At this time eight years back, the Nation awaited an announcement from the Palace. Everyone knew that at any moment, Bhutan would be blessed with an heir to the Golden Throne. Prayers were chanted, butter lamps offered and divinity invoked. Drukyul did not have to wait long. On February 5, 2016, announcement that a son had been born was made. There was jubilation in the air. The Nation celebrated.
Bhutan could not have been blessed at a more appropriate time. The Bhutanese New Year (Losar) was only a couple of days ahead and in what was a prized Losar gift, Kupar of Their Majesties and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, with the four-day-old Gyalsey was released on February 9, 2016, as Bhutanese celebrated Losar.
The Nation came together in jubilation. Different events were organized in various parts of the nation. Hundreds of trees were planted all over the country. Religious ceremonies were held for the good health of the Nation’s Son. The gates of Lingkana Palace were opened to people, who came to offer their prayers and warm wishes from distant parts of the country.
On April 16th 2016, Bhutan was observing Zhabdrung Kuchoe, a very special and sacred day. The sacrosanctity of the day was augmented as hundreds of people gathered at the Punakha Dzong. It was the naming ceremony of Gyalsey. The day entered Bhutan’s annals for another significant reason; for the first time the royal grandfather, father and son of the Wangchuck Dynasty came together at the same time and offered prayers in the sacred temple of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Similarly, three generations of Bhutan’s Queens were at the Dzong’s courtyard.
Addressing the gathering, His Majesty the King said. “As I have said before, the Gyalsey is not just the prince of the King and Gyaltsuen, but a son to all the Bhutanese people. After profound contemplation, he has been named Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck in the sacred Machen Lhakhang.
Jigme means fearless. It symbolizes great courage to overcome any challenge that he may confront in future as he serves our country.
Namgyel means victorious in all directions and victory over all obstacles. It is a name taken from the revered Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, who enabled the Dharma to flourish in all directions as prophesied by Guru Rinpoche.
Wangchuck is the name of the royal lineage and dynasty.”
The Birth of Gyalsey added to what was already a very significant year for Bhutan. 2016 marked the 400th year of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel’s arrival in Bhutan. It was also the Rabjung (60-year cycle) birth year of Guru Rimpoche. The birth of HRH made the year one where three sacred events converged.
During the naming ceremony, His Majesty also said. “When the time comes for Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck to serve his country, he must always place the concerns of his country above all else and serve his people justly with great love and dedication. It will be his sacred responsibility to build a harmonious and just society, and thereby, fulfill all the aspirations of his people.”
We have already seen His Royal Highness (HRH) taking on the mantle of leadership and in the process winning the hearts of people from around the world. In November 2017, HRH accompanied Their Majesties the King and Queen during the state visit to India. It was Gyalsey’s first visit to India and pictures of HRH with the Indian Prime Minister and other Indian leaders became viral on social media. At home, HRH accompanies Their Majesties on every important national event and visits around the country. Further, HRH is Bhutan’s first digital citizen.
Bhutan stands special for many reasons on the global stage – from the sacred institution of monarchy to the guiding development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH). On 4th June 2022, Bhutan made history by having the world’s youngest chief guest gracing an event. It was HRH, Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck’s first Royal Duty. The occasion was the inauguration of the nation’s Super FabLab, the Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Super FabLab(SFL) at Thimphu TechPark. HRH was only six years old.
Our heartbeat skips and involuntarily our eyes are soaked seeing HRH bow to His grandfather like an adult, or attentively listen to speeches on occasions he graces. When HRH is in complete decorum and stature, walking on the red carpet and diligently offering his prayers during the Marchang ceremony, it looks like a page from a fairy tale. Since birth, there has been a certain kind of enigma associated with Gyalsey, and over time this has amplified. HRH is already a symbol of hope, continuity, and comfort. We are reassured that during the reign of HRH, Bhutan will be able to enjoy even greater peace, security, prosperity and happiness than in the past.
As the nation celebrates the 8th birth anniversary of HRH, we offer our most sublime prayers for the good health, long life and happiness of Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.
Ugyen Tenzin from Thimphu