His Majesty the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck married four sisters from Talo, Punakha in a private ceremony in 1979 and publicly in 1998 at the Punakha Dzong. The Queens, born to Yab Dasho Ugyen Dorji and Yum Thuji Zam, were educated in India.
All Queens are involved in supporting various causes to improve the lives of Bhutanese.
Since the ascension of the Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wanchuck to the Golden Throne in 2008, Queens were referred to as Gyalyum meaning Queen Mother. Following are the Queen Mothers of Bhutan.
1. Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck
Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (born 10 June 1955) is an accomplished author. Her Majesty authored ‘Of Rainbows and Clouds,’ ‘Treasures of the Thunder Dragon’ and ‘Dochula: A Spiritual Abode in Bhutan.’
As the Founder and the President of the Tarayana Foundation, Her Majesty travelled wife and far serving the needy people. For this noble initiative, Her Majesty was honored with the ‘Pope Francis Charity and Leadership Award in 2006.
Today, Her Majesty is the Chief Patron of Mountain Echoes: A Literary Festival, Honorary President of Sherubtse College and the Patron of the Folk Heritage Musuem in Thimphu.
2. Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck
Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Pem Wangchuck (born 22 December 1957) serves as the Co-Chair of the Bhutan Foundation. The foundation serves the people of Bhutan in living and sharing the principle of Gross National Happiness through supporting various projects.
As the President of the Bhutan Youth Development Foundation, Her Majesty continues to inspire, empower and support youth by providing resources and platforms.
3. Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck
Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck (born 21 June 1959) founded Bhutan Nun’s Foundation in 2009. The foundation was established to improve the well-being and education of nuns in Bhutan.
Her Majesty the Gyalyum is the Patron of Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition and the Royal Society for the Protection and Care of Animals.
4. Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck
Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck (born 11 May 1963) graciously accepted the role of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Goodwill Ambassador in Bhutan. As the UNFPA Ambassador, Her Majesty continues to create awareness on reproductive, sexual and mental health in Bhutan.
UNFPA recognized Her Majesty the Gyealyum’s role as the Goodwill Ambassador and presented with an award in October 2019.
In 2004, Her Majesty established RENEW an acronym for Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women to empower vulnerable women, especially the victims of domestic violence.
Her Majesty established the Gyalyum Charitable Trust in 2016 to ensure the long term sustainability of the charitable organizations in the country.
Her Majesty is also the Founder and the Royal Patron of Bhutan Textiles Museum.