Bhutan marked its 113th National Day on 18 December, and King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck addressed his people via a telecast as the public gathering could not take place due to the pandemic.
The King and other members of the Royal Family were at Punakha Dzong, also called the Punthang Dewaichenpoi Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The King was joined by his wife, Queen Jetsun Pema and their two children, Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck (4) and Prince Ugyen Wangchuck (8 months).
The family was greeted upon arrival by several Buddhist monks, including the Je Khenpo, who is the Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan.
His Majesty’s speech, as well as the other important ceremonies for the national holiday, were all televised. Usually, National Day celebrations see thousands of Bhutanese citizens attend alongside the Royal Family, but COVID-19 made that impossible this year.
The King also granted Kashos “for the reform of the Civil Service and Education,” the Royal Office said on social media.
The historic Punakha Dzong has been the site of other important royal events in Bhutan including royal weddings and coronations. 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.