Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Jigme Singye Wangchuck (born 11 November 1955) is the former King of Bhutan. He was the fourth Dragon King (Druk Gyalpo) of Bhutan from 1972 until his abdication in favour of his eldest son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, in 2006. He is credited with many modern reforms in the country.

Early life
He acceded to the throne at the age of seventeen, in 1972, after the sudden death of his father, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. When he was formally crowned on 2 June 1974, he was the youngest monarch in the world at eighteen years of age, and the coronation was notable for the presence of foreign dignitaries, thus signalling the end of the long isolation of the country. He was educated in Bhutan, India and the United Kingdom. He is not to be confused with his cousin who has a similar name; his cousin attended Rice University in Houston, Texas.

It has been noted that the fourth king ruled his people with orthodox views based on the traditions of Buddhism. Even to this day, traffic lights do not exist in the country, and by law everyone must wear traditional 14th century clothing. Since the beginning of his rule, television and internet access have become available. Tourism in Bhutan, however, remains low.

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck is the creator of GNH (Gross National Happiness).

On 17 December 2005, (at the age of 50), he announced  his intention to abdicate in 2008, leaving the throne to his son. In a royal edict issued on 14 December 2006, the king announced that he would begin handing over power to his eldest son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck immediately. He ordered a parliamentary election be held in 2008.

Family life
Jigme Singye Wangchuck is married to four queens (all of whom are sisters) and has five sons and five daughters. Several of his children have been educated abroad.

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