|Art- Jampel Cheda|
Five years ago, she entered our consciousness. And keeps blooming in that pond of the thundering dragon; as the lotus, flawless. If His Majesty is the archetypical king; Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen is the archetypical queen. And our lives are all the richer for her earthy presence. This was divine couplet; writ in heaven. Big words indeed, made all the more grand by selfless deeds. But as they say, we must begin at the beginning.
The year is 2011. The month of May. It’s a generous summer’s day. The skies are blue. Balls of white cotton dot the air; floating about in a relaxed atmosphere. The capital runs about its business. From the looks of it, everything is routine.
The seventh session of parliament will commence. And as far as parliamentary sessions go, somber seriousness is the call of the day. The humdrum business of bills and grills and some scattered thrills and frills. There’s the usual political anticipation of sabotage and subterfuge.
But then again maybe not. For His Majesty is going to grace the opening. So we sit. Tuning in to the telly. Eager to hear the King’s Speech. Ready to jot down telling notes. See where it will lead. And lead it did.
It came like the thunderbolt. And the lightning. And then it rained flower petals. The seventh session of parliament was going to be a bright engagement, after all. This was when the kingdom first heard the name ‘Jetsun Pema’. It was a day of beautiful bud. Already sprouting.
But we did not know that yet. His Majesty broke the news towards the end of the speech. Good news come late. But with all the timing and finesse we associate with His Majesty. With a gentle smile, a firm resolve, and in the most tender of words; he shared this most personal of milestones. “As King, it is now time for me to marry. 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."
It was both heavenly and grounded.
The expectations of an anxious populace well-anticipated, His Majesty assured us-
"Now, many will have their own idea of what a Queen should be like; that she should be uniquely beautiful, intelligent and graceful. I think with experience and time, one can grow into a dynamic person in any walk of life with the right effort. For the Queen, what is most important is that at all times, as an individual she must be a good human being, and as Queen, she must be unwavering in her commitment to serve the People and Country.”
Needless to say, all eyes and ears were on a beautiful young girl, of twenty-one. A couple of months later, on October 13th, the Royal Wedding took place at the sacred Punakha Dzong. The King bestowed the Crown of the Druk Gyaltsuen, formally proclaiming Jetsun Pema as the, “Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan”.
Life has never been the same. For the better. In the years that have flown by, we have gotten to know The Gyaltshuen; in all her aspects, and in the many manifestations of a woman, and specifically that of a woman who is also The Queen. And in the most enriching of ways. The birth of the Precious Druk Gyalsey on February 5th, 2016, has made this bond all the more familial, and unshakeable.
She is now mother to the Druk Gyalsey, Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.
With hindsight, it seems everything His Majesty assured us about The Gyaltsuen was done so with a willing acumen and a knowing foresight. The Gyaltsuen has become, and continues to be, a queen most admired, respected and genuinely loved. She has been the first mate, companion, confidante, and the unshakeable pillar of support, to His Majesty the King. And together with that indefatigable role, has taken on the living image of the archetypical Bhutanese feminine, with aspects everyone can relate to.
To fashionistas, she is a style icon with an impeccable taste. To the cultured, the embodiment of beauty and elegance. To environmentalists, a patron of ecological conservation. To wildlife conservationists, a preserver of life in the woods. To the ill, a harbinger of health. To people with disabilities, a compassionate caretaker. To young women, enlightened beauty. To young men, the personification of the divine-feminine. To the elderly, the incarnation of a liberated goddess. And to Bhutanese everywhere, the ‘Queen of Hearts’, walking hand-in-hand with the ‘People’s King’. With a shared penchant and passion for the arts, sports, and flawless service for the good of the nation.
And may Your Majesty always remain so.
The Lotus Rises.
And Blossoms Open.
In the Dragon’s Pond”
On your most auspicious day of birth, we heartily sing-
‘Happy Twenty-Sixth Birthday Your Majesty’.
By Jurmi Chhowing (Op-Ed. Business Bhutan. 4. 6.16)