His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the current reigning King of Bhutan, was born on 21st February 1980 to His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and Azhi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.
His Majesty ascended to the Golden Throne in December 2006. The official coronation took place on 6th November, 2008 in Punakha Dzong.
Known as the ‘People’s King’, His Majesty is a down-to-earth monarch who promised to never rule his subject as a King but to protect citizens as a parent, care as a brother and serve as a son. His Majesty pronounced that He will give everything and keep nothing.
The Constitution of Bhutan enshrines His Majesty the King as the Head of State and the symbol of unity of the Kingdom and of the people of Bhutan. His Majesty the King is also the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Militia.
Other than constitutional roles, His Majesty has been involved in countless activities for the welfare of His subject.
10 Additional Roles of King Jigme
1. Patron, Kidu Foundation
The Kidu Foundation was set up in 2009 under the aegis of the Office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon (Office for People’s Welfare and Wellbeing) to assist the victims of the natural disasters. The foundation aspires to effectively complement government efforts to address critical issues in areas of education, the rule of law, democracy and media, sustainable economic development, and preservation of the country’s environmental and cultural heritage.
Hundreds of thousands of children, elderly, disabled and sick people have received and continue to receive support from the Kidu Foundation.
2. Chancellor, Royal University of Bhutan
The Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) was founded in 2003 through a Royal Decree to consolidate the management of tertiary education in Bhutan. It has 9 constituent colleges and 2 affiliated colleges. His Majesty oversees the Royal University of Bhutan as Chancellor.
3. Patron, The Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies
Established in 2004, the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies (OCBS) promotes the academic study of Buddhist texts, societies, theories and practices within the University. It is a Recognized Independent Centre (RIC) of the University of Oxford and committed to maintaining the highest academic standards.
4. Patron, Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) holds regular dialogues with Royal Government of Bhutan to advocate, provide feedback & represent businesses of Bhutan during the fine-tune policies and legislation regulating the business procedures and practices.
5. President, Bhutan India Friendship Association
Bhutan India Friendship Association was founded in 1969 to promote friendly relations between the people of Bhutan and India. In 1949 Bhutan and India signed the Treaty of Friendship, calling for peace between the two nations and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. India shares 605 kilometers (376 mi) border with Bhutan and is its largest trading partner, accounting for 98 percent of its exports and 90 percent of its imports.
6. Patron, European Convention of Bhutan Societies
European Convention of Bhutan Societies is made of Bhutan’s 14 Friendship Associations from 13 European countries (Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) that contribute towards development projects in Bhutan.
7. Patron, DeSuung
His Majesty initiated military-style training, DeSuung Training Program, for volunteers in 2011 to be a value-based personal development program with the main objective to encourage all citizens to be active in the greater role of nation building. Trained volunteers actively contribute community services during mass gatherings, national celebrations and disaster operations.
8. Patron, Bhutan Scouts Association
Scouting was introduced in Bhutan in 1970s initiated by a Non Governmental Organization, Bhutan Youth Development Association (BYDA). Bhutan Scouts Association (BSA) was established in 1999. Through Community Scouting program, voluntary service to community, institutions as well as to individuals is provided.
9. Trongsa Poenlop
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel created the post of Poenlop and Dzongpoen (regional governor) in the 17th Century as a representative of the central government. By the end of 19th century, Trongsa Poenlop emerged as the most powerful man in Bhutan. Trongsa Poenlop Ugyen Wangchuck became the 1st hereditary King of Bhutan in 1907. In accordance with tradition, His Majesty the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck appointed the crown prince to the post of Trongsa Poenlop in 2004. Today, His Majesty is the 16th Trongsa Poenlop.
10. Paro Poenlop
Tenzin Drukdra was the 1st Paro Poenlop. All hereditary kings served as Paro Poenlop. His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was appointed as the 27th Paro Poenlop in 2002 with presentation of Red Scarf by His Majesty the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
8 Humble Personalities of King Jigme
1. His Majesty the King cooked for primary school students
An earthquake with the moment magnitude of 6.1 struck eastern Bhutan in September 2009. The disaster killed a few people and damaged several houses and monasteries. His Majesty the King visited the affected sites and met with victims of the disaster. On one occasion, His Majesty dropped by a primary school and cooked lunch for the students.
2. His Majesty plays with kids barefoot
In June 2009, while on a tour, His Majesty dropped by to play soccer with children of the Zunglen Primary School in Mongar. Kids as well as His Majesty played bare foot.
In another occasion, His Majesty played a game, Duck, Duck, Goose with student and people of Jurmey in Mongar.
3. His Majesty interacts with his people in rain
His Majesty travels wide and far, to the plains, and to the mountains to meet his people. Sometimes, rain welcomes the arrival of His Majesty but rain cannot stop him from meeting his people. He does not rest until meeting His people. Besides that, His Majesty turns down an umbrella and interacts with people in rain.
4. His Majesty does not mind walking through flood water
His Majesty makes sure to meet with people affected by natural disasters to console and render help. A flood in Sarpang in 2016 washed away shops and even Tsirang-Sarpang Highway. During evacuation of people and property, His Majesty walked through flood water with volunteers.
5. His Majesty dropped tears for Late Thai King
The news of the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 2016 brought immense sorrow to His Majesty the King. His Majesty commanded that special prayers be held and butter lamps be lit in sacred temples across Bhutan. His Majesty flew to attend a symbolic royal cremation of the Late King in Thailand. There, His Majesty dropped tears during the ceremony and cremation ceremony.
6. His Majesty drank local brew from a poison giver
A 48-year-old woman in Lhuntsi has been labeled a poison giver. Drinking or eating anything from her hands was believed to result in sickness or death. She was ostracized. His Majesty drank a local brew from her hand and declared that she was not a poison giver. Poison giving became a mere myth after that incident.
7. His Majesty planted trees to celebrate the birth of prince
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Zhabdrung’s arrival in Bhutan, and in honor of the Birth of the Crown Prince, His Majesty the King, along with the Zhung Dratshang led by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, planted 400 trees around the Thangzona in Punakha in 2016.
8. His Majesty continuous grants kidu
His majesty grants Kidu in the form of land and support. His Majesty continues to grant land to landless around the country. His Majesty also supports unprivileged students to continue education, elderly citizens, and those requiring medical treatments.