Unreal is the only word, to explain their connection with their leaders.
In my brief visit to the dragon country. Almost every one in my hotel, in the conference I attended, and various people I came across visiting many markets, and sites, had one badge. They wore it like their badge of honour. It was often a picture of the current King, the Queen, both of them together, or the previous Kings.
[Left: King His Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, Right: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and former King His Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Centre: Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck wearing the traditional outfit (Gho) with a badge of his father on the right]
I asked over 50 people, whether they were wearing the badge willingly. Each one of them were very happy to tell me, that they wore it with pride. Even the non-Bhutanese residing there gave me the same answer, even though they aren’t their Kings. There is even a Bhutanese song that says “His Majesty is our parents”.
Bhutan is one of those rare countries that gives free healthcare, and education to all it’s citizens. The people get many things at subsidised prices, and keeping foreign investment and branding out of the country serves as a great impetus to their happiness index. You will not see a single advertisement poster. There is nothing luring you in indirectly stating “Buy me, and you’ll be happier”. The only posters you will see are of the Kings, the Royal Couple, or of an local event.
Even though they have a constitution, a democracy, and a Prime Minister, the King, and chief Monk hold the highest positions. In a country where humility is appreciated, sometimes the Prime Minister even cycles from his home, to the Taj Hotel in Thimpu for meetings. Humility, a quality that the King very easily represents in the following image, of him helping in a school kitchen.
In a conversation with Dr. Saamdu Chetri, Executive Director of Gross National Happiness Centre, he too stated his view of the Royalty. He said that speaking of economics, we must note that economics in Greek means ‘households’, and our Great Kings have treated our country as a household, visiting every village, and taking care of every citizen. This keeps their vibrant country in safe hands, where many people do not have many demands, but the most precious one, peace of mind and clean environment, is fulfilled beyond any other country could compete.