Tribute to the Queen of Hearts

On June 4, 1990, doctors and other hospital staff at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Thimphu, had no inkling that a special child was born inside the hospital. No one knew this for 21 years; until His Majesty the King announced on May 20, 2011, that as King, it is now time for him to marry and that he had chosen Jetsun Pema, who His Majesty described as “beautiful, humble, kind and compassionate” as well as “warm and kind in heart and character.” His Majesty’s chosen one was born on June 4, 1990 at JDWNRH. 
Like any ordinary Bhutanese, Her Majesty completed her early education in Thimphu, studying at Little Dragon School, Sunshine School and finally at Changangkha Lower Secondary School. Later, Her Majesty also studied at St. Joseph’s Convent in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India. She pursued her secondary education at the Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School in Thimphu and then moved to The Lawrence School, Sanawar, in Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India. She joined Lawrence as a Class-XI student and studied English, history, geography, economics, and painting. She completed her Higher Secondary education in 2008. She then began her tertiary education at Regent’s University London, where she graduated with a degree in international relations. 
On October 31, 2011, Punakha Dzong became the epicenter of the world’s attention. The country rejoiced as His Majesty tied the nuptials. International media called it Bhutan’s largest media event in history. Bhutan had a queen and since then, Her Majesty has served the country and people and displayed every tenet of an ideal queen.  
Her Majesty’s resolute, altruism, love and compassion was unveiled as Bhutan fought the COVID 19 pandemic. As His Majesty was constantly on the move and spending very little time at the palace, Her Majesty took the dual responsibilities of father and mother to His Royal Highness, Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck and HRH Gyalsey Jigme Ugyen Wangchuck. Acknowledging the roles played by those at the frontlines, Her Majesty personally send snacks and other edibles from the kitchen of the palace.      Mothers who delivered during the lockdowns were sent gift hampers. 
Under Her Majesty’s command, emergency shelters were established and counseling provided to victims of domestic violence. Legal aid was provided to the victims, including support for livelihood. 
From several agencies that were involved in ensuring that the loves of people were not affected during the pandemic, the Bhutan Red Cross (BRC) society, stands out as it was involved in arranging the last rites of those who died during the pandemic. Her Majesty is President of BRC. 
Over the years, Her Majesty has been closely associated with several organizations, supporting and complementing their responsibilities. The following are some initiatives undertaken by Her Majesty and the roles Her Majesty continues to play. 
On June 2, 2019, coinciding with the coronation day of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, which is celebrated as Social Forestry Day in Bhutan, Her Majesty launched the “My waste, my responsibility,” concept. This was the precursor of “Zero Waste Hour,” a move that would enable Bhutan to become a Zero Waste Society by 2030. Since then, offices and organizations around Bhutan observe the second day of every month as “Zero Waste Hour.” 
A major milestone in Bhutan’s environmental history was launched by Her Majesty in 2017. Coinciding with the birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Her Majesty  launched the Bhutan for Life initiative, a joint initiative of the government and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), worth USD 43M (Nu 2.8 billion).
Her Majesty is also President of the Bhutan Red Cross Society (BRCS), which was launched on May 8, 2017. The Society strives to establish a network of volunteers in communities throughout Bhutan to provide services in the areas of social services, health and disaster risk management. 
Her Majesty is involved in other social programs which are carried out under the Queen’s Project. The One Gewog One Product (OGOP) is one such project that helps farmers by supporting collection, packaging, marketing and export of their produce. OGOP has created a niche market of authentic Bhutanese products and enabled the growth of small businesses, farming cooperatives and communities. 
In 2017, as Bhutan commemorated the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol, Her Majesty inaugurated Bhutan’s first “Ozone Park”. The park at Motithang, Thimphu is today the ozone advocacy park.
During the World Environment Day of 2016, Her Majesty inaugurated the Thimphu Eco Park. The same day saw the launch of Bhutan State of Environment Report, Guideline for Institutionalizing Paperless Operations in Government 2016, and the Water Risk Scenarios and Opportunities for Resilient Development.
In 2014, Her Majesty launched the Water Regulation of Bhutan 2014 and the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) program. 
In 2013, Her Majesty launched the Jigme Khesar Environmental Research Fund. During the event, Her Majesty said that it is the responsibility of every Bhutanese citizen to ensure that Bhutan’s rich biodiversity remains abound for future generations to come. Her Majesty called for all Bhutanese to strive and preserve this endowment through sustainable actions. The Fund plays a very vital role in encouraging and supporting environmental research in the country.
In May 2012, Her Majesty was presented the Ozone Ambassadorship by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) at the Regional celebration of the Montreal Protocol’s 25thanniversary in Thimphu.  
Her Majesty is Royal Patron of the Ability Bhutan Society (ABS) which was founded in 2011 and inaugurated by Her Majesty on April 6, 2012. As a civil society organization (CSO), ABS works closely with the government, schools and other agencies to help children and those with disabilities live better lives with access to healthcare and education.
Her Majesty is also Royal Patron of the Bhutan Kidney Foundation.
As Royal Patron of the Environment, Her Majesty works closely with the National Environment Commission, Royal Society for Protection of Nature, Clean Bhutan and other government and nongovernment agencies on conservation, waste management and other important environmental matters. Her Majesty’s commitment and tireless support as the Royal Patron of Environment fortifies Bhutan’s cause for environment protection. Her Majesty is also an Honorary Member of the WWF-US Board of Directors. 
Announcing the Royal Wedding, His Majesty the King said: “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.”