His Majesty The Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is 31 years old today. He is young, handsome, down-to-earth, very popular and ... unmarried. He is the 5th king of Bhutan and his photo is found in every home, office, monastery, and restaurant. He lives near Thimphu in a valley in a modest cottage house surrounded by forest and military guards. He studied in the USA and Oxford, he is a sports man and he spends lots of his time visiting his subjects around the country. He has been the king since 2006, crowned in 2008 by his father, the same year when the first democratic elections were held in the country. Today, Bhutan is a democratic constitutional monarchy where the king has a very important symbolic power.
Each year, there are two birthday celebrations of the king: a private one organized for a selected group of people and another public one held in the national stadium. Today, I went to see the second one. It was nice with dance performances of school children and a speech of the prime minister. I was a bit disappointed, though, because as it turned out, the kind doesn't attend this event. I really wanted to see and hear him.
Would you like to know more about the King? It is not easy to get information directly from him. Last time, I was asking his press officer if he could give an interview for my blog. He said it was not possible because his Majesty decided not to give any interview for five years following his coronation due to his need to spend sufficient time accumulating knowledge and wisdom before communicating with the press. Another unusual and unique decision of a Bhutanese king.
Looking at the pictures, you can have a flavor of today's event:
|Security check: kira left, gho right|
|This is the nation's only football stadium|
|Full of school children and families|
|This dog arrived without invitation. No one seemed to be bothered.|
|A Thai lady who has a picture of me.|
|Security guard. Much more stylish than in Europe.|