King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (born February 21 1980) is the fifth Dragon King of Bhutan and head of the Wangchuck dynasty. He is the world's youngest head of state.

Family

Khesar is the oldest son of the Bhutanese king Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and his father's third wife, Queen (Ashi) Tshering Yangdon.

He has a younger full sister and brother and also four half-sisters and three half-brothers by his father's other three wives (all of his father's wives are sisters). He is unmarried.

Education

After completing his basic education in Bhutan, Khesar studied abroad at Phillips Academy (Andover), the Cushing Academy and Wheaton College in Massachusetts, United States, before graduating from St. Peter's College, Oxford University, United Kingdom, where he completed the Foreign Service Program and an MPhil in Politics.

He has travelled abroad, officially representing Bhutan on several occasions and has an active role in numerous cultural, educational and economic organizations.

Accession to the throne

In December 2005, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced his intention to abdicate in his son's favour in 2008, and that he would begin handing over responsibility to him immediately. On December 14, 2006, he announced his immediate abdication and transfer of the throne to Jigme Khesar Wangchuck.

One year on

The young king began his unusual reign overseeing the democratization of his country, by presiding over the last sessions of the present parliament where electoral laws, land reform and other important issues were deliberated.. He stated that the responsibility of this generation for Bhutanese was to ensure the success of democracy. He also travelled extensively around the country encouraging participation in the upcoming democratic exercises and speaking mainly to the youth of Bhutan on the need for Bhutanese to strive for greater standards whether in education, business, civil service and the need for people of small country to work harder than others . He also signed a new treaty of friendship with India in February 2007, replacing the 1949 treaty. Many government initiatives were undertaken by the new king with a view to strengthen the system in preparation for the democratic changes in 2008. Plans for a grand coronation will take place starting on November 6, 2008.

Popularity abroad

As Crown Prince of Bhutan, he attended Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th Anniversary Celebrations on June 12-June 13, 2006 in Bangkok along with royals from 25 countries. Known in the Thai press as Prince Jigme, the prince, at 26 the youngest of the visiting royals, caused a sensation, giving rise to a legion of female fans in Thailand. The Thai press dubbed him "Prince Charming" and ran daily stories and photos about him and tourism in Bhutan for several weeks after he had departed Thailand.

A poll run by the ABAC polling center at Assumption University listed Khesar as the most popular of the visiting royals. However, the poll was thought by some to be making light of a solemn occasion involving the Thai monarch. Hours after the poll was released, the ABAC center's director, Nophadol Kanika, retracted its results.

Internet visitors to the Thai Internet forum Pantip.com flooded the website with postings about the crown prince. Among the posts is a photo of him with an unknown woman. Thai-language daily newspapers later featured the photo. The country's Department of Special Investigation launched a probe into the source of the image, whose publication is considered to be an invasion of privacy, and threatened to prosecute anyone who distributed it in the future.

In November 2006, he returned to Thailand to dedicate the Bhutan Garden at the Royal Flora Ratchapruek Exhibition in Chiang Mai Province. He also accepted an honourary degree from Rangsit University in Bangkok.

References

External links

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