the happiness and welfare of his people is more important to the King then how much money he has.
It is interesting how the King talks about his wife. Perhaps the people of Bhutan are a bit more reserved in showing their feelings to the world preferring to keep it between themselves. However, it was wise of him to marry a woman who will not only make him happy but is able to fulfill her duties as Queen. Not wanting to name names but someone else probably should have thought about that too.
I’m impressed, too. A very savvy and intriguing couple. Good looking and so involved. Yes, KMR, I agree this is a perfect way to end the year by celebrating a hot couple of the month. I love what Lauri posted concerning a Gross Happiness scale. Amazing and so astute. You can measure the success of a people based on the level of joy in their lives I’m afraid here in the States, happiness often flies out the window in many cases and is replaced by I want more, more more. Not everyone, mind you, but it’s common among many. Maybe in other places, too.
I think sometimes we as a society get too involved in “keeping up with the joneses” to really appreciate what we have and what makes us truly happy. If having lots of money and working really hard makes you truly happy, then go for it. But money can be hallow and not always give you true happiness. It’s important to figure out what makes you truly happy and go for that rather than just going for more money.
There was an article here in the UK by Alison Pearson, how girls are now marrying down rather than up. For example not dating men who are older etc who have more money and going for men who are marrying up. I will find the link if you like. It was based around the time Kate marrying William.
I think happiness with your partner is the most important thing when deciding whom to marry no matter who you are, but I do think royals should take the fact that their spouse will have to fulfill royal duties into account when choosing a spouse. It seems Khesar got the best of both worlds which is great for both of them and their people.
They look happy! I hope they have a healthy baby boy and she has a safe delivery. Do these two have beautiful bone structure or what?
Their kid is going to be gorgeous.
Thank you KMR.
Congratulations to the Bhutan couple. I like the Way Jetsun wears her crown in the photo and the way her husband looks at her.
Jetsun has used her degree to build her foundation of charities. I wish the three of them well.
I love the photo of Jetsun in the crown. She looks great and the colors of the outfit are amazing.
From the photos, Jetsun looks so graceful and you can see her kindness in her duties. Jetsun’s dresses are gorgeous. The couple do have good features. I think their child will be lucky to have such parents. I don’t know why kids have to be gorgeous looking though. One of my grandmother’s took a look at my brother and said I hope he has some brains so my grandmother was quite blunt. I don’t particularly want my nieces and my little niece due in January to think looks are everything.
She looks great, but so does the groom. Love how he is rocking the elegant floral fabric with pastel pink roses. Does anyone know if the wedding attire has any significance with the patterns or the colors?
The wedding attire by the king was worn by other kings. The one the queen wears is inspired by Tibetan astrology.
Thanks! Really interesting.
I would love to get my hands on any of those fabrics to use in some quilts. The colors are so vivid.
W, the colors in their wardrobes are so delicious. Just shout out happiness and amazing taste.
She’s gorgeous, and doesn’t seem to be flashing or making manic facial expressions like someone we know. Two thumbs up for a classy royal!
I’m thrilled to see these two covered. Truth be told, I was far more excited about their wedding than I was for a certain other wedding in 2011 precisely because they seem to have chosen each other wisely. A lot of times, people write off William and Kate’s apparent disconnectedness by saying that the Brits just aren’t into public displays of affection, but these two come from a culture with a similarly reserved nature and still manage to look like they’re delighted to be together. And yeah, although she doesn’t have patronages to equal the number of Anne, for example, Jetsun Pema seems to have grown into her new role incredibly well, especially in light of her age.
Great choice for December!
KMR thank you for posting the Bhuton royal family! Halia
Here is a video of her talking in English.
Wow, I’m super impressed!! She obviously an intelligent woman and very well spoken. Thanks for sharing this video.
Here is a video of the king speaking English.
Thanks KMR for picking a couple that we don’t hear about much. I read a few other blogs in addition to yours and everyone seems to cover the same few families. I’m excited to learn about these two!
Nice, very nice. Since you insist on calling it the “Hot” Girl of the Month, I will say, yeah, she is physically rather attractive. A King and Queen worthy of the name. Pish posh on the age difference. My brother-in-law is 8 years older than my sister. He was more interested in his work with rocks than in love and marriage when she moved in to the house he was staying at. They’ve been married for 3 1/2 years. Most husbands are older than their spouses. My father is 4 years older than my mother, my uncle is 9 years older than my aunt. My cousin is 5 years older than his fiancé. The Duke of Edinburgh is almost 5 years older than the Queen. The King and Queen of Bhutan will be fine, age difference be damned.
