Obama not a youngster compared with this 28-year-old

Barack Obama, 47, will soon become one of the youngest presidents in U.S. history, but that’s nothing compared with Bhutan’s Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Today, the 28-year-old — who quite fittingly has a master’s degree in politics from Oxford — officially became the world’s youngest reigning monarch when he received the coveted raven crown. In December 2006, his father, ...

591662_081106_wangchuck2.jpg
591662_081106_wangchuck2.jpg
THIMPHU, BHUTAN -NOV 6, 2008: His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 28, receives an offering from a guest at the Dratshang Kuenra Tashichho Dzong November 6, 2008 in Thimphu, Bhutan. The young Bhutanese king, anOxford-educated bachelor became the youngest reigning monarch on the planet today. He was handed the Raven Crown by his father, the former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in an ornate ceremony in Thimpu, the capital. The tiny Himalayan kingdom, a Buddhist nation of 635,000 people is wedged between China and India . (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Barack Obama, 47, will soon become one of the youngest presidents in U.S. history, but that's nothing compared with Bhutan's Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Today, the 28-year-old -- who quite fittingly has a master's degree in politics from Oxford -- officially became the world's youngest reigning monarch when he received the coveted raven crown. In December 2006, his father, the former king, abdicated and handed many responsibilities of the throne to his son, but it wasn't until today that the official coronation took place.

Bhutan became a parliamentary democracy in March when people went to the polls for the first time ever. The country now has a prime minister as head of government, but the young, handsome king remains head of state.

In July, FP compiled a list of "The World's 10 Youngest Leaders." At the time, those youngsters were:

Barack Obama, 47, will soon become one of the youngest presidents in U.S. history, but that’s nothing compared with Bhutan’s Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Today, the 28-year-old — who quite fittingly has a master’s degree in politics from Oxford — officially became the world’s youngest reigning monarch when he received the coveted raven crown. In December 2006, his father, the former king, abdicated and handed many responsibilities of the throne to his son, but it wasn’t until today that the official coronation took place.

Bhutan became a parliamentary democracy in March when people went to the polls for the first time ever. The country now has a prime minister as head of government, but the young, handsome king remains head of state.

In July, FP compiled a list of “The World’s 10 Youngest Leaders.” At the time, those youngsters were:

  1. Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (Feb. 21, 1980)
  2. Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (June 8, 1972)
  3. The DRC’s President Joseph Kabila (June 4, 1971)
  4. Macedonia’s Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (Aug. 31, 1970)
  5. Nauru’s President Marcus Stephen (Oct. 1, 1969)
  6. Swaziland’s King Mswati III (April 19, 1968)
  7. Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili (Dec. 21, 1967)
  8. Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe (June 6, 1966)
  9. Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev (May 5, 1966)
  10. Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev (Sept. 14, 1965)

Earlier, in March, we also compiled “The World’s 10 Oldest Leaders.” John McCain would have been a spring chicken compared with some of these guys:

  1. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe (Feb. 21, 1924)
  2. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud (1924, exact day unknown)
  3. Nepal’s Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala (Feb. 20, 1925)*
  4. Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade (May 29, 1926)
  5. Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak (May 4, 1928)
  6. Kuwait’s Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sahab (June 6, 1929)
  7. Cuba’s President Raúl Castro (June 3, 1931)
  8. Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki (Nov. 15, 1931)
  9. India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Sept. 26, 1932)
  10. Burma’s Than Shwe, chair of the State Peace and Development Council (Feb. 2, 1933)

*Koirala is no longer prime minister as of Aug. 18, 2008, likely making Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, born Feb. 13, 1933, the new addition to the list.

Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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