Bhutan's Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, who celebrated her 33rd birthday on Sunday, has a connection with this picturesque Himachal Pradesh hill station.
For two years, Jetsun Pema, the youngest queen consort in the world, was a student of the prestigious Lawrence School here. At that time no one knew that the tall, slim girl would one day marry Bhutan's king.
In 2011, Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck had announced that he would marry Jetsun Pema, a former student of Lawrence School, the 176-year-old prestigious co-educational residential near Kasauli where actor Sanjay Dutt and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah once studied.
Pema's younger sister Serchen Doma was also a student of this school.
"On this auspicious occasion of the 33rd birth anniversary of our beloved Gyaltsuen, Her Majesty The Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, we would like to offer our deepest respects, gratitude and love to Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, our most beloved Gyaltsuen on Her Majesty's 33rd Birth Anniversary," said the Royal Family of Bhutan in an Instagram post, by posting her photo.
"Happy Birthday la Your Majesty!"
In another post, it said Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen and HRH Princess Eeuphelma Choden Wangchuck attended the wedding of Crown Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah of Jordan.
Responding to her birth anniversary, a teacher in Lawrence School, who has taught both the sisters, told IANS: "We are proud that a student of our school is the Bhutan's Queen. We wish her success to change the lives of others with her positivity, love, and beautiful spirit."
Jetsun was in the school for two years from 2006. One of her former teachers remarked, "She was just like a commoner and never portrayed herself to be someone belonging to a royal family. We only knew that she was from Bhutan."
She was born in Thimphu on June 4, 1990. Initially, she studied in St Joseph's Convent, Kalimpong.
Well-versed in Hindi and English, Jetsun, as her English teacher recalled, was good in sports, including athletics and basketball.
"Basketball was her favourite game. Her impressive height of 5'10" benefits her in the game. In studies, she was very well focused, clear in her perceptions and quite sharp in cooperative skills," the former teacher said, adding that "her cheerful face always catches one's attention".
She was also a member of the school band and participated in western dance contests too.
Jetsun, a blue blood herself, completed her Class 12 from Lawrence School in March 2008.
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Oxford-educated king of Bhutan, the happiest country in the Asia, was marred to Jetsun in October 2011. They now have two sons, Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel and Prince Ugyen Wangchuck.
Before his wedding, the king said the most important characteristic of the future queen is that she should be a good human being and unwavering in her commitment to serve the people and country.
"As my queen, I have found such a person and her name is Jetsun Pema," said the king, who took over after his father Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated in 2006. The nation embraced democracy in 2008.
Though Jetsun has not contacted her school since she passed out, her alma mater is hoping to receive a royal invite.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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