To me, it’s not just the age difference but the age at which she married. 21 is young To be getting married already but especially if you are marrying someone a decade older than you. Obviously it works for them and they are in a different society than I am, but for most people in the U.S. that would cause problems down the road. It’s normal for women to like older guys. But 21 is young to be getting married. That’s all I mean.
The Queen married at 21. She’s been married for 68 years. My grandmother married at 20. They were married for 65 years. My father married at 21. I had an 18-year-old girl chasing after me at 22, talking about where we would go on our honeymoon (answer: Nowhere together). I have several good friends married and with children before they were 25 and they’re very happy. Some people know who they are, what they want and just do it. Others like me diddle and daddle and moan for years about being lonely and unloved. It’s all the person. In Massachusetts, you can marry with parental or judicial consent as young as 12 for a girl.
I’m American, but am SHOCKED to hear Massachusetts allows a girl of 12 yrs. old to get married with consent. Someone needs to rethink this and have this taken off the books. Just my big mouth opinion.
It’s probably one of those laws from 250 years ago, when women routinely died in childbirth or from illness. Most of the Pilgrim men who survived the first winter married multiple times, often women decades younger than themselves b/c they could still father offspring. I doubt any 12-year-old is getting married in the Commonwealth nowadays. 🙂
I can see where you’re coming from KMR regarding Jetsun’s age. In the Queen’s generation it was quite common to marry young. At that time most young men and women lived with their parents until marriage and quite a few young women expected to marry soon after leaving school. Now, it seems that most people move out of their parents home after college, establish their careers and spend more time dating different people before settling down in marriage. I don’t know what the culture is like in Bhutan, if women expect to marry young and/or marry a man older than themselves but as you said the culture here in the U.S. is a bit different. Not better, not worse just different. I wish we measured our success by our Gross Happiness Index 🙂
Honestly as long as they are partners in their marriage nothing else matters. I think they support each other.
Note that the king proposed to her when she was around 7 saying one day he would marry her and he was age 17.
With Kate and William you can feel the awkward and it’s not about the age difference.
Kate even says that William isn’t around often and often it’s Kate with George while William is doing who knows what.
William’s probably doing Jecca.
Here is the article:http://www.news.com.au/world/bhutans-royal-wedding-how-the-king-proposed-when-she-was-just-seven-years-old/story-e6frfkyi-1226165294876
Jetsun Pema grew up near him. Her grandfather was the half-brother of Queen Phuntsho Choden https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phuntsho_Choden.
Another interesting fact: Her older sister is married to the king’s brother. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jigme_Dorji_Wangchuck_(born_1986)
Her sister’s wedding was covered on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/KingJigmeKhesar/photos/a.485878073259.272441.43817623259/10151872372253260/?type=3
You are simply a wealth of Bhutan information today Mri. Thanks for all the great information.
I’m sorry, but that is incredibly disturbing. A 17 year old should not be having those kinds of thoughts about a 7 year old. She’s 7 years old! Ew.
Yep. That’s a new level of disturbing. Well at least he waited until she was legal.
Arranged marriages are quite common in Asia and were VERY common in previous centuries. Often people would be introduced to each other when they were young and then marry when the bride was a little older. John Adams was 25 when he first started courting Abigail Smith, who was 14. They married when he was 29 and she was 19. I don’t think the future King was necessarily having sexual thoughts about his spouse but rather would she make a good bride one day? The idea of romantic love as the basis of marriage has only been around for about 200 years.
Albert is 20 years older than Charlene. It does not mean they are miserable together.
There’s a 15 year age difference between Mr. from Ca and myself but we didn’t marry young, he was 50 and I was 35 when we married.
Not to thread jack but it appears that W&K aren’t on vacation, William is attending the Henry van Straubenzee memorial concert with Carole and Pippa tonight.
Sorry for thread jacking too, but I’ve just got to say… Is William not allowed out of the house without a Middleton escort?
LOL, I thought the same thing 🙂
Thanks for the post! Appreciate the time and effort.
Thank you for the post.
I think she is beautiful! She may be young but I suspect that she would have been brought up in the right circle, with the traditions, so she will know what to say and do.
I read an article ages ago about how the King wants to update the Kingdom and bring it up to date in the 21st century . He seems really thoughtful and just the sort you would want as a King
My friend was in the same school as the Queen. I’ve seen a class photograph of her.
Thanks KMR! I’ve always loved the Bhutanese royal couple. Maybe you can do a post on her attire? I notice that her work attire when she is on official duties overseas and her traditional attire are always decent and mature yet fashionable. And no crotch flashing!
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