Bhutan’s Dragon Prince is growing up!
This year, Prince Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel’s fourth birthday celebration happened to coincide with the consecration ceremony of the Druk Wangditse Lhakhang in Thimphu. The prince’s father King Jigme, 39, mother Queen Jetsun, 29, other members of the royal family were also present for the ritual.
At the ceremony, the little prince looked adorable wearing a traditional garb aside his father and grandfather, former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in a new photo released by the royal family.
One of the oldest temples in Thimphu, Druk Wangditse Lhakhang is deemed an important national heritage site, with a structure that was built in 1715 by Bhutan’s eighth Druk Desi at the time. However, in 2011 the temple suffered considerable damage due to the 2011 Sikkim earthquake.
In 2013, the division for conservation of heritage sites of the ministry of home and cultural affairs carried out restoration efforts of the temple, with full support from the Royal family and guidance of Her Majesty Gyalyum Tshering Yangdoen Wangchuck, King Jigme’s mother.
The renovation of the Lhakhang, which has been dedicated to the King, has been successfully restored to the way it was originally built with the aid of original drawings by a Samuel Davis, a British officer who visited the country in 1783 and archeological findings from the site. The team also built a shakhor (half-courtyard), restored the main statue of the Buddha, the wall paintings and the stupas in the inner sanctum.
The King and Queen of Bhutan have been nicknamed the “Will and Kate of the Himalayas,” and gave birth to their first child a few months before Prince William and Kate Middleton paid them a visit in Bhutan in 2016.
As William and Kate are near the ages of the Bhutan royals – who studied in England before taking the throne – their meeting offered the chance to forge new connections between the nations.
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The Dragon Prince’s name was revealed a few months after his birth. As is custom in Bhutan, his name was not revealed until after a special Buddhist naming ceremony.
“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,” King Jigme said at a public ceremony. “It will be his sacred responsibility to build a harmonious and just society, and thereby, fulfill all the aspirations of his people. He must live such a life as a good human being and serve his country in a manner that it will be exemplary and worthy of emulation.”