Royal Family

A Click of Compassion: A King and His Passion for Photography

Discover King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck's dedication to his country and people, as seen in his stunning photographs of Bhutan's landscapes, culture, and traditions.

MyBhutan Staff
Visit Bhutan
Mar 15, 2023
5 min read
A mother and her baby greet His Majesty at Tampe Tsho with Rhododendrons (credit: His Majesty)

His Majesty the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is widely recognized for his selfless leadership and love for his people. During his journeys to Bhutan's remote villages, His Majesty will occasionally bring his camera and capture the nation's attention with his stunning photography. His creative eye and passion for the art have resulted in a book published by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Jetsuen Pema Wangchuck, entitled "Bhutan: Through the Lens of the King."

Born on February 21, 1980, His Majesty ascended the throne on December 14, 2006, following the abdication of the Fourth King in favor of the Crown Prince. His coronation was held two years later in November 2008. Since assuming the responsibilities of the throne, His Majesty has ruled the kingdom with a compassionate heart, traveling extensively to understand his peoples' livelihood. He has documented the beauty of Bhutan and its people through his passion for photography during these journeys. These photographs are often accompanied by detailed notes, reflecting His Majesty's abiding interest in the lives of His people and commitment to care for their wellbeing.

His Majesty crossing the challenging Gangla Karchung pass at 5250m (credit: HM Office)

His Majesty's photographs capture the transition of Bhutan over the years, including its virgin landscapes, dreamlike villages, and the happiest of faces. The images depict a nation's genuine love for their King, who strives to reduce social inequalities by initiating farsighted measures to help the disadvantaged sections of the kingdom. His Majesty dedicates so much of his energy and time to ensure that every community is visited, every story is heard, and every emergency is attended to, no matter how remote or intense the situation.

A man in Merak kisses his wife on the cheek in their farm home (credit: His Majesty)

The King's photography has not only captured the beauty of Bhutan but has also attracted tourists to the country, making it a popular destination for those seeking breathtaking landscapes and unique cultural experiences. Bhutan has a strong emphasis on sustainability and has become a role model for eco-tourism, with its focus on preserving its culture, environment, and resources.

In addition to his love for photography, the King is known for his efforts to promote happiness and well-being in Bhutan. His father, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, introduced the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which prioritizes the happiness and well-being of Bhutan's citizens over all else. Bhutan has become an example of how a country can prioritize the well-being of its people while still achieving economic development.

His Majesty visits a school in Sakteng (credit: HM Office)

His Majesty the King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, has left an indelible mark not only on his country but also on the world. His selfless leadership, passion for photography, and advocacy for Gross National Happiness have inspired many to rethink the meaning of success and the role of leaders in creating a better future. By using his camera as a tool for storytelling, he has not only captured the beauty of Bhutan but also conveyed the aspirations of his people. His efforts have not gone unnoticed, as he has received numerous recognitions, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Award. His Majesty's legacy serves as a reminder of the transformative power of leadership that prioritizes compassion, creativity, and the common good.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a royal family in Bhutan?

Yes, Bhutan has a royal family, which is highly revered and respected by the Bhutanese people. The royal family has been an integral part of Bhutan's history and culture for centuries, and they have played an important role in shaping the country's development and maintaining its traditions. The members of the royal family are highly visible and involved in various aspects of Bhutanese society, including religious ceremonies, cultural events, and public service. They are widely loved and respected by the Bhutanese people, who consider them to be a symbol of national unity and stability.

Who is the King of Bhutan today?

His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is the fifth King of Bhutan. He was born on February 21, 1980, in Thimphu, Bhutan. He ascended to the throne on December 9, 2006, after his father His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated the throne in his favor. His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is widely known for his efforts to modernize Bhutan while also preserving its unique cultural heritage and promoting the concept of Gross National Happiness, which measures the country's progress based on the well-being and happiness of its citizens rather than solely on economic indicators. In 2011, he married Her Majesty Jetsun Pema, who is the current Queen of Bhutan.

Does Bhutan have a crown prince?

His Royal Highness Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck was born on February 5, 2016, and is the heir apparent to the Bhutanese throne. The King and Queen of Bhutan also have a second child, a son named His Royal Highness Ugyen Jigme Wangchuck, who was born on March 19, 2020.

What language is spoken in Bhutan?

The national language of Bhutan is Dzongkha, which is also the official language of the country. However, there are several other languages spoken in Bhutan, including Hindi and Nepali, which are widely spoken in the southern regions of the country, and various Tibetan dialects, which are spoken in some parts of eastern Bhutan. In addition, English is taught as a compulsory language in schools, and it is widely spoken and understood by the Bhutanese people, especially those in urban areas and in the tourism industry.

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