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Ashi Kesang Choden (born 21 May 1930) is the Queen Grandmother of Bhutan.[2] She participates in royal duties of her own accord. She is the only queen grandmother in the world. In Bhutan she is called The Royal Grandmother.[3]

Kesang Choden
Queen Grandmother of Bhutan
Queen consort of Bhutan
Tenure30 March 1952 – 21 July 1972
Coronation27 October 1952[1]
PredecessorPhuntsho Choden
Pema Dechen
SuccessorDorji Wangmo
Tshering Pem
Tshering Yangdon
Sangay Choden
Born (1930-05-21) 21 May 1930 (age 89)
Bhutan House, Kalimpong, India
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck
(m. 1951; died 1972)
IssueSonam Choden Wangchuck
Dechen Wangmo Wangchuck
Jigme Singye Wangchuck
Pema Lhaden Wangchuck
Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck
Full name
Kesang Choden Wangchuck [fn 1]
HouseDorji (by birth)
Wangchuck (by marriage)
FatherGongzim Sonam Tobgye Dorji
MotherMayeum Choying Wangmo Dorji



She was educated at the St Joseph’s Convent, Kalimpong, India, as well as the House of Citizenship, London.[4]

In her reminiscence, Her Majesty notes:

The Irish nuns of St. Joseph’s Convent werevery well educated and taught us well. The nuns were most kind and loving to me and I in turn loved and respected them greatly.

Marriage and FamilyEdit

She married to Crown Prince of Bhutan (Druk Gyalsey), Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, at the Ugyen Pelri Palace, Paro, on 5 October 1951.

She became Queen consort of Bhutan in 1952 when her husband the king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck ascended to the throne upon the death of his father. In 1954 she was expecting her first child. Her first child arrived earlier than she expected as she was waiting for a Western doctor and her mother to travel to Thimphu to help with the delivery. The previous Queen Phuntsho Choden, her maid, and the Bhutanese doctor Phenchun helped to deliver her daughter.[5]

Royal dutiesEdit

In 1972, she was appointed regent when her husband was ill. Her Majesty has also been a patron of annual prayers conducted for the well-being and security of the King, country, and the people. She provides subsistence allowance to about 200 monks and tshampas (lay monks) in various monasteries in Bumthang, Dokar Phurdrub Gompa and Euto Gompa in Paro, Nyala Gompa in Trongsa and Jangsa Gompa in Kalimpong, India. She also has a keen interest in preserving the unique art, architecture and cultural heritage of Bhutan and in promoting research and scholarship on the kingdom. She often visits religious places in Bhutan and India.[2]

In commemoration of Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother’s 87th birth anniversary, a book titled “The Heart of a Sacred Kingdom, Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck: A Lifetime of Service to the People and Kingdom of Bhutan” was launched on Sunday 21 May 2017.[6]


  • Patron of the Bhutan Foundation (BF).
  • Honorary Vice-President of the Siam Society (Bangkok).

Titles, styles, and honoursEdit

Styles of
Queen Grandmother Kesang Choden
Reference styleHer Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty
Alternative styleThe Royal Grandmother

Titles and stylesEdit

  • 21 May 1930 – 5 October 1951: Ashi Kesang Choden
  • 5 October 1951 – 30 March 1952: Her Royal Highness Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck
  • 30 March 1952 – 21 July 1972: Her Majesty The Queen of Bhutan
  • 22 Apr 1972 – 21 July 1972: Her Majesty The Queen Regent of Bhutan
  • 21 July 1972 – 9 December 2006: Her Majesty The Queen Mother of Bhutan
  • 9 December 2006 – present: Her Majesty The Queen Grandmother of Bhutan




  1. ^ a b c d e Royal Ark
  2. ^ a b "Octogenarian grandmother of king to visit different holy places in state". Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  3. ^ Yeewongmagazine
  4. ^ Royal Ark
  5. ^ "Her Majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck: Patron Queen of Bhutan: A Legacy of Devotion and Leadership". Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  6. ^ South Asian Monitor
  7. ^ Bhutan Todays


  1. ^ Women in Bhutan retain their names upon marriage.
Kesang Choden (born 1930)
Born: 21 May 1930
Bhutanese royalty
Preceded by
Phuntsho Choden
Queen Grandmother of Bhutan