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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to meet the King and Queen of Bhutan (the Will and Kate of the Himalayas)

8 January 2016
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced that they will meet the King and Queen of Bhutan, dubbed the 'William and Kate of the Himalayas', during their Asian tour in the spring.

The royal couple will visit King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan and his stunning wife Jetsun Pema when they travel to the remote mountain kingdom for the first time.


William and Kate will meet King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan and his wife Jetsun Pema Photo: Getty Images

Their trip to the Land of the Thunder Dragon will fall around the time that Queen Jetsun, 25, gives birth to her first child, a son. Oxford graduate King Jigme, known as the "Dragon King" married his beautiful bride in a colorful three-day ceremony in the ancient capital of Punakha, seven months after William and Kate's royal wedding, which he attended as a guest.

The young couple are seen as the modern face of Bhutan, which remained isolated from the outside world until the 1970s and only introduced TV in 1999.


To celebrate the New Year, the King of Bhutan released a picture of himself with his pregnant wife Photo: Facebook/@KingJigmeKhesar

Their five-hour marriage service in a Buddhist monastic fortress was broadcast live to the population of 750,000, and six months later, the newlyweds visited the U.K., meeting Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House.Back in Bhutan, where tradition forbids public displays of affection, they have sparked a trend for couples to hold hands. Jigme announced Jetsun's pregnancy on Facebook in November in a message to mark his father's 60th birthday, six years after his abdication.

He wrote: "I am deeply pleased to announce that Jetsun and I look forward to the birth of our son in the coming Losar (New Year). We are overjoyed to offer this news as a gift on His Majesty's Birth Anniversary."


The Duke and Duchess will also visit India in the Spring Photo: Getty Images

William and Kate, now parents to Prince George, 2 1/2 and 8-month-old Princess Charlotte, will no doubt have lots to discuss with their hosts.They may also find enlightenment on an issue close to their hearts – mental health.

The Buddhist country measures wealth in terms of Gross National Happiness, instead of Gross National Product. Conservationist William will also be intrigued by Bhutan's pristine forests and snow-capped peaks, which are home to some of the world’s most endangered species including the Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard and Pangolin.

Like her British counterpart Kate, Jetsun is known for her stylish outfits that incorporate both traditional and modern fashions. The daughter of a pilot, she studied at Regents' College in London and now takes a special interest in charities that support children and the environment.

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