Jetsun Pema was born in Thimphu on 4 June 1990. Her father, Dhondup Gyaltshen is the grandson of two Trashigang Dzongpon, Thinley Topgay and Ugyen Thsering (Governors of Trashigang). Her mother, Aum Sonam Chuki, comes from the family of Bumthang Pangtey (one of the oldest noble families of Bhutan). Sonam Chuki's father was a half-brother of two queens consorts of Bhutan, Phuntsho Choden (great-grandmother of the present king) and her sister Pema Dechen. This makes the King and Queen of Bhutan second half-cousins once removed.
Jetsun Pema is the second eldest of five children. Her four siblings include: two brothers, Thinlay Norbu and Jigme Namgyal and two sisters, Serchen Doma and Yeatso Lhamo (the eldest, who is the wife of the king's brother, Prince Jigme Dorji Wangchuck).
Jetsun Pema's early education took place in Thimphu at the Little Dragon School, the Sunshine School (1995–96) and finally the Changangkha Lower Secondary School (1997–98). She then received a convent education at St. Joseph's Convent in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India, from 1999–2000. She pursued her secondary education at the Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School in Thimphu from 2001 to 2005 and moved to The Lawrence School, Sanawar, in Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India, in April 2006. She joined Lawrence as a Class-XI student and chose to study English, history, geography, economics and painting. She completed her Higher Secondary education on 31 March 2008. She then began her tertiary education by enrolling at Regent's College in London, where she graduated international relations with psychology and art history as minor subjects.
On 20 May 2011, during the opening of the Parliament's seventh session, the king announced their engagement, saying
"As King, it is now time for me to marry. After much thought I have decided that the wedding shall be later this year."
Describing Jetsun Pema, he said
"Now, many will have their own idea of what a Queen should be like – that she should be uniquely beautiful, intelligent and graceful. I think with experience and time, one can grow into a dynamic person in any walk of life with the right effort. For the Queen, what is most important is that at all times, as an individual she must be a good human being, and as Queen, she must be 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. While she is young, she is warm and kind in heart and character. These qualities together with the wisdom that will come with age and experience will make her a great servant to the nation."
The couple married on 13 October 2011, at Punakha Dzong. The royal wedding ceremony was held first in Punakha, followed by a public celebration in Thimphu and Paro. During the ceremony, the King bestowed the Crown of the Druk Gyaltsuen on her, formally proclaiming her as the Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
The wedding was held in traditional style with the "blessings of the guardian deities." Although Bhutan allows polygamy, the king said that he would never marry another woman, and that Jetsun Pema will be his only wife in the future. For their wedding, the Netherlands sent the royal couple tulips and named one "Queen of Bhutan" after her.
Following her marriage to the King, Jetsun Pema has joined him on several visits abroad to: India, Singapore, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Jetsun Pema accompanied Jigme Khesar on several of his Royal Visits to various parts of Bhutan before the Wedding, and as Queen of Bhutan, accompanies him on all of such visits. The Royal Visits on road through the country involves meeting and interacting with as many local people, students and public servants as possible.
Jetsun Pema is an advocate of environmental issues, and the Patron of the Royal Society for Protection of Nature. She is also the UNEP Ozone Ambassador. Her Majesty works closely with various organisations working with children with special needs as the patron of Ability Bhutan Society. She is the Patron of the Bhutan Kidney Association (Jigten Wangchuck Tshogpa) and the Bhutan Kidney Foundation.
Since 2016, she is the President of the Bhutan Red Cross Society (BRCS).
She has been considered a fashion icon due to the vibrant traditional clothing that she wears.
The Queen's interests include fine arts, painting and basketball. She captained her school team in basketball games and still maintains her interest in the sport. Her other diversions during her school days included participation in school bands and dance programmes. Besides Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan, she is fluent in English and Hindi.
On 11 November 2015, it was announced that she was expecting their first child, a son, to be born in early 2016. She gave birth on 5 February 2016 at the Lingkana Palace. The king was present for the birth of The Gyalsey. His name was announced on 16 April 2016.HRH The Druk Gyalsey, Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck (born on (2016-02-05)5 February 2016) (age &&&&&&&&&&&&05971 year 7 months).