Royal Wedding Recollections – The King of Bhutan & Jetsun Pema

wedding bhutan
(Screenshot/Fair Use)

On 13 October 2011, Jetsun Pema married the King of Bhutan and became the Druk Gyaltsuen or Dragon Queen.

Their engagement had been announced on 20 May 2011 during the opening of Parliament. Her future husband said, “As King, it is time for me to marry. After much thought, I have decided that the wedding shall be later this year. 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.”1 It is unclear where she met her future husband, but they are distantly related.

Before the wedding ceremony, the couple received the blessings of the machhen (holy relic) of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Buddhist ceremony began quite early – at 8.20 in the morning. The time had been set by royal astrologers. The King was the first to arrive at Punakha Dzong while his bride followed not long after at the end of a procession of monks and flag bearers. The ceremony took place in two locations, and in one location, the ceremony was presided over by the Je Khenpo for the Shabdrung Dag Nangma prayer, while in the other location, it was attended by Dorji Lopon and 100 monks reciting Tshepa Mey prayers.

Jetsun had ordered several so-called kiras, the national dress for Bhutanese women, to choose from as her wedding dress. These kiras are woven from raw silk and can take several months to complete. Her groom wore a so-called gho, which had also been worn by his father and grandfather at their weddings.

The King then received the Dar Na Nga, which are five silk scarves in auspicious colours, as well as the Raven Crown of the Wangchuck Dynasty. He also received another Dar Na Nga for Jetsun and bestowed it on her, along with the Phoenix Crown. This was followed by her formal proclamation as the Queen of Bhutan.

After the ceremony, the King and the new Queen were presented with gifts, and there was a traditional presentation of felicitations. Although Bhutan allows for polygamy, her husband has said he would never marry another woman. The celebrations for their wedding lasted a total of three days.

On 11 November 2015, it was announced that Jetsun was expecting their first child, and a son was born to them on 5 February 2016. His name, Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, was announced on 16 April 2016. On 17 December 2019, it was announced that she was expecting their second child. A second son named Jigme Ugyen Wangchuck was born on 19 March 2020.


  1. Bhutan Observer

About Moniek Bloks 2200 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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