Palden Thondup Namgyal

Palden Thondup Namgyal

Palden Thondup Namgyal (May 23, 1923 – January 29, 1982) was the 12th and last Chogyal (king) of Sikkim.

At six, Namgyal became a student at St. Joseph's Convent in Kalimpong, but had to terminate his studies due to attacks of malaria. From eight to eleven he studied in order to ordain monkhood under his uncle, Rimpoche Lhatsun, and was subsequently recognized as the reincarnate leader of both Phodong and Rumtek monasteries. He later continued his studies at St. Joseph's College in Darjeeling and finally graduated from Bishop Cotton School in Simla, in 1941.

Namgyal served as adviser for internal affairs for his father, Sir Tashi Namgyal, the 11th Chogyal, and led the negotiating team which established Sikkim's relationship to India after independence in 1949. He married Sangey Deki in 1950, a daughter of an important Tibetan family, and together they had two sons and a daughter. Sangey died in 1957.

Namgyal married Hope Cooke in 1963, a twenty-two-year-old American socialite who was a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. The marriage brought worldwide media attention to Sikkim. The couple, who had two children, Palden and Hope Leezum, divorced in 1980.

Shortly after their marriage, his father died and Namgyal was crowned the new Chogyal on an astrologically favorable date in 1965. In 1975 Sikkim joined the union of India through a referendum receiving a 97%-majority election vote, thus ending his rule.

P.T. Namgyal was an amateur radio operator, callsign AC3PT, and was a highly sought contact on the airwaves. The international callbook listed his address as: P.T. Namgyal, The Palace, Gangtok, Sikkim.

Palden died of cancer in New York City, in the United States on January 29, 1982.[1] Upon his death, 31 members of the State Legislative Assembly offered khadas to the Chogyal upon his death as a mark of respect.

His son from his first marriage, Wangchuk Namgyal, was named the 13th Chogyal, but the position no longer confers any official authority.



  • 1923-1941: Prince Palden Thondup Namgyal
  • 1941-1947: Maharajkumar Sri Panch Palden Thondup Namgyal
  • 1947-1954: Maharajkumar Sri Panch Palden Thondup Namgyal, OBE
  • 1954-1963: Maharajkumar Padma Bhushan Sri Panch Palden Thondup Namgyal, OBE
  • 1963-1965: His Highness Muwong Chogyal Padma Bhushan Sri Panch Chempo Palden Thondup Namgyal, Maharaja Chogyal of Sikkim, OBE
  • 1965-1982: Major-General His Highness Muwong Chogyal Padma Bhushan Sri Panch Chempo Palden Thondup Namgyal, Maharaja Chogyal of Sikkim, OBE



External links

Palden Thondup Namgyal
Born: 23 May 1923 Died: 29 January 1982
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Tashi Namgyal
Chogyal of Sikkim
December 2, 1963–1975
Title abolished
Sikkim joined India by referendum
Titles in pretence
New title — TITULAR —
Chogyal of Sikkim
1975 – January 29, 1982
Succeeded by
Wangchuk Namgyal

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