Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema have unveiled a new family photo for the New Year. The image was taken on National Day on 17 December 2020 at Punakha Dzong, Punakha, Bhutan.
The King and Queen are pictured with their two sons, Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel (4) and Prince Ugyen Wangchuck (9 months). The former will celebrate his fifth birthday in February, and his little brother will turn one in March.
The new photo featured in Yellow Bhutan’s desktop calendar for January. It can be downloaded here.
National Day celebrations in Bhutan this year were scaled-down due to the pandemic, and the King addressed people via television as no public celebrations were held. He spoke from Punakha Dzong where his coronation took place and his wedding to Jetsun Pema. The Punakha Dzong is of historical importance to Bhutan; it was built in the 17 century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to serve as the administrative centre for the country which, at the time, was a united city-state led by Zhabdrung.
Bhutan is currently under lockdown due to the pandemic. The capital of Thimphu went into lockdown on 20th December after a positive case was reported; the rest of the country went into lockdown three days later. Only frontline workers are allowed to work outside their homes as they provide necessary support to others.
The Royal Court has said: “Along with essential services, the Royal Relief support in place for COVID-19 related difficulties has been extended to cover special circumstances during the lockdown.”
Bhutan has had no deaths and no serious cases of COVID-19. UN data estimates that Bhutan has a population of around 771,608 people. “The national objective is to ensure this continues going forward,” the Royal Court said.
A random sampling test was provided in the capital, and as of New Year’s Day, there had been no new cases for 24 hours.