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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 Samyo Kushoe Sangideki in 1950, a daughter of an important Tibetan family of Lhasa, and together they had two sons and a daughter. Samyo Kushoe Sangideki died in 1957.
King and Queen of Sikkim, 1966
In 1963, Namgyal married Hope Cooke, a 22-year-old American socialite from New York City; she was a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers in the state of New York. The marriage brought worldwide media attention to Sikkim. The couple, who had two children, divorced in 1980.
Shortly after Namgyal's marriage, his father died and he was crowned the new Chogyal on an astrologically favourable date in 1965. In 1975[further explanation needed], the Prime Minister of Sikkim appealed to the Indian Parliament for Sikkim to become a state of India. In April of that year, the Indian Army took over the city of Gangtok and disarmed the Chogyal's palace guards. Namgyal was deposed after a referendum on 14 April 1975 resulted in the abolition of the monarchy and Sikkim becoming a state of India. Namgyal was placed under house arrest.
In November 1976, Namgyal allegedly attempted suicide by consuming barbiturates and was airlifted to IPGMER and SSKM Hospital. He was successfully treated by Professor Dr. Amal Kumar Bose, Head of the Department of Anesthesia and Respiratory Care Unit at the SSKM hospital.
Namgyal died of cancer at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, United States on 29 January 1982. He was 58 years old at the time of his death. Upon his death, 31 members of the State Legislative Assembly offered khadas to the Chogyal as a mark of respect.
King and Queen of Sikkim and their daughter watch birthday celebrations, Gangtok, Sikkim in May 1971
Namgyal was an amateur radio operator, call-sign AC3PT, and was a highly sought after contact on the airwaves. The international callbook listed his address as: P.T. Namgyal, The Palace, Gangtok, Sikkim.
His first son, the former crown prince Tenzing Kunzang Jigme Namgyal, died in 1978 in a car accident. His second son from his first marriage, Tobgyal Wangchuk Tenzing Namgyal, was named the 13th Chogyal, but the position no longer confers any official authority.
^"Palden Thondup Namgyal, Deposed Sikkim King, Dies". New York Times. 30 January 1982. Retrieved 2014. The deposed King of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal, who had been undergoing treatment for cancer in New York, died last night from complications following an operation at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He was 58 years old. A family spokesman said his body was to be flown home to Sikkim for the funeral. ...